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58 Responses

  1. Michael says:

    Thanks again to Eric L. for helping us out this week.

  2. Em says:

    read Sarah’s latest – good, good, good – especially for the ladies who drop by here IMHO

  3. Em says:

    “utter garbage” … ? …

    “There’s a lot to learn there [ Mark 3:31-35 ] as a follower of Jesus. Is our family important? You bet. Should we love our family more deeply than any other set of human relationships? You bet. However, Jesus Himself said: “Seek first the Kingdom of God…”

    what’s wrong with this??

  4. Michael says:

    What’s wrong with it is I have full file folders about guys who put ministry before family and destroyed both.
    A man’s first ministry is to his family…if he wants to put ministry first, he should stay single.

  5. “Seeing Red Letters: Can a Jesus-Centered Interpretation of the Bible Be So Easily Dismissed?”

    …the other article, not.

  6. “A man’s first ministry is to his family…if he wants to put ministry first, he should stay single.”

    Damn straight. There are too many families which have been destroyed or irreparably damaged due to some guy essentially abandoning them “in Christ’s Name”.

  7. I avoid prayer meetings because of the over-use of the word “just”.

  8. Michael says:

    “There are too many families which have been destroyed or irreparably damaged due to some guy essentially abandoning them “in Christ’s Name”.


  9. Em says:

    family first v seeking the Kingdom… ?… hmmm
    is “seeking the Kingdom” the same as “ministry?” … sounds like another case of twisting Scripture to justify one’s behavior … dunno, but … pondering

  10. Em says:

    “Faithbox” … reminds me of what J.V.McGee said this a.m. – loosely quoted, if you drive by the house of a minister of the gospel and it’s a big expensive house with big expensive cars in the driveway, the man is not a minister, he’s a racketeer … ouch! even in his day, there were quite a few prosperous preachers…

  11. Em says:

    no Adam no gospel … hmmm … i get it, but, even tho it muddies the waters of theology, no one will find Christ in today’s science-worshipping society under those terms … yes i do believe there was a First Couple (and Adam had no navel, thus no mother)

    i’m avoiding work here… Phoenix Preacher is a bad influence on the weak minded and the elderly

  12. Paige says:

    Well, of course, the ‘utter garbage’ article stirred my ire. Amen, (|o )====::: (whew, that was hard)….. Indeed. My family is one of them.
    Even this last weekend, two of my four adult offspring mentioned the damage of “dad leaving the family for the church”…. and this is 15 years after the end of the 30 year marriage, most of it, sacrificed for ‘the ministry”….. My 3 sons have rejected the Faith, only my daughter is still a disciple of Jesus, but does not attend ‘church’.

    I must be getting jaded and way more cynical that I imagined. I read most of the links and totally felt like “Whatever, stop making God so small that you think you can understand Him/Her/Whatever”…. Theological navel gazing and hair splitting. There are better ways to seek God….

    Church isn’t God and God isn’t church. IMO, we need to stop trying to stuff an ‘elephant’ into a ‘sock’..

    Ministry is wiping noses, planting seeds in the garden, taking out the trash, walking in the rain, making someone a cup of coffee or studying the incredible wonders of Creation; the breath taking realities of the VASTNESS of the All Mighty.

    Love Sarah’s post…. of course…. the mundane realities of daily family life are so deep, so rich and such a source of inspiration to pray, to worship, to give thanks.

  13. Paige says:
    This is the sort of stuff that inspires worship in me. Breath taking, spit less wonder at the Amazing King of Kings, Lord of Lord, Creator of heaven and earth and all they contain.

  14. Em says:

    well, i’m in total agreement that the ministry can be used like any other excuse to escape or to foster one’s sense of importance … etc. … very telling about the character

    that said, seeking first the Kingdom just doesn’t apply to the above and, if so applied, is a lying distortion of what our Lord meant…

  15. Em says:

    Paige, the sand – wow! thanks for that

  16. Papias says:

    Had to leave a comment on the garbage post.

  17. Anne says:

    Yes, the “garbage” link got my ire up too. His proof text is especially irksome as there is a huge difference between putting ministry higher in priority than one’s mother or brothers and a wife & family, especially when focusing on an immediate task at hand like providing some mighty fine wine for a celebration in progress 🙂 . If one cannot love and nuture one’s family well , one will not love or nuture anyone else well. May that young pastor learn that lesson before too much damage is wrought on his own family and those he claims to serve.

