What the Hell is a Pastor?

What the Hell is a Pastor?

By Ethan and Jo
Two young pastors in small town ministry sit down each week to talk about the ups and downs of their jobs as they try to figure out what the hell it is they're supposed to be doing. Come for the behind-the-scenes look at ministry, stay for the theological asides.
Where to listen
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Difficult Meetings
In which Ethan and Jo discuss their weeks, which both involved administrative council meetings and other interactions with congregants.  Correction corner: The Bonhoeffer essay that Ethan references towards the end of the podcast is The Church and the Jewish Question, not The Church and the Jewish Problem as Jo guessed. PDFs are out there for those who don't want to buy a collection of Bonhoeffer's works. 
43:28
January 20, 2020
The Protocol, Part 2
In which Ian joins Ethan and Jo to continue their conversations about the Protocol. Check out The Protocol, Part 1, if you haven't already! 
1:16:51
January 13, 2020
The Protocol, Part 1
In which Ethan and Jo start by talking about their weeks, but are quickly taken in by a discussion about the Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace through Separation (you can see a quick and dirty infographic about it that Jo helped create here). Things get heated and we earn our E for Explicit rating. 
1:05:44
January 13, 2020
Congregational Trauma
In which Ethan and Jo talk about the Christmas season, their resolutions for the New Year, and the pitfalls of dealing with past congregational trauma. 
56:52
January 6, 2020
The Search for Vitality
In which Ethan and Jo discuss yearly Christmas pageants and how to decide whether a ministry is vital or not.  In this week after yet another anti-Semitic attack has ravaged our Jewish siblings, we'd like to supplement our Anti-Semitism Warning with a twitter thread by the Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg: https://twitter.com/TheRaDR/status/1211624621591666689?s=20. Give her a follow on the social media platform of your choice to learn and grow and join us in the on-going fight against prejudice against Jewish people in our current political climate. 
1:00:56
December 31, 2019
Twitter
Come for the Guy Fieri story, stay for the twitter recs.  Jo is @aj_schwlf, Ethan is @PastorEShearer, and the podcast is @wthisapastor. Check out who we're following for our recommendations.  Here's the article that Ethan is referencing at the beginning. It's worth the read.  https://catapult.co/stories/love-peace-and-taco-grease-how-i-left-my-abusive-husband-and-found-guy-fieri-by-rax-king
54:03
December 23, 2019
Salvation and Mental Health
Settle in, friends. In this episode, Ethan and Jo talk about their weeks (weddings galore!) and then get into it, taking some theological side roads in order to land on the minefield that is a pastor's mental health. Listen, if it wasn't important, we wouldn't give our time and attention to it. As you listen to this, again, longer-than-usual episode, see if you can find the one grammatical mistake that was so glaring, Jo almost corrected it with a voiceover. 
1:21:30
December 16, 2019
They Might Be Monks
In which Ethan and Jo have a longer-than-usual conversation from the long-distant days of November about why Ethan thinks being a pastor is first and foremost a job and what it means to worship and tend to our spiritual selves. 
1:08:55
December 9, 2019
Pastors on Holiday
In which Ethan, Jo, and special guest Ian discuss Romans, blog posts, boundaries, and their favorite sweaty seminary professor, with a touch of anti-capitalism thrown in for spice. 
42:04
December 7, 2019
The One Thing We Would Change
In which Ethan and Jo talk about running for office, what they would change about their churches (which they love!) if they could, and what keeps them hopeful in this season of doubt and distress in the United Methodist Church. 
51:11
November 25, 2019
"I am by no means an expert"
In which Jo and Ethan talk about paperwork and translating their thoughts into the language that Boomers understand, with a guest appearance by Ethel at the end. 
51:44
November 18, 2019
"Not to get too nerdy, but..."
A special mini-sode in which Ethan and Jo dig into the incarnation, biblical interpretation, David Bentley Hart, and how the internet impacts our ministry. 
32:01
November 12, 2019
Colonialism, Postmodernism, and Biblical Literalism Walk Into a Bar
If you've ever wondered what it would be like to grab a drink with our hosts, this conversation is almost nearly it. Ethan and Jo get a running start by talking about how we interact with our siblings in Christ in different international contexts, which somehow morphs into a discussion about movies and postmodernism, and we promise, we cut out a solid 30 minutes of pastoral phone calls and surprise visits and theological asides to meet the time limit. 
1:03:33
November 11, 2019
Church Conflict
After an extended season of dealing with conflict in their individual churches, Jo and Ethan get together to talk about the types of conflict they struggle with, their experience as younger people dealing with older churches in conflict, how they manage conflict, and what keeps them in the faith with all these frustrations swirling around them. 
1:07:54
November 4, 2019
"You have to cry once a week"
In which Ethan and Jo talk about paid time off, taking care of ourselves while dealing with heavy emotions, why theology matters, and why if you're an older Methodist, you're probably a Boston Personalist without evening knowing it. 
41:21
October 28, 2019
The One With All the Ontology
In which Ethan and Jo have a long wide-ranging conversation that covers pastoral health, district gatherings and paperwork, hospital visits, google maps, library cards, trinitarian ontology, and many hypotheses about why we struggle so hard with evangelicalism, among other things. There are jokes in it too, we promise. 
1:07:28
October 21, 2019
Pastors Who Are Also Nerds
In this episode, Ethan and Jo discuss flirting with universal salvation, God's justice, and why hell is maybeprobablykinda a thing. You know, the things you expect pastors to talk about. 
55:10
October 14, 2019
Bats and Brains and BOOM, oh my!
After an extended introduction about what a day Ethan has had, Ethan and Jo talk about the pastor as caretaker while also discussing the challenges of maintaining some semblance of mental health while wrestling with the ordination process in a denomination that's struggling to understand itself. No bats were harmed in the recording of this episode. 
1:09:41
October 7, 2019
The Physical Plant- Blessing or Detriment?
Jo and Ethan sit down to talk about "improvements" to their doors and security system and investigate the importance of the church building to those who have worshipped there for decades. 
57:03
September 18, 2019
Pastors Who Also Have Relationships
This week, Jo and Ethan talk about the challenges of congregational ministry when it appears to conflict with important relationships in their lives. Don't worry, boundaries are discussed.  Ethan name-drops God, Sexuality, and the Self by Sarah Coakley. Check it out for a theological exploration of how our sexual relationships can inform our understanding of and interaction with God. 
1:03:19
August 15, 2019
A Short History of Pastoral Interactions
In this inaugural episode, Jo and Ethan talk about their weeks, about their typical and not-so-typical duties as pastors, and dig into the pastors they've had and how pastoral interactions in the past shaped their ministry today. 
1:08:24
August 8, 2019