I take his meaning to be in part that the pastor is the place where theology and what we call “real life” intersect. It is where people come to you with questions about their dead niece who was not a believer and their husband who cannot express love. It is where a church board frets over how to spend a limited budget and turns to you for some sage word. It is where someone proposes a hymn for worship or a book for Sunday School that commits theological malpractice. It is where a nasty letter shows up in your mailbox from someone who just heard you preach about loving each other and from the content of the letter clearly did not hear the sermon.
Even in my short time in this part-time roel as pastor, I have grown to appreciate the boots-on-the-ground theological work of the pastor. Being in the places where men, women, and children come into contact with each other and God shapes theological reflection in ways that reading books and talking around the seminar table — or the Internet connection — never could. At least not for me.
This is the great and messy gift of pastoral work. Sometimes I wish things could be more tidy, but I thank God for the mess all the same.