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While getting less media attention in recent days than Lebron James and Mel Gibson, confusion over the pastoral roles of Robert Schuller and his daughter have kept the aging television preacher in the news.

Sheila Schuller Coleman, who serves as senior pastor has sought to squelch rumors that her 83-year-old father is stepping out of the pulpit and spotlight at the Crystal Cathedral in Southern California.

The rumor was widely reported through the Associated Press and other news outlet after Coleman told the church that her position of leadership had been confirmed by the Reformed Church in America. The LA Times corrected the story here.

I really don’t care which Schuller does what in the big glass church. But I could not let one of the Rev. Coleman’s comments in the story pass without notice.

Expressing concern about the rumor and assuring viewers that her father still plans to occupy the pulpit, she said: “It’s troubling because we have a lot of viewers all over the world thinking: ‘My pastor’s leaving.’”

I understand how someone might say: “My favorite television preacher is leaving” or “I will miss the weekly encouragement from Dr. Schuller.” But can someone you’ve never met and whose only contact is via TV be your pastor?

The many pastors I know would be surprised to learn that their calling and responsibilities can be achieved from behind the pulpit only — as important as the task of preaching might be. Hospital visits, emergency calls in the night, counseling, funerals, administrative work, committees, etc. — I guess they just do those things for fun.

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