In 1995, as I was beginning a sabbatical to study older women married to clergy, a longtime seminary professor gave me a book from his library and told me about a class called "Mistress of the Manse" that had been offered for many years to seminarians' wives.
I cringed when I read Jeffrey MacDonald's accusation, quoted
here by Steve Thorngate, that Americans have turned Lent into a spiritual
self-help event "whose effectiveness is measured by how well it entertains us
and affirms what we already believe."
LifeWay Research found that 53 percent of 1,000 Protestant pastors polled agreed that sometimes their congregations seem to love America more than God: 59 percent of pastors in the South, as compared to 51 percent in the Midwest and 42 percent in the West (LifeWay Research, June 30).