“Words of encouragement, gift cards, free babysitting services, and cash donations are all great ways to let your pastor know you appreciate his hard work.”
A regular columnist for the regional newspaper The Carillon used that line this week to exhort church communities to treat their pastors with more respect and appreciation. I agree with the columnist when he says the job of the clergy is demanding and many congregants are very hard on their pastors.
Interestingly an article in Christianity Today points out that church goers seem to save their harshest judgements for female pastors. Yet the Carillon columnist’s use of a male pronoun effectively excluded them. I checked to see if elsewhere in the column the male writer had used a female pronoun to describe a pastor to balance things out. He hadn’t.
Language is a subtle but powerful thing. Probably without even realizing what he had done the columnist’s use of that little pronoun his excluded an ever-growing sector of the clergy.
Being a pastor can be tough. It wouldn’t be for me. Kudos to both the women and men who dedicate themselves to the profession and care for and inspire their congregants in positive and hopeful ways.