Email pastoring

Langugaes are wonderful, so when I rearched for a CC licensed image with the term "email" this photo by 23dingenvoormusea appeared. The caption reads "kruis van koper en email"

Over the years, and I began being Internet active with the Amos commentary material in 1995 (so it is 15 years), I have had several contacts by email in which I have “pastored” for a while people I have never met or seen. They are only words on a screen.  Yet I call these fragile and somewhat tenuous relationships pastoring. Why?

Usually these correspondences start with an email that asks a question. Often the question may seem factual, but usually suggests some possibility that it is “really” about something deeper. Then gradually, or sometimes swiftly, the person I am “talking” with comes to trust me, and the talk goes deeper. Obviously the anonymity of the medium, the fact that we do not meet face to face, share friends, and live in different countries is part of what enables these conversations to take place.

Perhaps therefore, it is because of the severe limitations of the medium that these conversations can take place at all. Maybe email pastoring reaches places physical pastors cannot reach…

I wonder though how many such relationships I have refused, without knowing it, by a swift hard response to a “trivial” question from a unknown reader of my websites and blogs…

One comment on “Email pastoring

  1. John R

    I think this is a question that needs to be asked more on the internet.