Thinking Out Loud

January 22, 2016

The Pastor’s Wife as “The First Lady”

First Lady ParkingIt’s spreading like a virus. Calling the wife of the senior pastor “The First Lady.” I think it may have had its beginnings in the African-American church, but it is no longer limited to those congregations. Where did this nonsense come from? Well, I looked it up and there it was:

II Amendations 4:3 The wife of the pastor shall be given a place of honor, for she is more special than the other women of the church. 4 She shall be called The First Lady, and everyone shall bless her. 5 She shall be seated on the front row of the assembly, unless that church has a balcony, in which case she shall sit on the front row there if it is her preference. 6 And if it is the case that she drives to church separately, she shall be given a reserved parking spot, it will be next to her husband’s, and this place shall be indicated by a sign which states, ‘Reserved for The First Lady.’ 7 And the pastor shall make reference to her during his sermon, and if it does not suit the text, he shall refer to her during the announcements.8 And if that service is televised, the cameras shall cut away to a shot of her smiling and shall linger there if she is especially telegenic.

9 Upon her arrival at the house of worship, the women of the church shall take care of her children so that she need not be concerned for them, for they are pastor’s kids and not particularly well-behaved. 10 She shall be exempted from the requirements of the other women, she shall not be asked to bake cookies, serve in the kitchen or the nursery, or make sandwiches for funerals. 11 She shall be permitted to be clothed lavishly, as she is an example to the other women of the church; with fine fabrics and gold jewelry shall she be dressed. 12 The congregation shall shower her with Ministry Appreciation cards on a regular basis as well as small gifts,  13 for she continually must attend to the needs of her husband whose schedule is hectic and whose life is filled with stress. 14 And she shall preach on Mother’s Day; for this expectation she is not to be exempted, even if speaking is not her particular gift.

May 6, 2014

Mom’s Night Out: A Faith-Friendly Comedy

Filed under: media — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:11 am

If you’re like most North American Christians, your media obligations have shifted from the Christian bookstore to the local cinema, and this Friday your family gets another opportunity to visit what has become for many, the sanctuary of choice in 2014.

Moms’ Night Out opens May 9th and contains a broad enough script that there’s something here for women, men and children. Alex Kendrick is in this movie, and one of the problems that female film-goers had with other movies connected to him such as Courageous, Fireproof, Flywheel, and Facing the Giants is that the scripts were far too male; there were firemen, car dealers, football players and policemen, but not so much for feminine tastes. (Count the words beginning with the letter f in that sentence!) October Baby filled the void more recently, but it was a rather subdued, cerebral script that offered little for a male audience.

In Moms’ Night Out that balance has been struck, but a little at the expense of a strong faith message that some might prefer. For that reason, I’m calling this faith-friendly instead of faith-focused, though there are a few scenes which touch on what it’s like to be a pastor’s wife (or a pastor’s daughter) and another scene where some moral teaching arises from an unlikely source.

Moms’ Night Out gives that pastor’s wife role to Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond and The Middle) who, with her husband David Hunt co-produced the movie with a release date timing out perfectly for Mother’s Day weekend in the U.S. and Canada. Other cast members include Sarah Drew (Grey’s Anatomy), Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings), and platinum-selling country recording artist Trace Adkins (The Lincoln Lawyer).

When the preview showing ended two weeks ago on Wednesday night, we walked out into Dundas Square in Toronto (a knockoff of Times Square in NYC) and there was that week’s episode of The Middle playing live on one of the jumbo screens. Patrica Heaton was everywhere that night!

The trailer (below) outlines the plot sufficiently; the core of the movie is the stress of being a mother and how men understand so little of what that role entails. It’s about friendship, the image we try to maintain, and how when things go wrong, sometimes they go crazy wrong. The plot does indeed get a little complex near the end, but the whole thing is building like a British comedy, ever-ready to explode.

For all the movie tries to do, it succeeds. I wish the film’s producers the best in what is certainly a budget-stretching time for Christian families who have found themselves buying a lot of movie tickets lately. I expect however this film will find its biggest response among a broader, general audience who are looking for some good clean fun and something they can take the kids to, or something the kids can treat mom to for her special day.

