Surviving in a Hostile Environment

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I like to joke that I live in a hostile environment. As a Michigan transplant to Texas, I’m not at all used to the climate down here. It’s much hotter here, and the sun is a lot more intense. Some days I can’t get enough water. When the heat index is over 100 and the AC runs almost constantly just to keep it at 80, even being inside is dehydrating, and I drink water all day long. Summertime is downright miserable. My poor blonde-haired children are no match for the sun, so I need to be extra vigilant about protecting them, lest they burn or get dehydrated or get heatstroke. Like I said, we’re in a hostile environment.

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The Tech Free Challenge

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Only in America would someone go for a week without technology and then blog about it. Last week my kids and I challenged each other to go the entire week without our phones, tablets, computers, and TVs. (Okay, I issued the challenge. They went along with it very grudgingly.) It was a perfect time to do this, since school isn’t in session and relatively few people need to get in contact with any of us. I did allow phone calls, but that was it. So what would we, a typical modern family, do without our screens for an entire week? I envisioned dramatic changes and unintended consequences, but to be honest, the whole thing was pretty anticlimactic. I guess you could say the experiment was a failure.

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Toning Up

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I used to have toned muscles. Many moons ago when we lived in a bigger city and had two less children, I belonged to a gym, where I split my time between the elliptical and the resistance machines. I went three or four times a week, and with regular use, my muscles got stronger and more toned. But when we moved I didn’t have a gym available, and with the addition of another baby, it was too hard to coordinate anyhow. So my muscles weren’t being used in the same ways, and therefore lost their nice toned look. Recently I noticed just how un-toned they are, so I determined to strengthen them again. I found an app that led me through various exercises, and I felt great doing them––wall push ups, overhead presses, triceps dips. Ah, it was good to be working the various muscle groups. But the next day, those same muscles were pretty sore, and I had to admit a harsh truth––I’m not as in shape as I used to be.

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Taking the Gospel for Granted

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Familiarity breeds contempt.

So goes the old expression. And we get the basic premise; At first, everything is new and exciting, but over time that excitement fades and one tends to take for granted what once was  an amazing blessing. Whether this plays out in a marriage, a job, or even possessions, we can all think of examples. But what happens when you find yourself feeling this way about the Gospel?

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One Big Happy Family


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”

What a Pastor’s Wife Wants You to Know

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(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”

One Common Destiny

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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.

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A Screwtape Curriculum

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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.

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Tolerance… or Propaganda?

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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?

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