I've been thinking and conversatin' with people about Zen and Zen teachers and it seems like there are a lot of different ideas, some of them pretty whacked out IMHO, about what exactly a Zen teacher is supposed to 'provide' to his/her students. Some people seem to think that Zen teachers are therapists. Others get into this weird "you're so wise/you've done so much for me!" sort of dynamic with their teachers (completely ignoring the fact that the teacher really doesn't 'provide' anything but an opportunity for genuine interaction). Some people get completely disillusioned when they find out that their teachers have human flaws (men who fall prey to sexual temptation, women who bully, etc).
So what role do you all think that a Zen teacher fills?