Those dogs that never seem to bark
"To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
"The dog did nothing in the night-time."
"That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes.
Silver Blaze, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Sometimes it is the dogs that do not bark which speak most eloquently to a situation. Over at the Gospel Coalition, Justin Taylor linked last week to another video where one of the topics of discussion is multi-site ministry and where the whole issue of stardom and the pastorate is once again aired.
I have said about all that I want to say on stardom/celebrity/whatever and the pastorate. Once again, I note that it is nothing to do with size of church and everything to do with presentation, function and festishisation of certain pastors, of which multi-site is arguably one symptom. But as that message has not penetrated thus far, it is unlikely to do so now.
What is so striking, however - and what Levy so effortlessly put his finger on yesterday - is how irrelevant discussions of multi-site are to 99.99% of pastors. Even if one granted that multi-site is consistent with biblical teaching (and it seems to me to be utterly subversive of biblical models of pastoral oversight, to point to just one problem), it is a non-issue for most pastors out there.
So here's the question: in the brave new world of megachurch evangelicalism, what are the dogs that do not bark? Or, to put it in more contemporary idiom, what are the topics which never seem to be discussed on cool web videos by the usual suspects?
Here's a few:
Issues raised by visiting old people who are housebound or living in elderly care homes.
Issues raised by that church member who is a faithful attender but descending slowly into the fog of Alzheimer's disease.
How to conduct a funeral for a small child who has just died of cancer.
How to comfort the parents of said child.
How to help the man or woman in the boring, undignified but necessary job (say, lavatory cleaning) to find dignity and glorify God in their work situation.
My guess is that 3 or even more of these topics will be of 100% relevance almost every year to any pastor who actually pastors in the way that the New Testament prescribes. But, unless I am missing something, these topics never seem to get much video airtime on the websites favoured by the bold and the beautiful. Why is this? I leave that to your imaginations.
As Sherlock Holmes noted, sometimes it is the dog that does not bark which tells you what you really need to know about a situation.
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