In our time we have been uprooted from our former homeland, adrift in a mobile and changing society. We are lonely in crowds who seem not to care, pushed to and from by machines to serve and be served, until we too become mechanical and act like machines. We meet the other persons as strangers, but mostly by external contacts passing by or bouncing away as if we were rubber balls. We… do not know the inner life of other persons, and so we give attention mainly to the external appearances. Estranged from them or used by them, we are empty within ourselves, lost souls for whom no one seems to care. The need has never been so urgent for someone to care. How can a pastor care for his people in such a world?
Paul E. Johnson (1965)
Paul E. Johnson was a Methodist minister, involved early on in the Pastoral Care movement. This quote comes from an article he wrote for the “Christian Advocate” entitled “Where We Are Now In Pastoral Care” (23 SEP 1965, page 7). Sadly, I have not so far found a copy of this article, and so rely on the quote here that was used by Howard Clinebell in “Basic Types of Pastoral Care & Counseling,” Chapter 3. This quote seemed current, I am sure in 1965, but if anything is more so today.