A new perspective on paid Pagan clergy

This evening, I was catching up on reading my favorite blogs. During this process, I ran across a post by Stacey (not to be confused with The Sentinel/Stace) in which she talks about what she terms “the pastor disconnect.” In it, she discusses the dismay that ministers experience when they realize how much time they spend doing administrative work for the church compared to the amount of time that they spend doing “ministry” — all of the stuff that they anticipated when feeling “the call.”

As I read Stacey’s thoughts, I could’t help but think how it relates to my feelings on Pagan clergy. As I’ve made it clear in the past, I’m not a huge fan of the concept. But as I read about “the pastor disconnect,” I found a new perspective from which to dislike the whole idea. As I read Stacey describe what new ministers go through when they realize how administrative their job is and how that’s not what they were expecting at all, I couldn’t help but thinking of someone like my friend Jasmin (or myself) eventually having a similar experience as a Pagan minister. After all, most people I know who are interested in becoming paid Pagan clergy want to do so because they want to help others grow spiritually and otherwise. So as the infrastructure to support such an effort grows, I can see these people becoming disillusioned by the increasing amount of administrative work that they’d have to do in order to keep the infrastructure running smoothly. Just like the Christian ministers that crash and burn because of this, I can easily see this becoming a huge issue for many would-be Pagan ministers — maybe more so, as we Pagans tend to be quite free-wheeling and often seem to dislike any structure that gets “too complicated” anyway.

I don’t know. Maybe paid clergy would still work out in the Pagan community. Maybe those who felt called would somehow manage to make it through it, just like so many Christian ministers do. Personally, though, I can’t help but feel there has to be a better way. I don’t know what it is. (My initial reaction would be to suggest getting people who like to do administrative stuff and pay them to do only that while the “ministers” like Jasmin do the stuff they’re strong at. But I know churches that in theory try to do that, too. And it just doesn’t work out.) Hopefully someone will figure it out.

Personally, though, if I ever decide to start doing any sort of “ministering,” I still think I’d rather do it as some sort of professional counselor rather than as a paid head of a Pagan church. In the end, I just think it’d be a more workable solution for me.

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