  18. Lutheran says:

    The “garbage” post —

    That’s really one of the most misguided things I’ve read in a very long time.

    Lots and lots and lots of dead and wounded family members on that.human highway. I’ve seen the destruction myself — not in my family but in others who went down this path.

    I think part of it at least stems from the two-tiered, late-Catholic medieval view that there are 2 types of saints — the regulars who really aren’t that important — and then those who are oh, so committed to the Church/Christ/whatever — nuns, priests, those in “fulltime Christian ministry…”

    What’s also sad is that the families of those the writer is talking about will enjoy a diminished give-and-take of daily family life.

  19. The garbage article is actually bad advise. But the conclusion is not the problem – the premise is. The great evangelical error of thinking that we can use Jesus as our example. No larger theological error than asking WWJD.

    This guy asked in a round about way and came to just the opposite conclusion.

  20. Xenia says:

    In Ortholandia, our priests may marry but they must get married before they are ordained. The future Matushka (priest’s wife) knows exactly what she is getting herself into and she is interviewed before the ordination to make sure she knows what is expected of her. Our priest’s ecclesiastical functions have to come before family obligations. He has to visit the sick and comfort the afflicted, no matter whose birthday party or class play he is missing. That is what he and his wife signed up for. Usually, they work as a team, with the Matushka directing the choir and other duties. It is exhausting for the whole family at times, especially during (what you would call) Christmas and Easter.

    On the other hand, the parish church is not the priest’s private Popsicle stand. He has many weekly and special liturgies to celebrate but he doesn’t have to participate in a lot of busy work that consumes the time of most of the Protestant pastors I have known. There’s not a lot of meetings to attend, etc.

    Our priest is the ultimate family man (huge family!) but he never misses an obligation.

  21. HiHo – is that a Lutheran sighting? Like a man resurrected from the dead. Go you see you 🙂

  22. Xenia says:

    Another aspect of an Orthodox priest’s family life is that 95 percent of everything he does involves his family, too. His family comes with him to almost every service. There’s not a lot of leaving the fam alone at home every night while he attends meetings, etc.

  23. I am a little confused about the family vs ministry thing. Now for the past 20yrs my wife and I have worked together and we are 24/7/365.

    However for the nearly 30 yrs before that and even when the kids were small I was gone “away from the family” 10 – 12 hrs a days 5 days a week – and for probably an 8 yr period of time I was on the road 2 weeks each month.

    I never felt I was neglecting my family and actually feel as I was putting them first by sacrificing myself – I don’t think they grew up holding a grudge. So if a pastor has meetings to go to, what’s the big deal – he is doing his job

  24. Papias says:


    I read that a pastor should put his ministry before his family, which is bass ackward.

    If a pastor doesn’t see his family as being ahead of his ministry in priority, then I think he has his priorities messed up. Its not a job thing – its “Where do you place your priorities?”

    No one is saying that a pastor should “shine on” his duties, just place his own family ahead of being all things to all people. Let an elder or deacon from the Body take that call, that visit, that work.

    The pastor leads by example, and the people have to follow. And the example of how the pastor spends time with his family is too often set aside for “the ministry”


  25. Em says:

    well 🙂 if a man is married and feels a call to the ministry and his wife doesn’t, i’d say he didn’t have a “call”
    if a man is single and in the ministry and he finds a wife candidate who wants no part of his “call,” then he’s got a choice to make: leave one or the other
    BUT if a man is married and in the ministry and his wife LATER on down the line begins to resent his ministry’s demands, what is his obligation then? she may have a case …

    i don’t think it’s a family first, no matter what, black and white issue… however, i concede that there’s a good chance the man made priority #1 his vocation and his ego – as opposed to God’s call … don’t most men who leave wife and family in order to serve God have another honey waiting? … not all, but most?

  26. Steve says:


    Re: your #19. Just when I get close to thinking Lutheranism makes sense to me with its focus on Christ and his saving work, then you’ll say something that makes me wonder. I get it that Christ is our Saviour, the one who justifies us. But isn’t it out of that justification that our sanctification flows.

    Thus Christ isn’t primarily our example. But he is our example in sanctification, is he not?

