Thursday, November 29, 2007

Frustrated Hearers

The following snippet fell out of a file folder recently. (It is amazing what you find when you clean out your office files.) I found the author's observation very helpful. I was more surprised when I found out who and written it. And I wondered if he would have the same observation today.

In a recent book-review article, I came across this quote. "The modern preacher might be comforted to hear that at the prime of the Reformation in 1529, Luther the preacher and the Wittenberg congregation had reached a crisis, because his preaching seemed to have no effect. Parishioners especially dreaded sermons on the Catechism, and Luther dreaded having to preach on the vices that the Reform did little to slow." As one whose sermons often leave a lot to be desired (do you ever feel that way, too?), I take some comfort in knowing that even Martin Luther had problems with his preaching once in a while. (Ralph Bohlmann, "Letter to Pastors," Reformation 1991, p. 11)

Who Wouldn't Be Frustrated?

Several years ago, I received the following snippet from a beloved (although not very lovable) professor. I found it as I was cleaning up my office. It is very appropriate to some of my current frustrations:

If I wanted to drive a manager up the wall, I would make him responsible for the success of an organization and give him no authority. I would provide him with unclear goals, not commonly agreed upon within the organization. I would ask him to provide a service of an ill-defined nature, applying a body of knowledge (few people understand in common), and staff his organization with only volunteers in addition to himself. I would expect him to work ten to twelve hours per day and have his work evaluated by a committee of 300 to 500. I would call him a minister and make him accountable to God.