Ordinarily I don't like to write about Fred Phelps and his family. When a group's main goal is to say hateful things and draw attention to itself, I don't want to help out with that project in any small way.
But Megan Phelps-Roper, Phelps's granddaughter, is another story.
When I saw the headline in the New York Times—“The Hidden Prosperity of the Poor”— I thought of something very different than what Tom Edsall’s commentary is actually about.
Edsall highlights an insidious and specious argument about income inequality made on the right. In essence, the cost of basic human needs has gone down in relation to income, while consumer goods have become cheaper and cheaper.
I found myself
staring at the wall. I'd done two- and three-day retreats, but this was four
days alone in a cottage, and the stretch of time was unnerving. I had to go
outside to get cell phone reception and (horrors!) walk a quarter of a mile if
I wanted to get online. At first the disconnection was deafening.
Every pastor needs to
address the issue of freedom and accountability. It's part of the pastor's role
in nurturing a church community: neither a laissez-faire atmosphere nor a
judicial one helps people grow as disciples.
As pastors, we spend a great deal of time sharing in the
ongoing lives and adventures of our congregants and community members. We are
also called, literally, to come to love and suffer with them when
disappointments, disasters or deaths occur.