Tuesday, September 17, 2013

On clergy anger

(ministrymatters.com) - As I coach pastors, one of the most pervasive issues is clergy anger. Anger, of course, is just one half of the vicious cycle of anger-depression. Clergy are more likely to admit to depression, because admitting anger makes them feel too guilty. Yet admitting depression ... without admitting the root cause of repressed anger ... is a form of dishonesty with self and God and sidetracks clergy into fruitless therapeutic jargon or superficial "fixes". Eventually, failure to acknowledge and address chronic, repressed anger debilitates clergy and they are no longer effective leaders.

For example, clergy often excuse their depression as fatigue or frustration. Their "remedy" is to be more diligent about time off, or to take a sabbatical. Clergy often rant about fickle churchgoers, or blame culture undermining programs. Their "remedy" is to be more caustic in the pulpit, or take cold comfort in explaining failure as some confirmation of faithfulness.

Yet the real cause of clergy depression today is anger—repressed anger—and it is not anger at workloads or lazy volunteers. The proof of this is that even when they do take time off, or even when volunteers do show up for work, or even when programs are successful... clergy are still depressed. Further proof is that heavy workloads and lazy volunteers have always been true in the church, and you can read clergy complaints about it over hundreds of years ... and yet those past clergy who probably labored harder and experienced more frustration that we do were happier and felt more fulfillment than clergy today...
Complete article here.

1 comment:

  1. Strange to mix pop-Christian language with pop-psych talk. The "Spiritual Life" is the cure for self-esteem? We need to be happy in order to be effective workers for God?

    Let's see what this would look like as Orthodox hymnography, then maybe we can see if it fits in the Church.

    In tone 4
    You were a self-fulfilled individual, O pastor of God,
    And by your constant happiness you made others feel better about themselves,
    By offering programs that everyone liked,
    You drew a lot of money into the Church,
    Now we call you successful,
    And ask you to be our consultant,
    O Pastor and teacher...