April 24, 2013

Wednesday Link List

Isolated rose

Our opening graphic is from the blog Abandoned to God

** Derek Webb, All Sons and Daughters, Robbie Seay Band, Charlie Hall, Shane & Shane and Shaun Groves are among the 45 artists on #SongsForWest, a fundraising album download for West, Texas with a suggested $10 donation.**

Here’s this weeks links:

  • Opening Link: A pastor and his wife in Watertown, MA are caught in the middle of a shootout in the wake of the Boston bombings. “We were trapped, with active gunfire on three sides of our home.”
  • Here’s another new movie to be aware of, opening in US theaters on Friday: King’s Faith
  • Watch (or listen to) a great sermon by Gary Burge preached midweek at Willow Creek a few weeks ago.  Check out Acts 11:1–18. Once you’re 5 minutes in, I guarantee you’ll want to finish.
  • An journalist who had originally interviewed Megan Phelps-Roper in 2011 before her departure from Westboro Baptist Church offered some additional detail and updates on her story.
  • This one is disturbing. Seems that people serving at Steven Furtick’s Elevation Church are being asked to sign some type of loyalty/confidentiality agreement, with legal consequences if you break the contract. Never criticize your pastor.
  • A Minneapolis preacher is still in the pulpit at age 105. “Noah Smith has no plans to retire — ever. He said he tried that once when he was 90 and it didn’t work out too well.”
  • Here’s how one church kid defines his faith. But if you’re in Christian Education or Youth Ministry, his response is somewhat disappointing
  • By contrast, here’s Greg Koukl at Stand To Reason with a 7-minute video describing an appropriate response to the question, What is Christianity? (He actually gets to it at the 2:40 mark.)
  • For those can’t enough of blogging, here’s the direct link to Faith Village’s Java Juice Blog House which we featured here a few days ago…
  • …And if you’ve got friends investigating Christianity or just starting out, here’s Faith Village’s Square One.
  • Pete Wilson’s Cross Point Church has a daughter church in India which he tries to visit as regularly as possible. Last week he suddenly learned his visa was denied, and he was summoned to India’s embassy in Washington, DC. Now he’s been granted a six-month visa, which isn’t quite the 5-year one he had…
  • …And here’s a 2-minute audio clip on YouTube of Pete discussing people who leave his church, or arrive from somewhere else because they weren’t being fed.
  • After ten years of keeping us aware on several social issue fronts, veteran Christian blogger La Shawn Barber moves on to other platforms. 
  • Your church needs to rethink tithing options in a world where nobody writes checks (or in some countries, cheques) anymore.
  • Our blog discovery of the week is Anabaptistly. Established in Spring 2011, recent activity includes a number of Eugene Peterson quotations like this one.
  • Another blogger notes audience reaction to the movie 42
  • The people who use GodTube sure like music reality show clips from X-Factor or [Name of Country]’s Got Talent. Here Simon Cowell is led to believe a man is going to impersonate a whole choir.
  • If homeschoolers aren’t already over-represented on social media, now they have their own theme song.
  • Yea! We made another Top 200 Ministry blogs list!
  • More links all week on Twitter.
  • Finally, in our Truth is Stranger Than Fiction department, Jamie The Very Worst Missionary is breaking all her own rules and going on a women’s retreat. Say it isn’t so!

A closing word from Francis Chan:

Francis Chan Quotation

April 27, 2011

Wednesday Link List

Link suggestions are welcomed.  Use the contact page or simply leave a comment on the previous week’s link list.  Not all suggestions are used right away.

  • Pastors think about things the rest of us probably never consider.  If the “invitation” or “altar call” at the end of the service is a spiritual make-it-or-break-it time, you want to do your best, and while pastors want to be spirit-led, there is a science to these things.  Steven Furtick takes us behind the scenes into his own thought processes on this as he prepared for Easter in a two part discussion on this here and here.  Both videos run about 12:00 total. They spared no expense on their welcome package for seekers, either.
  • And wow! Talk about behind the scenes.  Dan Bouchelle invites us to consider a handful of reasons Why There Are So Many Angry Pastors’ Wives. More things you probably never contemplated.
  • The ABC 20/20 show a few weeks back raised awareness of things done in the name of Christianity in some fringe conservative churches right here in North America. How about a baby getting beaten in the middle of a church service, with the pastor urging on the activity? I’d be most willing to dismiss this story were it not for other online confirmation. Actual quotation from this pastor: “My wife and I have a general goal of making sure that each of our children has his will broken by the time he reaches the age of one year.”
  • Colton Burpo, the central figure of the book Heaven is for Real is a little older now than he appears in the book’s cover shot at right.  USAToday caught up with him having lunch at T.G.I. Fridays and talks with dad Todd about the runaway success of the Thomas Nelson paperback.  BTW, Colton wants to be a musician someday.
  • Lots of stuff in this one that Canadians already knew, but for my American readers, Kevin Platt has a succinct summary of Crandall University’s Sam Reimer’s Five Differences Between Canadian Evangelicals and U.S. Evangelicals.
  • Cathleen Falsani notes the forthcoming movie based on Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller, and suggests some other books that should be, or are being considered as feature films.
  • Just as The Shack brought critiques like Finding God in the Shack (both versions) so Rob Bell’s Love Wins begat Christ Alone by Mike Wittmer.  At least the introduction isn’t invective: “I respect Rob Bell. He wrote Love Wins to start a dialogue about the most important issues of our faith, and this book is my attempt as an evangelical to join that conversation.” Read more about the first of many responses to Bell’s book.
  • And if you can’t get enough of the R.B. debate, here’s a one-hour radio show from England that gets to the heart of the issues.
  • Listen to the Neue Magazine podcast featuring an interview with worship leader Kari Jobe.
  • Speaking of worship music, Daniel Jepsen posts all eleven verses to O, Sacred Head Now Wounded.   (I think it’s eleven, I lost count!)
  • Lets go three-for-three on worship:  Several bloggers have posted this powerful modern worship song, The Man Jesus Christ Laid Death in His Grave by John Mark McMillan; this posting at Vitamin Z has the lyrics, too.
  • In a rather tedious Q & A in the wake of a television interview released at Easter, Franklin Graham discusses politics, and the Obama Presidency in particular.
  • Tim Challies has been digesting a John Temple book, Family Money Matters and offers eight ways we can resist temptations to consumer spending.
  • Congrats to Jon Acuff on three years and 1,000 posts of the sometimes humorous, always thoughtful blog Stuff Christians Like.  Here’s the top ten posts.
  • Can you really preach powerfully and expect people to take you seriously when your standing — in your best suit — in a wading pool?  This guy thought so.

