Confessions of a (soon-to-be) Priest: Reading Minds

I’m not a mind reader. I also don’t think I really want to be, though.
Sure, it’ll come in handy for a neat parlor trick or at a poker game.
But I don’t really want to know what’s going on in the depths of your mind. Sometimes, I don’t even like the things that lurk in the depths of mine.

I bet there are other clergy out there that have such a bat-phone line connection with God that with one look at your face, the Holy Spirit alerts them that your niece’s guinea pig died. Sadly, that’s not me. Maybe I need to pray more for such a connection.

I’m not as holy as some of the pastors you see on TV who can tell you what God’s will is for you life (for a fee, of course. But it goes towards God’s kingdom and not towards like private jets… I mean even if it did, still part of God’s kingdom and work. So I’ve been told).

I have to rely on a different source. You.

It’ll be (somewhat) fair for one to think that I, as your pastor, should know everything happening in your life and the lives of other parishioners.
The truth is, I really do want to know all the happenings in your life. Genuinely.
It’s just that — there’s a real good chance — if you don’t tell us, I’ll never know.

I’m fairly dense. If I were one of the Twelve, I’d give Peter a run for his money on being rock-headed.
Sometimes, I may not pick up on things unless they’re spelled out for me.
Someone once got upset with me because no one from the church came to visit her when she was sick. That’s genuinely something to get upset at. At the same time, no one in the church knew she was sick. She hadn’t told anybody. And she didn’t miss any Sundays. When asked with, “How you doing?” on a Sunday morning, her response was, “Everything’s fine.” I assumed everything was fine.
(Narrator: But it wasn’t).

I know this sounds like an excuse (Narrator: It is) but there are other people in the church that need me for something. You may be thinking, “Why does my pastor spend so much time with them and not much with me?” Well, there is that small possibility that I don’t really like you. Just kidding (Narrator: He isn’t).
But the more likely answer is that it’s because those folks are letting me know (or letting other people know so that they’ll let me know) what is happening within their lives.

Contrary to popular belief, there are lots of things a pastor needs to do throughout the week. We actually do work more than once a week. I know!
And while I would love to, I just can’t go down the directory of the church and call folks one by one to ask how things are going.

Also, contrary to popular belief, you’re not bothering me by sharing what’s going on in your life. You’re not burdening me if you want me to swing by the hospital to see you; you’re not bothering me if you’re struggling and need to talk. Email me. Text me. Call me, maybe (that pop reference is so old…)
Believe me, I’d rather be present with you than answer emails or talking to the bishops.

Sharing life; being on this journey together is one of the best things about ministry and my calling. It’s something I am very privileged and honored to do. It’s just that sometimes, I need your help in letting me know what’s going on in your life. Don’t give me too much credit and assume that I know everything. I really don’t. So let me know and I’d be so honored that you shared with me.

The original version of this post appeared on Ministry Matters many moons ago.

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