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home : faith & community : connect with us February 19, 2017

11/21/2013 11:16:00 PM
Local pastor turns published author
Amber Schlenker
Assistant Editor

"We worry so much about making mistakes, it's that worry that's the problem, not the mistakes themselves."
You might say Pastor Paul Palumbo has been preparing to write his book for nearly three decades.
Lake Chelan Lutheran Pastor Palumbo has been in the ministry nearly 25 years and has had a long, tough road along the way.
Palumbo, a father, pastor, husband and friend can now add another item to his resume: author.
"In Defense of the Pastor," written by the local man is set to debut his writings Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. at Riverwalk Books in Chelan for his first book signing.
The book, as told by Palumbo, is a detailed account of, "My greatest hits of pastoral screw ups."
The idea for a book came about after a friend asked Palumbo to help him work on a book together. The two began writing and in the end, the book went another direction. But the idea to write out struggles pastors go through, was born.
"That was what got me thinking; I discovered that (not all, but in general) pastors are miserable," he said.
Palumbo began checking up with contacts, asking the question: Are pastors really miserable?
When the general consensus was a resounding, "yes," Palumbo began to internalize that same question.
"Wow. What makes me miserable in my ministry?"
After internal inspection, Palumbo said he discovered that when he tried to defend himself, protect his self images, that was the root of a miserable feeling inside.
"After a while, it takes a lot of energy to worry about what people think of you," he added.
"It's not just pastors, it's a human problem."
Though the idea for a book came only recently, when Palumbo first moved to the area from a rough neighborhood in North Carolina, he says he was having a difficult time adjusting to the transition.
"My spiritual director advised me to write about my former parish. I wrote a whole bunch. It did help me transition," he said.
Palumbo revisited his former writings and discovered: "Sure enough, the times I really screwed up was when I was trying to justify myself, protect myself."
Palumbo said, though the journey to dying to himself and letting Christ live isn't done, the discovery of the root of his "screw ups" may be able to help others. Others just might be able to relate.
"If I could just put this into some form, tell stories and make sense, that was what I wanted," he said.
Palumbo says the main theological lens for all of this is St. Paul's words, "I have been crucified with Christ, it is not I who live."
"I want to take that really seriously and existentially," he said. "These are the stories that help me experience that.
"Dying to myself."
But Palumbo wants to remind readers, this book isn't just for pastors, but the book reflects a dynamic that human beings go through.
"You don't have to be a pastor to understand what I'm saying," he said.
For an editor's review of the book, see page B2 of this week's Lake Chelan Mirror.

Amber Schlenker can be reached at 509-682-2213 or by email

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