September 17, 2010

Suppose I Were To Tell You…

I hesitated to write this.   Just three short weeks ago, I wrote about confession in general, and the website PostSecret in particular.    While it would have been more simple to devote that space to a discussion about why it is that we have this need to vent or get something off our chests, I wrote instead about the fact that this type of confession doesn’t really go anywhere beyond confession itself.   It lacks what we experience in a liturgical church service following the confession of sin:  The assurance of pardon.

Why am I returning to this subject?

Because this week blogger Mandy Thompson (who just this week, in the link list, we referred to as not that Mandy Thompson) offered her readers an opportunity to comment (in this case, confess)  anonymously beginning with the phrase, “What if I Told You…”

While this sort of thing may not be your preferred brand of reading — perhaps you consider it prurient or voyeuristic — I think that every once in awhile something of this nature bears reading; in this case for two very particular reasons.

First of all, these were Christian readers responding to the opportunity, not readers from among the general population.   In fact, a very noticeable percentage of them were pastors’ wives or pastors; something very reminiscent of Anne Jackson’s books, and her current Permission to Speak Freely book tie-in website.   Apparently, clergy families are in desperate need for an Ann Landers or Dear Abby page on which to bare their deepest hurts.

As we are all from time to time.

Secondly however, and this is why I’m linking to this today; at what I’m sure was  great personal emotional exhaustion, Mandy took the time to answer each and every response.   That’s with the number of comments closing in on 200.

What if I told you I’m impressed?

This is the blogosphere at its best.   When someone tells you that blogs are a waste of time, let them see what’s happening at MandyThompson.com, and then don’t miss some of her post-mail-avalanche comments that follow more recently.

If you’re a blogger, do you see what you do as a ministry?  Are there times someone left a comment that resulted in you taking on the role of counselor?  If you’re a reader, have you ever had a blog writer that you really connected with and received help from?    For either category, have you ever continued the dialog off-the-blog?

September 6, 2010

Send This To Your Pastor’s Wife

Filed under: media — Tags: , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:25 am

And send it right away.

TomorrowTuesday, September 7th, and for five weeks following, there is a special “virtual conference” available for women in ministry and especially the wives of pastors.    No hotel.   No airline ticket.   No major rescheduling.   No charge.

All that’s needed is a computer with enough bandwidth to capture the feed at either one of these times:

  • Tuesdays at NOON (Eastern), 11 AM (Central), 9 AM (Pacific)  OR
  • Tuesdays at 9 PM, (Eastern), 8 PM (Central), 6 PM (Pacific)

and this website:  JustOne Conference.

Speakers and contributors include some names you may not recognize until you look twice at the surnames:   Amy Groeschel, Brandi Wilson, Kay Warren, Holly Furtick, Patty Wyatt, Heather Whitaker; and also some names that will just be new to you; all of whom donated their time to make this possible at no cost.     Eighteen speakers over six weeks!

Did I mention this is free?   Don’t let someone on your e-mail contact miss out on this through not having heard.

(HT: Without Wax)

Here’s the link to add to an e-mail to your pastor/pastor’s wife/woman in leadership; just copy & paste into an e-mail: www.paulwilkinson.wordpress.com/2010/09/06/send-this-to-your-pastors-wife

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