Thoughts? How important are symbols?
“Just call me Erik”
I have never said these words out loud in the context of pastoral ministry.
Sometime just before or during my childhood, there was a movement toward informality in the church. Many pastors stopped going by “Reverend Last Name” or “Pastor Last Name” and started going by just “First Name.” At the same time, there was movement away from clergy attire (although for many Lutherans, collars and vestments had only been reclaimed a few decades earlier).
When I began seminary in 2005 and graduated in 2009, it was more-or-less the norm that clergy would expect to be called by their first name by parishioners, church goers from other churches and colleagues. Wearing a clerical collar was a hotly debated option for many seminary students.
I often got the sense that my desire to be called “Pastor” seemed stodgy and formal to some. And while seminary students of…
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