Aw, Heck, no!

The best thing you can do if you want to see what someone can accomplish, is to make them angry.  The joke is, if you ever hear a country girl say, “Aw, he!!, no!”, you’re in big trouble.  Well, someone pulled out the stop for me.  Actually, its been brewing for a while, it’s just this someone put it in words, and well, this rant is for them.

In the LCMS, CRM status is a black mark on a pastor’s career.  Kiss that career goodbye, because if you congregation decides that they can’t afford you, you’re not a good fit for them, if you decided to be Confessional instead of church-growth, or if they decide to harass you and your family until they leave, and you are forced out, it’s all your fault, your not a good pastor, and your done.  That’s how it’s seen with many, too many, pastors who are good and faithful servants of God’s Word.

My husband was forced out of a call.  He was on CRM.  Now he’s part time.  Did he make mistakes?  Sure, everyone does.  Everyone is a sinner.  Everyone has a point where they don’t handle a situation well.  Everyone has a place where they are vulnerable to make a mess.  But should that be a career ender?  Let’s put this into perspective.  A person who is struggling in a job can actively look for another job.  They can put their resume out there.  They can interview and hope to get a better match for them in the same career in the secular world.  Especially in a world where company loyalty is at an all time low and people are always out looking for the better fit instead of working through the issue presented, the reason for looking for a new job might be the location, the co-workers, the boss, the work assigned, the clients or customers doing business with the company, and the like.  Who, in the secular world, could cast the first stone and state that they have never gotten so frustrated with their job that they have actively hunted for or gotten a new job when they felt they couldn’t take anymore?  Now, what is it that a pastor can do?  Give their file to a DP, who the pastor hopes will give the information to the calling congregations in each district, and pray for a new location.  This process can take months or even years at times.  That doesn’t work if a congregation is running out of money and telling the pastor to seek employment elsewhere.  That doesn’t work for the pastor who has a minority of his congregation threatening to make life unbearable until he finds a new call.  That doesn’t help the pastor who is all but fired from his call for not scratching itching ears.  So what is a pastor to do?  For his health, for his family, for his own congregation sometimes, he will resign.

So then what?  Because he did the best he could with the sinful situation at hand we will judge him, play Monday morning quarterback, and bar him from serving any congregation ever because he did what he thought best?  We aren’t talking about gross outward sins such as adultery, slothfulness, or other Biblical reasons for a pastor to be removed from his call.  We are talking about sinful situations where the pastor did what was best in a lessor of two evils choice.  We shouldn’t be telling them that their careers are over, lives are shattered.  We should do what we can to both heal and uplift these pastors and put them back out to serve Christ Jesus and the Church He has entrusted his under-shepherds with bringing Word and Sacrament.  It’s time to realize that mercy, forgiveness, and understanding should abound where judgement and condemnation once stood.  Most (I will not say all) on CRM don’t deserve to be there permanently.  They deserve a “second chance” as it were to get back into the system of the clergy roster of the LCMS.

On a side note, help them while they are still in “limbo”.  Buy a t-shirt.  Raise awareness.  Call your DP and admonish him to seek out the CRM pastors in his district and find them calls.  See if you can find out the CRM pastors in your district and call them up and ask them how you can help.


Ordain Women Now?

Wanted:  Servant.  Must be able to attend to needs at all hours of the day or night.  Requirements:  The right candidate must be very knowledgeable about Me and My Household.  Diligent study is required.  Patience is required as well as many in the Household will question, quiz, harass, and even abuse the candidate about the knowledge possessed.  Candidate must persevere to correct them in truth and love no matter the attack as I, the Master, would do for the members of My Household.  The right candidate must live according to how I say.  There is no room for interpretation.  The proper candidate will be the role model for My Household and should not be a liar, swindler, cheat, thief, or con artist.   Candidate will be under higher scrutiny from members of My Household and will also be expected to be chaste or faithful to the spouse I give them.  They shall not lust after nor have immoral relations with any other members of My Household.  The right candidate will be proficient in the care-taking of all ages within My Household, whether they are infant or a century old and will dutifully carry out the tasks I assign to take care of them including member’s of candidate’s own household.  Salary: Varies, however, assurances are given that candidate will receive all that is needed to support this body and life.

Tough “help wanted” ad to answer, don’t you think?  I’ll tell you straight up, I don’t think I could do it.  It’s hard enough to be judged on the subjective, I couldn’t stand being a teacher for the same reason.  It’s even tougher when you go in knowing that you can get tossed around, and you probably will, and you do it anyway.  Oddly enough, however, there are many that don’t want to make this job about servanthood, but about power.  Instead of seeing this job as a lower position that serves others, it is seen as a power position that exerts power over others.  Which job is it?  The “ad” is for the Office of the Holy Ministry.  Most of us just call him “Pastor”.  Too many people see the office of Pastor as the “boss” of the congregation, exerting his will to see what is going to happen in the congregation and telling people about how things are going to be.  Women even argue that they are just as good at doing many of these tasks as men are, and therefore just as qualified to lead others as a Pastor as a man would be.  Better, in fact, because they are able to multitask better and are more relational than men.  If this was just about qualifications, they might have a point to their demands.  But the issue of women’s ordination goes far deeper than qualifications.

