I am regularly thankful for the connections that various forms of social media allow me to make. One such connection is with Alan Rudnick, who is the author of a new book The Work of the Associate Pastor. Rudnick opens with the following story:
While I was an associate pastor, I was asked to give the invocation at the National Football League Players Gala in Washington, DC. During the gala, which was also a fundraiser for the Special Olympics, I was introduced to a variety of National Football League players, politicians, philanthropists, dignitaries, and celebrities. One of the players was gracious enough to allow me to take a picture with him. After I introduced myself as an associate pastor in a local congregation, the professional football player asked, “What does an associate pastor do anyway?”
What follows are multiple answers to that question and guidance for helping churches determine just what they want/need out of an associate pastor. Rudnick includes numerous case studies and discussion questions for churches and for associate pastors that deal with issues ranging from the role of an associate pastor in worship leadership to conflict management. But the appendix is what I think will prove most useful to associate pastors and churches alike. The five appendices are 1) how to plan for an associate pastor, which offers a timeline of what should be done beginning two years before hire down to one month before hire; 2) sample job descriptions, which includes both a full-time and part-time job description; 3) a case study on transitioning from volunteers to paid staff; 4) a short questionnaire helping an associate determine when to stay and when to leave; and 5) a compensation guideline.
As most things are in the book, the appendices are suggestions and rough guidelines, but I can speak from experience that churches often do not know what they really want or what they should be paying someone in a particular position. Likewise, job seekers rarely know how much they should expect to receive and are often left to essentially write their own job descriptions.
I definitely think that Rudnick’s book is a welcome resource for churches and associates in all kinds of denominations and am particularly glad to see such a useful, straightforward book that can serve as a guide and resource.
I am posting about Alan’s book as part of his “blog tour” highlighting the release of the book and I do genuinely think it is a good resource. Also, you can get in touch with Alan by going to his website or by following him on Twitter, like I do: @alanrud.
As of 8pm Rome time today, Benedict XVI is no longer the Pope of the Catholic Church. In his final address today he had one line that stuck out to me:
I am simply a pilgrim beginning the last leg of his pilgrimage on this Earth.
I quite like this sentiment.
Reminds me of Logion 42 in the Gospel of Thomas: Be passersby.
At least according to a recent Pew poll.
GOP Seen as Principled, But Out of Touch and Too Extreme | Pew Research Center for the People and the Press: At a time when the Republican Party’s image is at a historic low, 62% of the public says the GOP is out of touch with the American people, 56% think it is not open to change and 52% say the party is too extreme.
Those are some pretty damning numbers. Here’s a fuller breakdown:
This may mean good news in the short term for the Democratic Party, but I think this is ultimately a bad thing for our country. In a two-party system, we need two legitimate options to work as a sort of balance. This is becoming less likely as both parties are becoming further and further apart from one another. The Tea Party and the Republican Party have succeeded in shifting the entire conversation to the right so that what is “liberal” now would have been a quite moderate (and in some cases conservative) position 20 years ago. This is not the direction I personally want the country to go and I think the woeful image of the Republican Party may help this in the short term. Nevertheless, I still think that a thriving two-party democracy actually needs two parties.
It should go without saying that the Republican Party has brought much of this on themselves over the past 4 years by being “the party of No,” refusing ideas that were originally theirs simply because they are being suggested by President Obama, and allowing vocal members of their party to express nostalgia for 19th century views on non-white, non-male citizens. Yet many fail to see this correlation.
Leonardo’s Notebook Digitized in All Its Befuddling Glory | The Atlantic: The British Library has been digitizing some of its prize pieces and they announced a new round of six artifacts had been completed including Beowulf, a gold-ink penned Gospel, and one of Leonardo Da Vinci’s notebooks.
I continue to be fascinated by how far technology has brought us with regard to manuscript access. The fact that I can access thousands of ancient manuscripts that are housed in hundreds of museums and libraries around the world while sitting in my apartment in Tallahassee, FL is amazing. The digitization of manuscripts has the ability to revolutionize many fields and areas of research, making intense manuscript study possible for more and more people.
There was, however, another note by the author of this story in The Atlantic that resonated with me:
But there is a fundamental inscrutability to these texts to the untrained eye. Not only is the language unfamiliar, and the script, in Leonardo’s case, a simple code, but without the context of the times, it’s hard to make heads or tails of them, aside from aesthetic appreciation.
Of course, I’m happy such objects exist in more accessible, digital formats, but what the primary documents remind me is how important the interpreters of these works are. The raw documents do not make sense without the added layer of analysis that comes from the scholars who study these works.
Perhaps we can read this as a kind of parable for opening up data and archives. The digitization of key historical artifacts does not replace historians so much as make their work more visible to different audiences. The necessity of what they do is made plain.
Every little bit of validation that I can get for the work I do is nice and it seems that the digitization of manuscripts has done just what this author suggested – made others aware of just how necessary historians and specialists are. For any member of the “generally educated public” can access Leonardo’s notebooks or any of the thousands of New Testament manuscripts, but most of them will only ever be able to appreciate the documents on aesthetic grounds. I’m grateful to the historians, scholars, and specialists that have opened up so much history to me and hope that one day I can help history come alive for others as well.
Thanks to Sam for the link.
A great quote by Russell McCutcheon that I come back to often to remind myself that things are rarely as they seem, and almost never as they are presented, when it comes to social and religious identities, past and present.
What if we approached the study of world events not with the preconceived notion that religion was essentially pure and spiritual matter of disembodied belief but, instead, with the presumption that all classification systems (such as Church vs. State, belief vs. practice and embodied vs. disembodied) are the means whereby all too historical groups negotiate – sometimes violently, always aggressively – sets of interests that determine who they think they are and who they think they are not? A shift capable of answering this question would enable us to see that, regardless by whom they are used, rhetorics of origin, privacy, authenticity, spirit, tradition, essence, faith, along with the common distinction between belief and action (seen in the common-sense distinction between myth and ritual) or content and structure, are useful (and useful to whom is the question that needs to be posed) political techniques that can help to massage and manage an unruly social world that generally does not meet with any group’s expectations, interests, and needs.
The quote is from Russ’ book Religion and the Domestication of Dissent: Or, How to Live in a Less than Perfect Nation. It is a short read (95 pages), but it packs a punch.