What is the Pastoral Heart in the Market Place?
When most people think of pastors, they either think of church leaders or of very empathetic people with whom they can share their problems. Biblically a pastor is a shepherd. The shepherd had many jobs, but an essential one was leading the sheep to food and water. David refers to this in Psalm 23 when he talks about the Lord making him lie down in the green pasture and leading him beside still waters.
The word pastor and pasture are from the same root. A healthy sheep did not need to be fed by the shepherd but was well able to feed itself. However, sheep had to move from place to place to find fresh pasture since they rapidly consumed all the grass in one place. Thus, the shepherd was a person who would lead the flock to new grazing areas.
Marketplaces were public spaces where many things happened. It was a place where people met. There would be buying and selling and also eating. All sorts of business occurred in the marketplace. It was also a location where strangers could be found, the news was given, and announcements made.
The pastoral heart then wants people to find good food for the soul and spirit in the modern equivalents of the marketplace. The marketplace is not in a church meeting or some other religious place. My aim is to provide suitable materials for those who choose to select them that will be of benefit. The objective is not to feed people but for them to take control of their learning and develop their understanding.
Such development may mean readers come to a very different understanding from me of what is addressed. Different views are welcome especially if people can say why they disagree. A thoughtful discussion is important, and questions are most welcome.