Andrew Root: The Pastor in a Secular Age

Ministry to People Who No Longer Need a God

The Pastor in a Secular Age: Ministry to People Who No Longer Need a God
(Baker Academic, 2019)

WHO: Andrew Root, the Carrie Olson Baalso Professor of Youth and Family Ministry at Luther Seminary.

HE SAYS: “What makes the pastoral remain significant is its ability to host an enounter with personhood.”

THE BIG IDEA: This book explores how this secular age has impacted the identity and practice of the pastor, obscuring their core vocation: to call and assist others in the experience of ministry.

Part 1, “Welcome to the Pastoral Malaise,” delves into the history of our secular age and its impact on the pastor. The author uses Charles Taylor’s ideas and other historical examples to articulate the challenges pastors face.
Serving as a bridge between Parts 1 and 2, chapter 9, “Foucault and the Rise of Pastoral Power,” looks at Michael Foucault’s lectures on pastoral power to show why being a pastor today is such a challenge and how God’s sheperding nature is part of the pastoring experience.
Part 2, “The God Who Is a Ministering Pastor,” seeks to free ministry from being seen as only a professional function and moves into seeing ministry as the way of imagining divine action in our secular age.

“Ministry is a robust theological category that brings divine action into human experience, helping us recognize God’s presence, even in a secular age.”

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