This weekend was bittersweet for our family. My father, a pastor, retired after forty years in the ministry. The last twenty-eight of those years he spent at the same church in Michigan. He took a call there when I was in the fifth grade. I consider it my home church. It’s strange to think of my parents going anywhere else. But retiring is different for a pastor than for other vocations. If someone retires from an office job, say, there’s no need to switch churches as well. However, when a pastor retires, in most cases he leaves his church as well. This is difficult, because often that’s their support network and social circle. These are the people who have celebrated together in good times and pulled together in difficult times; people who worship together every week. Indeed, they are a church family. And it’s hard to say goodbye to such a family. Continue reading “One Big Happy Family”
(Originally posted on Sister, Daughter, Mother, Wife on June 2, 2017)
I know, I know. You’ve read it all before. You get it. Pastors’ wives are sick of living in a fishbowl. They don’t want to be compared to the former pastor’s wife. They’re tired of the expectation that they’ll do everything from leading VBS to starting a women’s Bible study to doing secretarial work for free. They hate the stereotype that their children must be perfectly behaved or know all the answers in Sunday school. You know all these things. You’ve seen other blog posts to that effect. And it’s a good and helpful thing when congregations realize this. But honestly, too many articles of that nature makes us PWs seem sort of…well, resentful. So please allow me to share a few other things I’d like parishioners to know that may help you understand your pastor’s wife (and your pastor) better. Continue reading “What a Pastor’s Wife Wants You to Know”
It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere.
All roads lead to heaven.
People may call God by different names, but we all still worship the same God.
Nice sentiments, aren’t they? Why trouble yourself too much about religion, after all? What difference does it really make in the end? If we’re all going to heaven, it doesn’t matter what we believe or how we live our lives on earth, right? But is that true? Do we all share a common destiny? Actually, in one sense, yes. But it may not be exactly what you have in mind.
My Dear Headmaster,
I am flattered and humbled to find that my proposed curriculum has attracted much attention, even so much as to pique the interest of Screwtape himself. I am proud to say that these methods have yielded excellent results in America, and I believe they would prove useful in training up our youth at Underworld University. Allow me to highlight the core classes and summarize each of them briefly for your consideration. I have thousands of success stories to back the effectiveness of these techniques, and I would be happy to appear before the committee to present the ideas personally. Paired with other standard core classes such as Complacency and Entitlement, I assure you, these make a deadly combination that many in the Enemy’s clutches cannot resist. So without further ado, here are my recommendations.
Tolerance is everywhere, and tolerance is everything. From the Coexist bumper stickers to the Google Doodle for April 1, 2017, symbols depicting all worldviews “getting along” together are prevalent. Nor is this sentiment confined to bumper stickers and Google pages. Pushes for tolerance are getting more blatant. A recent Coca-Cola commercial features the entire family fawning over the pool boy (including the teenage son). Even some children’s books are venturing into this realm, like the 12th installment of Captain Underpants, which includes characters who are gay (in this case, “Old Harold and his husband.”) And a quick internet search of “preschool books about homosexuality” reveals there are a number of books on the subject, from Mommy, Mama, and Me to Daddy’s Roommate. The objective is clear: make children believe, from a very young age, that this behavior is normal and acceptable. It’s something to be not only tolerated, but accepted and embraced. But here’s the question: is this tolerance, or is it propaganda?
(Author’s note: I originally wrote this article for the website Raising Godly Children, where it was published on March 19,2017. To read the article in its entirety, click the link here.)
My seventh grade son has a unique set of friends. A few “kind of” believe in a generic god out there, a few flat out don’t believe in God at all, a few aren’t sure what they believe, and then there’s my son. He’s grown up in the church, attended parochial schools until 5th grade, goes regularly to Sunday School, midweek (church) school, and confirmation class, and hears Bible stories and devotions at home as well. And thanks to the work of the Holy Spirit, he believes those biblical accounts. He has faith in Jesus and isn’t afraid to say so, even when all his friends are arguing against him. And argue they do. Religion is a regular topic of discussion at their lunch table. Yet despite the wide variety of views among them, they have a close bond and manage to stay friends even after a lively discussion. And to be honest, I couldn’t be happier that he’s fighting in school, because it’s already preparing him for life as an adult. (Continue reading.)
Photo is Fighting by Frederic C81
If one is to believe everything one sees about Jesus, one might come away with some very dangerous views about Him. Take, for example, the picture above, citing definitive “proof” from the Bible that Jesus supports the homosexual lifestyle. I’ve heard people make the assertion that Jesus overturned the moneychangers’ tables in the temple to fight economic injustice. I once read a pamphlet that portrayed Jesus as a dualist when He says, “I and the Father…” In my recent blog about the women’s march, more than one person challenged my “narrow-mindedness” by claiming that Jesus would have marched beside those women in support of women’s rights in America. And when all else fails, there’s always the “Judge not, lest ye be judged” card people can play to tell others, in effect, to mind their own business. The problem with all of these claims, however, is that they are blatantly untrue.
I am a woman. I live in America. I did not attend a women’s march over the weekend, but I know people who did. These marches made front page news all across America and sparked lively debates on social media. It’s obvious that women in this country have vastly different beliefs and convictions. I don’t presume to speak for all women in America. I speak only for myself. But at the same time, I know I’m not the only woman who feels this way. So with that in mind, I have some apologies to make.
The smell hit me in full force as soon as I walked in the door. We were returning from a spur-of-the-moment overnight trip to the beach, and we were all hot, tired, sandy, and greasy from sunscreen. All I really wanted to do was take a long shower, give the kids a bath, and put everyone to bed. But that was not meant to be. It didn’t take me long to realize what the awful smell was. Our dogs had left us a lovely package in their cage, which was smeared all over the place, hardened by now, making for unpleasant cleanup at best. So rather than get that nice long shower I’d been dreaming about, I found myself on my hands and knees scrubbing out their cage. Welcome home.
I was almost done unloading my shopping cart when another lady pushed her cart in behind me. I glanced at her apologetically, saying, “You’ll be here a while.”
“I’m in no rush,” she assured me.
I smiled and continued unloading. Half of my groceries were already bagged and loaded into another cart, the entire conveyor belt was full of more groceries, and there were still some left in my original cart. The lady behind me observed all this, and tried to make small talk.
“Big trip today, huh?”
“We have five kids,” I explained. “And I try to do a shopping trip for two weeks at a time so I don’t have to come as often that way.”
Her eyes widened. She took in my three-year old and 15-month old sitting side by side in the double cart, uncharacteristically docile as they looked at her. She hadn’t been privy to their meltdown on aisle 8.
“Do you plan out your meals two weeks in advance, too?” she inquired.
I nodded in affirmation, and her eyes got even wider. With awe in her voice, she said, “You’re so organized!”
I sure had her fooled.