Tag Archives: obedience

Pastors Ain’t Special by Mrs. Blue

As has been the case, about as often as not, it is one of my periodic (and increasingly rare) phone calls with Mrs. Eager that has inspired me to come over here to the dear hubby’s blog and go on a rant about something.

In talking with her, she told me Mr. Eager has been having some trouble with ringing in his ears (tinnitus for you technical minded types), and he was starting to wonder if it was God’s judgment on him for having words with the pastor of a church they were going to until recently. Give me a break! But before I get to that rant, in all seriousness, if you’re Christian, pray for Mr. Eager. He’s a musician, and a good one (guitar and bass mostly) and I think he could do great with a modern music ministry. But hearing problems could be a big muck-up for plans like that.

Anyway, to get back to the point, I think it’s ridiculous that he’s worried God has judged him with illness or injury for questioning  the head of a congregation. Granted, this is the second church he’s done this at, but let me recap:

The first time, it was at the same church that hubby and I fled from as it got increasingly freaky and fixated on speaking in tongues and espousing questionable doctrine and things like that. Mr. Eager and Mrs. Eager were essentially kicked out (of the church band and the church) when he questioned that pastor on doctrinal stuff. This is the very same kind of stuff that made us leave, so fact is that he was on the money. The stuff that was (and is now) being preached there is half made up by the pastor now.

The second time well, I’m not sure the details on that discussion/confrontation, but dear hubby and I had taste-tested that church too and found it a bit wanting. I think the new pastor there has a bit of an ego (though he was an improvement over the fire-and-brimstone, vegetarians-are-all-pagans guy who came before him) and he seems more focused on his own vision of stuff than on leading the congregation he has in the way that they need to be led. Just my humble opinion of course.

But the point is that pastors aren’t special. They crap out the same kind of hole the rest of us do. Assuming they have both their legs, they put ’em into separate legs of the jeans or slacks just like you or I do. They get angry, they can be selfish and shallow, they can get hopeless, they can get confused.

In short, they are human.

Pastors are not, as some poor souls seem to think, some special spiritual emissaries that God has set down in a church. I like to hope that most pastors are put in place with a little nudge by God, but realistically, I know it is church boards who do this, and they’re human too. They hire humans. Humans who can get led astray or get full of themselves or just make mistakes.

Pastors are great for providing leadership, just as an executive director leads a non-profit. But they still have to answer to a board of directors, just like an executive director does, and they sometimes have to answer to the membership (congregation) as well. They aren’t perfect. And when they are wrong, either because of bullheaded choice or by honest mistake or by a case of the raving loonies, they need to be called to task. They need to be made aware. Mind you, I say this as the daughter of a preacher, who used to head his own small church. I love my dad, but if anything shows you how a pastor can be just as imperfect as the rest of us, no matter how much biblical knowledge he has, being the child of one will do it.

I know Mr. Eager well enough to know he’s pretty softspoken for a big guy. I doubt he read the riot act to the pastor. I’m sure he was trying to be helpful and led by God to say something. In short, even if he was mistaken about the pastor, he was right to speak up.

What wasn’t right was for the pastor and cronies to ease him out of the church for having spoken up. Dealing with dissent by kicking people out is a piss-poor and un-Christian way to handle things.

No, the tinnitus is most likely from a life of playing loud music. And I hope Mr. Eager gets past that physical problem. He really wants to do a music ministry and I hope he can. The only punishment he is receiving is what he is heaping on himself for no good reason, and what yet another pastor did to for trying to do the right thing.

Drive-By Scripture, Luke 12:42

Been so heavy on satire lately, and on my novel (including yet another installment today, which concludes chapter 4), that I figured I’d better have something spiritual right here, right now to help restore balance to the Force. Sorry, got off on a “Stars Wars” tangent there. Anyway…

And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? (Gospel of Luke, chapter 12, verse 42)

Now, this is just one tiny snippet of a much larger section. Chapter 12 in the Gospel of Luke is chock full of parables about being good stewards and good servants. I encourage you to read the whole shebang, which you can get to by clicking here.

The reason I have the passage above, and the reason it’s in the King James Version (KJV) instead of the New International Version (NIV) that’s in the links I offered, is largely because of the word “steward” used in the KJV. You hear a lot of talk about stewardship these days. “Are we being wise stewards of our planet?” being one of the big questions posed to us as we continue to consume natural resources and commercial products.

In the United States, we use oil and other forms of energy as if we’re the only people on the planet who matter and we’ve created an uber-consumeristic society that demands we keep buying new crappy shit to replace the crappy shit we had that still worked so that we can increase our credit burden and clog the landfills while we’re at it.

We aren’t being wise stewards. God gave us a precious world, and we piss on it. And then we expect him to bless us with prosperity.

I’ve seen bumper stickers that say, “If we want God to protect this country, shouldn’t we honor his Ten Commandments?” Well, if we want him to keep us from crashing and burning, shouldn’t we stop mistreating his planet, too?

Two-fer Tuesday: Walking with God by Deacon Blue

How do we walk with God, an individual we cannot see and who doesn’t speak to us with a physical voice? And how do we do it with a roadmap as confusing at the Bible can often be? We must open ourselves up and let go of our selfish desires. We must be willing to admit that we usually don’t know the right thing to do. We need to let the Holy Spirit do that hard work for us.

I should note that my gut feeling was that Miz Pink would cover today’s topic by going with the “path to destruction is wide” angle (and I was right), so I decided to go a completely different route, and pick one of my favorite passages in the Bible, and one that probably most of y’all have never heard of. But it’s one of the few in my King James Bible that I have memorized word for word.

