Paper pastors

Last night, I shared a blog post, Porn and paper pastors, over on Google Reader. It had very little to do with porn, and much to say about “paper pastors”, who can be defined as those pastors whose sermons we listen to on our MP3 players, or whose books we read, and consequently hold in higher regard than our flesh-and-blood pastor.

The post on its own was a very convicting read for me. What increased its impact was that I read it shortly after watching a live webcast of a pastor named Tim Keller. I was blown away by his sermon on idols, and I was thinking to myself that I needed to get his sermon podcasts. God has a sense of humour—a sermon on idolatry preached by a pastor I was sort of idolising followed by reading a warning against doing just what I was doing.

So I didn’t subscribe to Tim Keller’s sermon podcast, though I’m sure it is awesome (this was my second time to listen to him, my first being a talk he gave for the Authors@Google series, so I’m sure his preaching is great—and more importantly, biblical).

I did however, stay in front of my computer until midnight to watch the next speaker at the conference, John Piper. If you’ve read my post on the podcasts I listen to, you may know that I admire Piper (if you haven’t read the post, now you do).  I’m torn. I don’t desire to stop listening to all the great teaching I’ve been getting (some of which I’ve shared with others), but I also realise that it isn’t fair for me to create a competition between my flesh-and-blood pastor and my paper pastors. IMHO not listening is an inadequate solution, because it doesn’t get to the root of the issue, which is my sinful heart. In assessing my flesh-and-blood pastor, I  need to give grace, remembering that both  I and him have received grace from Christ; and pray for him to be faithful to his calling.

Update: Tim Keller doesn’t have a sermon podcast. Phew?