If women came at it from a purely “qualifications” perspective, I might not worry so much about the movement itself.  However, many women see the Scriptures speaking of women as the cartoon on the side.  They believe that the Scriptures have actually been used to abuse them, mistreat them, and scorn them.  Putting them down so that men can be built up and held up to the highest office, the one closest to God, the Pastor, the role of the servant.  I cannot help but see the irony in the argument that the women who have complained so deeply that they are treated as servants and slaves in the home, second-rate to their husbands, brothers, or fathers simply because they are female, are fighting so hard to get into a vocation of servanthood.  That irony aside, one must ask themselves honestly about the theology taught by someone who would believe that the Bible has been used, or misused, to demean, demoralize, and even abuse women.  I find it hard to see this image that has been portrayed all because the ordination of women has been denied.  In none of the references in the picture to the right does it state, “I do not permit a woman to teach, and if she does, beat her until she stops.”  The very idea is ludicrous even to those who state that the church bodies who do not allow women’s ordination are abusing women.  So, then the question is, is the act of saying no abusive?  If a child wants cookies for dinner and her parents say no and give her hearty baked chicken, steamed veggies, and homemade bread abusing her for giving her the very things that are good for her?  I should say not!

So why not ordain?  After all, the women who want to be ordained are not saying that they should have cookies, they just want the right to serve the dinner, right?  Here’s the catch.  Think back to the “ad”.  It is just as possible that in serving the dinner, the servant will be beaten because it wasn’t cookies.  Or perhaps the servant will have the food thrown at them and get burned.  Maybe the servant will be screamed at, profanities and everything.  Perhaps the servant will have to endure mental abuse, hearing that the food will not be consumed and the servant will be responsible for starving those at the table to death if the servant doesn’t give them what they want.  Again, thinking back to the ad, this is a tough job.  Someone’s got to do it.  Who’s going to do it?

It’s not that the women can’t.  The women could handle this the same as the men.  But God isn’t going to allow it.  Not because women can’t, but because He has chosen to protect them from it.  Why don’t all of us die as martyrs?  Why don’t all of us become missionaries?  Why don’t all of us become doctors and cure malaria abroad?  It’s not given to all of us to do that.  Only some of us are chosen to do those things.  Only some of us are chosen to become Pastors.  Those chosen are men by God’s own design, not because He wants to bring us down to a lower estate, but to honor us.  We are like Peter, not wanting Him to wash our feet, thinking that we should be the servants.  Christ reminds us that He came to be the Ultimate Servant, to die on the Cross.  To remind us of this, He has left many things.  Some of them He directly comes to us- through the washing of Holy Baptism He makes us His own.  His own Body and Blood are present in the bread and wine at the Holy Supper.  But there are other pictures.  Marriage is God’s picture of His union with His Bride, the Church.  The pastor stands in Christ own stead, male as Christ is male, breathing the Words of forgiveness as if Christ Himself had said them.  The pastor also takes the beating from the world, as Christ did.  The same attacks, the same heresies, the same distresses plague the pastor as they did Christ because there truly is nothing new under the sun.  And God loves me, a princess in His kingdom, enough to keep me away from all of it.  Oh, I indirectly get into enough being “the pastor’s wife” and “the pastor’s daughter”, but God protects me from the full onslaught as a honor given to me that I do not deserve.  Instead of fighting Him on it, maybe it’s time to be gracious and just accept it.

Hit and Run

Yesterday someone was having a bad day.  Who knows what started it.  It was a someone in a green car or truck.  They were mad, distracted, upset, or maybe they just thought that they were more important than anyone else.  I really don’t know.  Whoever they were, they decided to share their unfortunate day with my husband and I.  My husband was at a winkle, a meeting for local LCMS pastors to gather and talk about what is going on in their churches, and someone slammed into my husband’s car, denting the passenger side enough to tear through the metal.  No note.  No attempt to take responsibility.  They left and left us with their mess to clean up.  Yesterday was spent filing police reports, filing a claim with the insurance company, getting the appraisal from the repair shop, and looking at the money that it is going to take to clean up someone’s mess that they couldn’t take responsibility for themselves.  Car accidents are scary, I realize that.  However, if you aren’t mature enough to handle one, you aren’t mature enough to drive.  No one wants to hear that, though.  Everyone wants to hear that they “deserve” this or that, even if they can’t afford it or have the ability to take care of it.

Frankly, I am tired of that type of attitude as well.  If you truly “deserve” something, you’ll earn it.  It won’t be handed to you, it won’t be given by someone else footing the bill, it will be earned by blood, sweat and tears.  It’s one of the things that upsets me when people vote in a government that promises them the world.  The government promises them everything that they “deserve” as an American citizen.  Being born in the USA doesn’t mean you “deserve” a handout, it means that you live in a land where you should be given the freedom to live without interference from the government.  Frankly, I don’t want someone telling me that they will take care of me.  I have family for that, my church for that, and friends to lean on for support.  That’s what worked for this great country when it was formed and when my ancestors came over to this land of opportunity.  I tire of having my hard earned money go to other people’s pockets because they “deserve” it for whatever reason.  Instead of allowing private charities and churches to work with these people to help them get back on their feet and into steady employment, we have the government take from those who work honestly to give to those who cannot or will not work towards a better life instead relying on their next handout.  That doesn’t teach people to be independent, but dependent on a government that becomes too invasive into the private citizen’s life, dictating what can and cannot be done in both the private and public sector of business that will eventually bleed into the dictation of what the private citizen individually can and cannot do all the while charging that citizen for those services that they may or may not agree.

How do I get that frustration from a hit and run?  Simple.  It’s the attitude- “I” am more important that anyone else, and “I” deserve whatever I have set my sights on with little to no sacrifice or responsibility from me because “I” cannot be bothered or made to do the work, “I have more important things to do.  Another way to put it, the god of “I” is what everyone else is forced to worship, no matter what they have to sacrifice, and this is the attitude that causes a hit and run to be justified in the person driving the green car’s eyes.