In my tradition, we pride ourselves on the intellect and roll our eyes at emotional sermons. We think of them as (1) dumbing down content or (2) manipulating people. But ignoring the importance of emotion in our spiritual lives can make us... well... boring.
The fear is palpable. The Obama supporters feel that a Romney presidency will completely erode our safety net, so that only the rich will survive. Women feel like any gains that they have eked out in society for the last few decades will be taken away completely. The Romney supporters think that we need to get someone in there who knows about business, or else our economy will collapse. They worry about the looming deficit and an oversized government, so they want Romney to make the tough decisions.
I get jealous. I try not to, but I hope that I’ve also begun to recognize and constructively use the emotion. Here are some dos and don’ts that I practice to make sure that the little green monster doesn’t take over my life.
Someone who tries to control through words has been trying to contact me for years. While he acts as though he is interested in saving women from violence, the way he does this is through distorting the truth, triangulation, manipulation and, lastly, by exerting the power of place: showing up to my congregation.
Social media can reduce activism to a fad—something that we take part in because a particular Twitter hashtag is trending, a video has become viral or a Facebook cause has become popular. It can ignore the hard work that has been taking place over decades and discount a long-term strategy that a community might have.
I always feel like using the mom card highlights some sort of gender defect. My husband was a work-at-home dad for three years, and he has been just as involved in the diaper changing, sick days and parent/teacher meetings as I have. But I always have a feeling that when a guy uses the parent card, people think, What a great dad. But when women use it, people think, What an inept worker.
I started in the pastorate in my mid-twenties. I was short and good-natured, and I received awkward comments quite a bit. I don’t as much any longer. I got better with reaction time and gained some tools to deflect the comments.
This is the third and final post in a series of interview questions. Montreat Conference Center has an Institute for Church Leadership. Since I will be preaching at their "Leading With Bold Imagination" Conference that is coming up, they asked me a few questions. If you'd like to read the whole interview, here is part one and part two. And if you have a chance to attend the conference, I would love to see you there. Montreat's setting can feed the soul.
Most people who serve as church leaders realize what an important time it is in our religious landscape. Because of demographic, generational, technological and economic shifts, we realize that many churches are coming to the end of their seasons. In this important moment, we will need leaders who can experiment, create, test and plant.
I hear that bivocational ministry will be the reality for pastors entering the ministry. Our economic model is breaking down. A church with 50 households can no longer support one pastor. Even when a minister is willing to live frugally, the cost of education and medical benefits keeps getting higher. So, many people jump to bivocational ministry as the answer.
We’re not in the sort of culture where “my dad died over a year ago” is an excuse. But when I speak to other people who have lost loved ones, they say it takes two to three years before the wounds heal. I wonder why there is such a disconnect between our personal experience and our expectation of others.
In our corner of the economy, excellent pastors got fired and many took wage and benefit cuts. In some cases, the congregations didn’t realize that their decrease in membership was a national trend that had a lot to do with shifting demographics.
As important as it is to minister from those wounded places, to preach about real emotional issues, and to write from a place of spiritual depth, there is also danger in it—for us and for our communities.
When did we become a country of critics? And who wants to live in a society where we pick each other apart all the time? If we don’t watch out, our hyper-judgmental world will lead us to choke out all of our creativity, cultivate a fear of failure and leave us spiritually parched.
Sue came into the church office in order to help with some paperwork and plans for Sunday morning worship. “What are we doing for Mother’s Day?” she asked.
I paused. I had always benignly neglected Mother’s Day at our church. I thought of it as a Hallmark holiday, and not something that should fit on a liturgical calendar. I was taught in seminary that we should never mention it. Plus, there were personal reasons as well.