  27. Paige says:

    MLD, weddings, funerals, sick bed visitations, endlessly needy people pile up 24/7. There is no schedule. There is no time off. Skipping a service isn’t an option. You never get to even go to a service with your family. I literally never sat with my ex husband in a church service for 24 years. We took separate vehicles. I had the kids… He was going ‘to work’ We all did janitorial. We all did projects “on the grounds”. So called ‘family time” ALWAYS evolved into Church Something.
    When seeing into a church member at the store, they think it’s a divine appointment. No matter what you do or do not do, the wrath of the members is well knows. Kids get the fishbowl treatment and pastors receive “did you know that you son was at xyz event, smoking a cigarette? Don’t you know he represents The Church?”. Notes found in the collection bag offer criticism about the pastor’s or his wife or childrens clothing, hair style, language.
    The family takes a back seat when there is ‘a need’ in a church member. And there was always a need that required the pastor’s attention and presence.. and the family lets him go, feeling like he’s doing ‘God’s work” that is more important that helping with homework…. It is not a normal or healthy way of life. Ministry trumped family, every time.

  28. victorious says:

    What’s the issue with the “content” of the garbage article other than the “title” being controversial.?
    Michael uses controversial titles as an author to get attention and hopefully traction on the content of his writings.

    Now I throughly understand the painful memories and the still present devastating consequences of those who have suffered where ministry was an idol ( probably because the man was an idol unto himself ) and the family was neglected and or abused.

    The author was very clear that spousal and family needs are not to be neglected but are to addressed with care. The issue was one of who we obey. If we obey Christ we will serve the needs of our family; even with sacrificial commitment and personal cost and fulfill whatever ministry we are appointed to.

  29. Em says:

    “Let an elder or deacon from the Body take that call, that visit, that work.” amen, one wonders why the church members would not be so employed… what is the purpose of the Body, anyway?

  30. Paps – I agreed that the message was bad – go see my #19 – but not because who comes first but the premise of using Jesus as the example.

    Now, I do think that the family and the job (for most of us) and ministry (if you want to make a difference from job – but I think they are the same) is very interchangeable and interconnected. Working hard and long in many cases is putting your family first.

    You said “And the example of how the pastor spends time with his family is too often set aside for “the ministry” – is this any different than the workaholic dad who is distant with his family?

  31. Paige says:

    MLD…. the difference between the pressures of the pastorate vs the workaholic dad is that the dimension of GOD’s WORK is involved, and people want to please God. That’s how it seemed and felt –at the time.

  32. Steve,
    Your understanding is correct – that our sanctification comes out of and is daily connected to our justification (they are not 2 separate things as others teach.)

    But how do we use Jesus as an example, especially when we ask “WWJD”? What would Jesus do if he sinned like me? that is not a proper question Jesus didn’t sin. Does Jesus want me to get crucified like he did – no, he wants me to go out into the world making disciples by baptizing and teaching.

    Jesus is not our example – as I have said many times he is not our life coach — he is our savior.

  33. Paige – in your #27 – that is the way you and your husband chose to do ministry. My pastor does not feel compelled to preach every service. He preaches at most 2 out of 3 and sometimes tag teams off and doesn’t preach all 3 Sunday morning services. We give the pastors 1 Sunday a month off, mostly so they can sit with their families in the pews.

    We have secured retired pastors to do a good amount of the visitation etc. A Lutheran pastor by nature does not need to be in control of everything.

  34. Steve says:

    So the issue is specifics vs generalities, then? I assume you would agree that we should, for example, be servants like Jesus (Philippians 2:5-8 actually TELLS us to use Christ as our example), but not with regards to specifics in terms of how he talked to his mother, etc.

    Thanks for taking my question as an honest one and not being sarcastic, btw. I just find that with some Lutheran people I know and pastors I listen to they seem to downplay anything that has to do with sanctification. “Oh, you’re wanting to support an organization for helping the poor, the environment, etc? Oh, that’s the social gospel.” No, to me that’s my sanctification.

  35. Michael says:

    What Paige is describing is the evangelical norm.

  36. Paige – to your #31 – Lutherans follow a doctrine of vocation – my job is just as much “God’s Work” as my pastor’s. I want to please God just as much as he does.

    Now I do know from my CC days that a CC pastor is not going to relinquish the pulpit to an associate for anything and in most cases is leery of having an equal on staff.

    But I know that I said several years ago, that the if some type od psychological test were given to Lutheran pastors to be and independent church pastors to be that the independents would be a much more driven group with strong independent personalities.