O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. (Book of Jeremiah, Chapter 10, Verse 23)

To me, this statement encapsulates the very core of how we are supposed to view our walk with God. It not only evokes the walking imagery but hits home that point about how we must let God guide us because, frankly, we don’t know crap most of the time.

So what does that mean for our free will?

It doesn’t hurt it one bit. For one thing, if we are walking with God, we should freely choose to follow the path he wants for us. That’s not slavery; that’s good judgment. Moreover, choosing the path God wants for us doesn’t mean all our choices are made for us. It simply means we put ourselves on the right road. Whether we run down it or walk or skip is often up to us. Whether we stop to smell some roses or head to the end of the road as fast as feasible is typically up to us. We just need to be open to the Holy Spirit and let it guide us.

This is something Mrs. Blue and I have found out the hard way on numerous occasions when we haven’t done what our spirits have nudged us to do. The most recent really painful life lesson in this regard was several years ago when my wife was considering grad schools and the Holy Spirit was prodding her in certain directions that were oriented toward helping people directly. Well, we panicked about how long it might take for such degrees to become something that would pay off financially, and money was heavy on our minds. And jointly, we decided that she should go for something a bit more “business minded.” It was a huge mistake, and God left us to deal with the fallout of that bad decision. Now, He’s been sending some blessings that are making the decision less unbearable, but we are still frequently reminded that we purposefully rejected His guidance based on our fears and preconceptions and impatience. Now as Mrs. Blue feels some new proddings toward another degree, we are not so quick to want to ignore God again. We’ll see if we can keep the faith and stay on the walking path God is setting up for us, though.

Also, taking God’s path and asking him to show us what path He wants us to take isn’t always a dramatic thing involving a grad school or other major life choice. We need to listen to God and invite his navigational skills in smaller things as well. For example, generally when I crack open my Bible just for general edification, I recite that passage from Jeremiah above and then I open my Bible with my eyes closed. I’d say that roughly a third of the time, I find on one of the two pages before me a passage that directly relates to some critical issue with which I am wrestling that day. Another third of the time, it’s something that indirectly relates to the issue at hand or that opens my eyes to something I’ve been neglecting lately. The rest of the time, it’s just a useful passage to give me some new learning.

Point is, given how often I end up with truly relevant passages, from a book that is pretty freakin’ big and has an awful lot of subject matter that it covers, says a lot to me about how important it is not only to remember Jeremiah’s words but to speak them to God with a truly open heart. It never hurts to have a guide when we walk into unfamiliar territory, which is mostly what life is. And what better guide than an omniscient one?

(By the way, as long as we’re on the topic of walking with God, check out my “sequel” to the classic [or, some would say, trite] story “Footprints in the Sand,” a little story I call “A New Record in the Sand.”

Guilt Trips by Miz Pink

Why do so many people think that Christians exist only to make them feel bad about themselves? Yeah I know the concept of “original sin” sounds icky and doesn’t sit well with alot of people.

Yeah some Chrsitian folk can get all highandmighty and catalog all your sins while acting as if they have none of their own.

Yeah, some preachers like to trumpet the fire and brimstone and remind you all day long that you’re a pitiful excuse for a Christian…or a human…and that you should feel fortunate that God even offers you eternity in hell for your sins instead of just obliterating you right now.

The Chrisitians who go overboard don’t define us all you know. As human beings we are a pretty sinful lot and we really don’t treat God’s laws or even his planet…or ourselves for that matter…or other people with the respect that we need to. But when the Bible…or a well-meaning Christian…points out that people sin and that we sin against God all the time, it isn’t meant to give us a guilt trip.

Deke is pretty comfortable bringing out the family and parenting metaphors when talking about God so let me do it too, okay? I’ll even change the standin for God and have it be a mother in our little story.

So, imagine we have a guy name Stan whose mother is named Dorothy. Dorothy has raised Stan alone and although she thought discpline was an important character trait, she also loved him and provided for him. Dorothy gave up something very important to her in order to make a good life for Stan. From time to time, she would talk about her past and drop hints about what she had given up. But she never made a big point of it and she never tried to guilt her son.

Stan almost never really followed any of his mom’s rules. He lied to her alot and took things from her and talked about her behind her back and ridiculed her and ignored her. He spent more time disrepecting her than he did showing love back to her. And even as she took most of the disobedience and abuse in silence, Stan never stopped heaping more of it onto her back.

One day, some relatives who were sick and tired of Stan dumping on his mom…and who were also concerned about where Stan’s life was going to go if he wasn’t going to internalize any of his mom’s good advice…took him aside and pointed out to him that he wasn’t doing right. A couple of them might have even suggested that at the rate he was going, Stan would be really lucky if his mom even left him anything when she died or instead just give it all to a charity or something.

That’s the end of my story. No trick ending or witty conclusion. That’s it. Does it ring any bells?

God lets us make our own beds, and he often helps up out of our messes. He takes our abuse and disoebedience quietly. He gave his only son over to evil people to suffer a horrible death he didn’t deserve and to bear all our sins…just because he loved us that much. He gave up something important for us so taht we could have a future and still we don’t even try to meet God halfway most of the time. We ignore and insult and disobey. And we expect to be given a big inheritance because we think “we were pretty good people in the end.”

Stan may have treated alot of other people okay in life, but the parent who gave him everything certainly never got back the love she had earned and deserved.

Then again, maybe he finally did learn to to give her back that love and to finally listen to her…once those relatives pulled his ear a bit and set him straight on a few facts.

Oh, and those relatives would be concerned Christians who are trying to save souls and to get people who are saved to stay on the straight and narrow as much as possible.

Yeah, some of those relatives were probably assholes to Stan. But some of them really meant well and were nice about telling him what was what. Most Stans don’t listen to even the nice ones, though, do they?

How about you?