Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Honey, is that you?

Apparently a Pastor's wife paid a body double $10,000 over two years to impersonate her by sitting in the front pew, greeting folks, hugging her clergy husband and getting away with it. "It was worth it," she said. Read it all here....

On a more serious note...

I have known not a few wives of Pastors (and their children) who have wished at one time or another to belong to another congregation so I am not entirely unsympathetic to the desire behind the story (or joke, it is it not factual).  Some congregations present job, responsibility, and role to the wife of the Pastor (yet without paycheck) and it is not hard to understand some of the resentment.  On one questionnaire I was asked about the role of my wife and I told the prospective congregation that my wife's role was that of loving wife to me and loving mother to my children and that she had a gift and vocation as a nurse.  I did not get the call.

Wives and children of the Pastor are often the only ones in the parish without a Pastor -- for who can honestly be husband and Pastor to your wife or father and Pastor to your children.  I have chosen to be husband and father and that means that there have been some tough times when we as a family have been alone, without the aid of pastoral care or comfort in time of need.  In a perfect world it would not be so but we do not live in a perfect world.  DPs are often too busy running around putting out fires to be bishops to their clergy and their families.  Even then, there are honest concerns about what it might mean to a Pastor's future if weakness, sin, or need within him or his family were communicated to the one in charge of putting names on a call list.  I had a wonderful bishop in the first decade of my pastoral ministry and have searched since for the same kind of honest love, wise guidance, and pastoral concern for me and my family.  Brother clergy and circuit counselors are often under the same pressure of time and distance to be there for the Pastor and his family in the way the Pastor is for the other families of his parish.

Pastor's families are under great stress just as Pastors and parishes are but they are often far enough down in the chain that they do not get the attention and pastoral care that they deserve.  I do not see the situation improving as the stresses of our busy and frustrating lives are expressed in the relationships we live out as the people of God in one place, attached to one altar.  We certainly do not live in an age of Herr Pastor when the man and his family lived their lives on a pedestal, expected to manifest a version of holiness, perfection, and success far above the folks in the congregation.  The other side is just as difficult as Pastors become service men whose job is to make folks feel welcome, attend to their needs, and make sure they are happy.  The contours of such a pastoral role are at least as fraught with difficulty as the Herr Pastor model of old.

Bottom line -- pray for your Pastor.  Pray for his wife.  Pray for his children.  Pray before you criticize.  Pray before you advise.  Pray before you presume to know what is going on within his family.  Lifted up in prayer by his people, the Pastor and his family will benefit (and therefore the congregation) from the grace of God that fills in all the gaps we find here on earth and sustains the weary and stressed in their baptismal vocation within the job, home, community, and congregation.


Carl Vehse said...

Previous Lark News "stories" about Lutherans:

Living nativity falls apart when homeless actors throw party
GRAND RAPIDS — The regulars at Jade Avenue Lutheran church’s “living nativity” scene, tired of standing endless hours in the cold while drivers crept by, hired local vagrants to take their place this year. But the men began carousing and asking for handouts, throwing the event into chaos.

Hispanic congregation outgrows white congregation, muscles into Sunday morning slot
LANSING — Templo Calvario, a Hispanic church which meets at First Lutheran Church, has outgrown its white host church and seized control of service times. “We’re bigger, we’re more excited and we’re taking Sunday mornings,” said Fernando Gonzalez, the newly emboldened Hispanic pastor. “They can have 3 p.m. and see how they like it." The Templo crew also claimed the main church office, forcing First Lutheran’s staff into broom closets and back rooms which formerly housed Templo’s offices.

Anonymous said...

This is a good laugh. But in case anyone really gets taken in . . . there is no Grand Forks, MI per Google Maps . . .