From Craig Barnes’ must-read The Pastor As Minor Poet:

We do not peddle images of the super-Christian and tell our parishioners to try harder to attain this goal. That’s just another false image. And it will also leave us only with more judgment by tossing the not-good-enough Christian onto our heap of failures….So, with poetic irony, pastors help people to change not by talking about them, but by talking about the God revealed in Christ. As an irritated woman once said to me at the door following worship, ‘Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. Is that all you know?’ Had I been thinking clearly at the time, I would have said, ‘It’s all I know that can be of help to you.’

Rather than using the few reflective listening skills we learned in our Introduction to Pastoral Care seminary classes, which is only another way of holding up the judgmental mirror, we pastors need to hold up Jesus Christ. ‘See him?’ we say. ‘That’s who you really are. Everything else about you is just pretending.’