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The Performance Of Authenticity: Ordination And Profession In Pastoral Care

R. Nauta
Published 2003 · Sociology

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Quite a few pastors experience a feeling of inauthenticity when performing their duties. Trying to fulfill the wishes and needs of those of the congregation who ask for their help, they feel like an impostor. The discrepancy between act and experience causes a serious problem in identity. However when authenticity is not considered to be an individual experience and a personal dilemma but as a relational characteristic, the concept of play may be usefully engaged to explain the dramaturgical essence of pastoral performance. The success of pastoral performance depends on maintaining the right aesthetical distance in the drama enacted, so that some form of catharsis might be effected. That distance is found in introducing the concept of ordination where the relation between pastor and congregation is concerned, and it is to be found in the concept of profession where pastors perceive and evaluate their own role performance. Both ordination and profession act as distancing devices enabling the pastor to play the right role rightly. Acting as if, the pastor may be experienced as authentic, as a real pastor.
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