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The Pastor as Minor Poet: Texts and Subtexts in the Ministerial Life
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The Pastor as Minor Poet: Texts and Subtexts in the Ministerial Life


Eerdmans 2009

Runs on Windows, Mac and mobile.


Today’s pastors—often expected to be multitasking marvels who can make their churches “successful”—are understandably confused about their role. Craig Barnes contends that the true calling of a pastor is to help others become fully alive in Christ, to be a “minor poet,” or poet of the soul. As such, pastors are to read the major poets of Scripture and history in light of the dust and grit of daily parish life.

The Pastor as Minor Poet eloquently calls pastors to search for a deeper understanding of what they see—both in the text of Scripture and in the text of their parishioners’ lives. A critical part of this poetic vision involves discerning key subtexts beneath these texts, which allows pastors to preach the heart of the Word and to understand the hearts of their people. Written with a seasoned pastor’s depth of understanding and a poet’s sensibility and sensitivity, this book will minister to and inspire pastors everywhere.

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Interested in similar titles? Be sure to check out Eerdmans Pastoral Resources Collection.

Key Features

  • Calls pastors to search for a deeper understanding of Scripture and their parishioners’ lives
  • Provides insight from a seasoned pastor’s depth of understanding
  • Explores the true calling of a pastor as ‘minor poet’ or poet of the soul


  • Who Is the Pastor?
  • The Parish Poet
  • The Unpoetic Congregation
  • The Poet’s Pathos
  • The Poetic Community
  • The Subtext of Scripture
  • The Subtext of Human Life
  • The Subtext of the Poet
  • Writing the Poetry

Praise for the Print Edition

Barnes knows all about being a pastor, how to use authority, how to lead, how to listen, and how to provoke. He knows, moreover, that it finally all comes down to faithful words that can conjure alternative scenarios of the future. In a society cold with technical reason, this summons to poetic truth is of huge importance.

Walter Brueggemann, William Marcellus McPheeters Professor of Old Testament, Columbia Theological Seminary

Product Details

  • Title: The Pastor as Minor Poet: Texts and Subtexts in the Ministerial Life
  • Author: M. Craig Barnes
  • Series: Calvin Institute of Christian Worship Liturgical Studies
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Pages: 146
  • Christian Group: Evangelicals
  • Resource Type: Topical
  • Topic: Leadership

About M. Craig Barnes

M. Craig Barnes is president of Princeton Theological Seminary. Before becoming president of Princeton, Barnes was a chaired professor at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary while also serving as the pastor and head of staff of Shadyside Presbyterian Church. His other books include Searching for Home: Spirituality for Restless Souls and Body and Soul: Reclaiming the Heidelberg Catechism.