  37. Papias says:

    You said “And the example of how the pastor spends time with his family is too often set aside for “the ministry” – is this any different than the workaholic dad who is distant with his family?

    The difference is that the workaholic dad has no one to blame but himself for working like that. I can stay at work as long as I want.

    The pastor who does that does that under the guise of doing it for the ministry – for others, while telling his family that he’s called.

    Few people grow up resenting the fact that Dad has to go to work – except my son tells me every morning “I don’t want you to go to work”. I tell him “I know, but I have to so we can have money….”

    For PKs, if their dad isn’t there for them they can grow up resenting the people in church, or ministry, or the Lord…..

  38. Steve, we do not play down sanctification, we try to put it in it’s proper place. Evangelicals for the most part would never discuss justification after a person is saved. To them, a message about Jesus’ saving grace is not for the converted – they need to be taught how to improve their sanctification. They hold justification sermons as ‘evangelistic’ events.

    As to good works, except for perhaps the Catholic Church, you will not find better defined “social works” programs than there are with Lutheran churches – health and human care – group homes for the mentally disadvantaged through Bethesda Homes (my church is responsible for the spiritual care of 9 homes and we have 50 – 75 folks on campus, hearing God’s word, being communed etc.)

    I think you have us mixed up with other groups.

  39. Paps, I know several CC pastors (and i am sure there are other brands out there that do the same) who work from home most of the time because their main focus is the study for the Sunday morning message. So they are not away from the family.

    I think a pastor who goes overboard is as much a workaholic as the stock broker who does the same.

    But again there is a great interconnectedness between work and the family

  40. Lutheran says:

    Hi, Steve — your #34.

    What you’ve experienced is most common in conservative Lutheranism. Not in the larger, mainline ELCA — which is where our two sons were baptized, FWIW. Mainstream Lutherans tend to take a (sometimes much) larger role in their communities, so justification/sanctification really isn’t an issue that comes up much. At least that’s been my experience.

  41. Anne says:

    MLD – having been married in the same christian culture and era as Paige, I assure you, it was not the way SHE and he choose. Marriage in that particular realm was “trust and obey, for there is no other way” be happy in marriage. If hubby said “the lord told me we’re gonna do this or that” it was high sin to question it at all. In fact, in the earliest days of that movement, the head honcho told his protoges that questioning, murmuring or disobedience by wives made physical punishment excusable.

  42. Anne says:

    In the early years, Higgins made today’s Driscoll seem G rated like a namby pamby girly man 😉

  43. Anne, my point to Paige was that it was a choice made, whether her and her husband together or just by him – but it definitely was not by any biblical dictate. In other words, it did not have to be done that way.

    What I have found in my CC experience is that the senior pastor is too insecure to give up his pulpit for fear that the congregation may realize that his preaching is not that special or that good and the one filling in is just as competent or better.

    But as I said, it didn’t have to be done in a dysfunctional way as described.

  44. Paige says:

    Thank you Anne and Michael for the validation.

    Truly, that lifestyle was not a choice, one way or another, and I know we were far from being the only ones in that situation.
    The pressure came from all sides, including the ‘board’ of the church, individual members, denominational headquarters, etc etc.

    In recent weeks, I have found myself thanking God again and again for delivering me from fundamental evangelism. Heresy, I know. Hahahahah Glory Hallelujah, free at last.

  45. “In fact, in the earliest days of that movement, the head honcho told his protoges that questioning, murmuring or disobedience by wives made physical punishment excusable.”

    And what idiots did not take that as 200 proof cultic talk?

  46. Anne says:

    MLD – those “idiots” were a bunch of young, hippy, certainly naive, new believers who were zealous to follow God and trusted the wrong people to show them the Way.

  47. EricL says:

    Michael @1, you’re welcome. My little bit of work is nothing compared to all that you do here day-after-day. PP is a great site that I love visiting every day.

    Now, I need to go through some of those other links you put up. Looks like some interesting stuff.

  48. Em says:

    to change the subject (there’s lots of good links up there)
    is Christianity dying…
    “Christianity isn’t normal anymore, and that’s good news. The Book of Acts, like the Gospels before it, shows us that the Christianity thrives when it is, as Kierkegaard put it, a sign of contradiction. Only a strange gospel can differentiate itself from the worlds we construct. But the strange, freakish, foolish old gospel is what God uses to save people and to resurrect churches (1 Cor. 1:20-22).”
    there was a funny turn of phrase in this article, but i’m too cowardly to quote it… at least it struck me funny

  49. Linnea says:

    From Sarah’s Mother’s Day blog post…”Sometimes we have to weep for the brokenness even while surrounded by blessings.” Amen…it feels somewhat schizophrenic to do that, but it’s the healthy thing to do. While we weep for brokenness, we can be thankful for all that God gives us. Thanks, Sarah and Michael!

