From a Suggested Reading: The Need to See Scars

As I was sitting here in my study and reading a book that a church member gave me, I came across something I had to share…because I totally agree.

In his book Take the Dimness of My Soul Away, William A Ritter shares several sermons he delivered over the years following the suicide of his son. At the beginning of the third chapter entitled “Making It,” Ritter wrote something that mirrors my own philosophy of pastoral ministry.

When I read it just a couple of minutes ago, I knew I had to share it with you.

“We who follow Jesus need not hide our hurts. Not all wounds need covering. Even in the pulpit. Especially in the pulpit. People need to know that even preachers have been through some wars and accumulated some scars. But they also need to know where and how healing is taking place.” p. 38

I hope you’ve realized I’m not perfect.

I hope you’ve realized I have scars.

But please know that Jesus is the Hope through which healing and thriving is possible. 



Filed under Christianity, grace, ministry, Struggles and Trials

13 responses to “From a Suggested Reading: The Need to See Scars

  1. good Op.
    I have a few thoughts.
    First, we are far more whole than we ourselves think we are. (I think the obvious thoughts that follow that are self evident.)
    Secondly, with wisdom we can use what we have worked through to minister to others, but the pulpit is not a platform to work out our issues in public. Each person we speak to may or may not have worked through the issues we currently are working through. We shouldn’t try and drag people through what we are going through. (the obvious etc.)
    3) Its my view that the pulpit is a place to gather people together to worship and follow Jesus Christ. that involves teaching preaching and Leadership. Its my View we should re-tell what the bible has already told. If an author is speaking about faith or Love or duty we should speak to what they are speaking too. We are Re-tellers. I was trying to find my “spiritual diet” in my files, I think I misplaced the file, but I did find two related files, one called the 46 Parables. a pastor just on the parables could fill up a whole year. And for topics in just a few minutes I wrote out over 50. Add to that that there is 66 books in the bible, 66 books in Isaiah, 31 chapters in Proverbs 10 commandments. 7 I Am Statement, a glut of stories, both Old and new. I don’t know if the Pulpit has any room for a personal tour through life’s personal troubles.

    The Question really is about what does God want. What is the Churches 5 year plan. What spiritual diet is being cooked, and how will it all be applicable in bringing people into a saving and living knowledge of Jesus Christ and propagate Gods kingdom both in us and in the world.

    That said, I think there is room in the pulpit for dealing with the Isaiah 53 sort of or the Romans 8 sort of or thing making it personal, feet on the ground applicable.

    I reflect when Pastors talk about themselves reading a book that they are under a lot of weight to grasp the job set in front of them and that they feel a underlying duty to explore themselves and life in an effort to communicate to others.

    Just some thoughts.

    • Good thoughts.
      You know, one of the struggles of the pastorate is planning the menu for the sheep. If the proper nutrients are there, then they will be healthy. If not, they will be sluggish at best, malnourished, sick, and dying at worst. But not every pastor/shepherd is an excellent dietitian or chef. We end up doing the best we can, often trusting the Lord will inject some spiritual vitamins where we lack in our provision.

      That being said, it is my desire to have a “5 year plan” that covers and re-covers key doctrinal themes and spiritual truths. I don’t want to come to a point in the future (as I have done in the past) where I look back and realize I never addressed something critically important to the faith, a gap in the menu that may have contributed to the apostasy of a dear lamb in the flock.

      But even if we as pastors cover everything there is to cover, and even if we do it as thoroughly as possible, I do believe that without the human element bleeding through in the delivery, the pastor tends to come across as something other than a fellow-traveler, more like the one who has it all together and doesn’t understand the sheepish struggles of the flock.

      There’s much truth to the adage that we are nothing more than hungry beggars who’ve found food and are leading others to it so they won’t have to be hungry anymore.

      A sermon should never be about ourselves, but it does help when we can give testimony to the truth of God’s Word.

      • Interesting discussion. And I guess the book in a way speaks to the need to see the people in the flesh, rather than chumps. it takes the Job and turns it into a love affair of nursing and running a race together. Because life is Hard and people can make you Jaded, its not as easy as one might think to bring heaven down and be the chef, servant and delegate’r. And as Gods spirit compels people to contribute to the cause of mentorship and ambassadorship and Educator and Evangelist and Prophet the church will grow in depth and width and Gods Kingdom will be established in all our hearts.
        All these things have been swimming around over the years back when we first started a church in Oshawa about 30 years ago and from having to participate in several different churches after the fact. After all this time, the Internet has been a good place, including the ability to organize thought, put it in a file on the computer and in seconds pull up scriptures that come to mind helping develop the Big plan and culinary art of making soup for the souls of mankind.
        It bugs me I cant fine my menu. Obviously I have it written on paper, but It kills me I cant find it in my files and now I will have to re-create it.
        What Kills me is that, they never gave a menu out in bible school. You would think it would have been one of the first things they would have done. Some guy should have said, hey, Let me give you the work I did, craft it to meet your needs. But instead everyone seems to be shoved out the door to just fend for themselves.
        Because of my Divorce that royally messed up my role in doing ministry at a pastoral level and so have no choice in the different churches I have attended over the years to just, ‘pitch from the crowd’ and serve with the Lords leading in different rolls. Still, the need to help get things together so the church can thrive has never left as a calling. The Big Picture, the Diet, the Application and where this is all taking us is still screaming in my ears. And books like you are reading can help focus the human-ness of the whole truck and carriage.

      • Did you ever read my posts dealing with ministry and divorce?

      • strange the blog didn’t put me back under your comment.
        No, I didn’t read your Op on dealing with divorce.
        That said, I am happy single and I can only change myself, our churches policy is pretty clear, and our leadership is tone deaf on the issue and to busy to care more than that.
        But, My Ministry wasn’t borne out of their hearts, but out of Gods intent. So, I am satisfied in whatever roll and expression of the gifts of the spirit he has. And I can roll with the punches. As your Jer 38 story pointed out. God does send people to help and somebody has to be that somebody. I end up doing a lot of that on the front line.
        And while I am not one of those who does and asks for permission after, I am one of those who doesn’t need approval of others to do what needs to be done. Christ living in and through me is more generally, tip toeing through the land minds to still get done what God wants and the Living in me part is always a whats on your agenda lord rather than bull in a china shop militant action. Still I feel that drive and calling. And would always welcome the insights of a post about those living after divorce in the kingdom.

      • Oh, and as I suspected, I went to their site, and it was a re blog of your site. That was nice. The site was physically a bit dark. I gather their eyes must have been affected by the white of a bright screen. I too am trying to put a site together. But it won’t be as nice as yours.

      • Ha! Thanks. Sorry, Daniel 😉

  2. Geoff

    So true brother

  3. oh, I didn’t realize the re-blog was about what I posted, I thought it was about what you posted. I find wordpress doesn’t have a clean enough posting platform. Setting up the free site is not that easy either. It all takes a bit to get used too.

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