Phil Vischer, Skye Jethani and Christian Taylor brought up some interesting questions in episode six of their podcast, but ended up dancing around any satisfying conclusions.
This was the first I’d heard about The Clergy Project, a private online forum for clergy members who are questioning or have moved beyond their beliefs in the supernatural. Phil played incredulous at the idea that pastors might fake their belief in God while leading sincere congregants, but Skye confirmed what many already know: it’s pretty easy to fake certainty of belief from the pulpit. Pastors are rewarded for certainty and panache; pastors are chastised and abandoned for expressing doubt or confusion. Skye suggested that the Christian community (churches, denominations, and seminaries) needs to do a better job of making space for pastors to move through normal seasons of doubt and discouragement, but I’m not sure pastors can have their cake and eat it too. Believers follow pastors exactly because they are larger than life. It’s way more satisfying to listen to a sermon if you believe the preacher is speaking from a place beyond difficulty and discouragement. To stay in business, pastors need to convert listeners to givers, and that just doesn’t happen if church attenders think the pastor is anything but certain about God and his will.
The Vischer Podcast trio also addressed gender roles in American society as reflected and promoted in Pixar and Disney movies. They kept bouncing back and forth between Disney films and anecdotal experience to support their observations and assessments, so no one ever really nailed down a biblical view of gender. Here’s my stab at it: If we look to anyone but God to define who we are, then we’re going to end up confused and frustrated. I can’t define my masculinity by how I treat my wife, and I certainly can’t depend on movies to define how I should think and behave as a man. I must ask God “Who are you?” and in the process of comprehending God’s identity, I can grasp who I am as a person, a man, a husband, and a father. If my wife asks the same question of God, then her identity will solidify and complement my identity as we both shape ourselves around God.
Finally, spontaneous ukulele-driven theme songs are the best way to begin and end a podcast.