  50. Linnea says:

    Loved the TED talk…thanks, Paige, for the wonderment 🙂

  51. brian says:

    Nice list thanks for the effort.

  52. surfer51 says:

    “An article I post because it is utter garbage…”

    King James Bible
    But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
    First Timothy Five Eight

    When Lonnie Frisbee was originally helping Chuck Smith built CCCM he was constantly putting the ministry before his wife. This was for the “greater good” in Chuck Smith’s mindset,so he allowed it.

    It wasn’t until Lonnie came under the ministry of Bob Mumford that he came to understand his error. Bob had Lonnie cease all ministry and be with his wife.

    Many a young man in ministry makes the same error in thinking that his wife is holding him back from ministry like an anchor.

    The pinnacle of life here on earth starts out with a man, Adam.

    Nothing completes him in all of creation until he gets his helpmate.
    Genesis Two Eighteen

    Proverbs 18:22
    He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.

    Why would any man of God not want favor from the Lord?

    This guy who wrote the article is clueless! His boat will sink…as has man a man’s boat.

    Trust me, I know.

  53. surfer51 says:

    Connie Bremer-Murray (Frisbee):

    “As a woman, you worry about bread.

    You worry about meals.

    I’d see all these people eating when Calvary’s coffers were full.

    And we were poor. [Calvary founder] Chuck Smith never paid Lonnie.

    One day, Lonnie came home and said, “You’ll never believe it: they hired somebody full-time to help pastor Chuck.”

    That blew him away.

    Chuck and Kay Smith never came by to ask if I needed food.

    I went to the same grocery store she did; it’s just that she went through the front door, and I went to the dumpster in the back so that I could feed people.

    There was a disparity between what people believed to be happening and what was happening.

    I think Lonnie paid a huge price for that disparity.

    But it’s not like what happened to Jesus on the cross.

    It’s like we used to say: we haven’t bled yet.”

    “It’s not like I stayed the true course. Lonnie never left me; I walked away.”


    Connie and Lonnie:

  54. surfer51 says:

    “…as has man a man’s boat.”

    …as has many a man’s boat

  55. Muff Potter says:

    On the Church and women at risk:

    There isn’t anything the devil hates worse than women and Jews. Woman, because it was her ovum the Almighty chose to bring Himself into this world as a full and human participant, and the Jews because they were the vehicle and logistic entity by which this was accomplished.

  56. Alex says:

    Calvary Chapel Pastor arrested for MURDERING his mistress who bore him a child.

    Stay classy Calvary Chapel! Murderers, Child Molesters, Child Abusers, Thieves, Gluttons, Liars, Greedy arrogant a-holes.

    But the gay outsiders wanting to get married…now THAT is what their “god” will judge ‘Merica for.

    If God is real…he’ll judge America for the lying abusive and corrupt pastorate and leadership of churches like Calvary Chapel.

  57. Based on your account of CC pastors being “Murderers, Child Molesters, Child Abusers, Thieves, Gluttons, Liars, Greedy arrogant a-holes.” – I am surprised that you are spending your time trying to run Muslims out of your state – why not start by running the CC pastors out of Idaho?

  58. Alex says:

    I went to the biggest Calvary Chapel Pastor in Idaho…Bob Caldwell. I went to his face and was professional, but didn’t pull any punches.

    To Caldwell’s credit, he withstood the skepticism and scrutiny and several hours long dialogues very well…and he was actually very transparent and didn’t try to play me like I was a sucker. He was actually pretty blunt, no-nonsense…and he actually answered the questions and his stuff checked out.

    I have dealt with another problem that arose here and I called that Calvary Chapel Pastor. He gave an answer. In looking into him, he turned out to be OK, but he did need to make some changes at his franchise and I think he learned a lesson.

    Calvary Chapel is Pee-wee football…Islam is the New England Patriots.

    Calvary Chapel won’t cut your head off or kill you for disagreeing with them or for drawing a cartoon of Chuck Smith…they’ll only kill you if you are a mistress who has your baby…

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