Pastors and Politics

THEM: Pastors should voice more political opinions.

ME: OK. Most Republicans and Democrats are going to hell. You should tell them the Gospel.
@FailingPastor

 

 

We’ve had some contentious elections in our country lately. People are wound a little tight.

During the last big “most important election of our lives” season, a lady in church told me she was thinking she wouldn’t come back to church if she had to be around people who disagreed with her political views. She then told me that it was my job to tell them how to vote. Yup, it was my fault they were following their parent’s traditional political line.

She did skip church for a few weeks, but when her guys won the election she came back. Several months later she told me how much she loved our church and how she would, and I quote, “never think of leaving it.”

I stay out of politics. The only time politics enter my sermon is when I mention how I stay out of politics, or when the Bible passage at hand tells us to respect government authority, or when an issue that is in the Bible passage I’m dealing with has a modern political angle everyone is fired up about that has to be addressed.

I don’t tell people how to vote. I don’t tell people to vote even. I make no mention of civic duty, nor do I pledge the flag in church or anything. I’m all for the separation of church and state and do my part to keep it real.

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Church Unity is Overrated

I would be more ecumenical if other churches weren’t all filled with heretic scum.
@FailingPastor

 

If every person in every church were led by the Spirit then yeah, I’d be all for ecumenical fellowship. But that’s not who goes to church. Lots of people go to church and lots of them don’t have the Spirit, even fewer are led by Him.

Thus we need to test the spirits. We need to watch out for wolves in sheep’s clothing. We need to exercise church discipline. There are all sorts of ramifications for being in a fallen world with fallen people in it.

Happy thoughts about unity and fellowship do not override the reality of jerks and heretics in the church. Letting happy thoughts smooth over the differences in faith-practice and doctrinal substance doesn’t cut it for me.

I know, I’m the jerk and it’s guys like me that keep the church divided. Could be, then again, maybe your heresy has something to do with that division too. Hard to say, aint it?

I’ve been asked multiple times by other churches and “Christian organizations” if our church would get together for some ecumenical event. In all honesty, at the bottom of these requests there are two things these people want:

1) They want my church to hand out free advertising for them, and
2) They want our money.

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How Long Should Pastors Stay at Their Church?

Pastors need to teach that when life gets hard, faith overcomes.
This is best taught by taking a new church every four years.

Pastors need to teach that love is patient enduring service.
This is best taught by taking a new church every four years.
@FailingPastor

 

 

The average stay at a church for a senior pastor is about four years. Youth pastors last about three.

This constant leaving makes churches doubt pastors. Small churches feel like they are stepping stones to larger churches. No one takes the pastor seriously because they all know he’ll leave when greener pastures show up.

This constant leaving makes pastors impatient and covetous. If their church doesn’t meet their ideals, they leave. They are only truly invested if the church does what they want it to do.

Pastor turnover also undermines any teaching on reaping and sowing, patient endurance, perseverance, longsuffering, love, or any such topics. God will never leave you nor forsake you, but your pastor? He’ll be gone in about four years. Nice.

Practice what you preach, right?

Pastors have been dropping congregations so quickly Christians assume this is what pastors should do. Many people look at me weird when I tell them how long I’ve been at my church. “Can’t find another job, eh?”

I even have a family member who repeatedly says it’s not right for pastors to stay at one church their whole career. This is primarily because they had a bad experience with a pastor who was at their church, and still is, for a long time. If he would have left they could have stayed. So now all pastors should leave after a couple years.

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Hey Christians: No One Cares About Your Diet

All you healthy people that don’t use sugar: your homemade Christmas cookies are not as good as you think they are.
@FailingPastor

 

 

There is a segment of Christianity that is obsessed with diet. I’m not saying they are synonymous with the homeschoolers, but there is massive overlap. They are under the impression that we are justified by food alone. Sola Cibus. (I don’t know, I just looked up “What is the Latin word for food?” And cibus came up as the answer.)

Romans 14 and 15 tells us to please our neighbor and do things that edify them. Don’t force your weird scruples on people if it causes problems. I feel that diet evangelists need a refresher course on this passage.

At every casual gathering of Christians there is food. The lady who has to bring her health food along with recipes and detailed reasons why her treats are better than anything else anyone else brought are in violation of brotherly love. They just are.

Furthermore, your food sucks.

No one likes it.

There’s a reason why people like salt and sugar: because food with salt and sugar tastes better. Throw in some butter too, maybe just lard.

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No One Cares About Your Theological Opinions

Whenever I’m tempted to spout theological wisdom, I just remember: Nobody cares.
@FailingPastor

 

Social Media has taught us that success depends upon branding yourself. You have to produce content, get followers, retweets, and likes. Get your message out there. Effectiveness is measured by how many people you can prove bumped into your content.

This mentality has come into the Christian world as well. Pastors feel this pressure constantly.

We are told to follow the Big Name pastors out there and we’re basically taught to envy their numbers. John Piper can put some cheesy good morning poem on his Twitter feed and by noon it has 2.5k likes. I put out one finely crafted Tweet succinctly summing up justification and it gets zero response.

I then feel pathetic and dumb. John Piper, bolstered by the 2.5k people who liked his poem, continues to write weird poems as though people need such things for sanctification to continue. He Tweets away, then occasionally lectures people for spending too much time on social media.

Sigh.

I did a theologically minded blog for over 15 years. There were about five people who regularly read it. There used to be nine, but I banned four of them from commenting anymore, so they eventually left.

I put out all kinds of stuff for my church people to use. I speak three times a week, yet hardly anyone shows up. I put out, what I think, is good theological content. Really helpful and inspiring stuff.

No one cares.

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Preach Your Thoughts, Not Other People’s Cliches

Along with “yes,” “no,” and “maybe,” God also answers prayer with “get a job” and “suck it up, buttercup.”
@FailingPastor

 

 

I have no idea if God answers prayer with “get a job” and “suck it up, buttercup.” I kind of hope He does! But I get nervous about putting words in His mouth. I’m no “Jesus Calling” author over here.

The basic point of this tweet was to challenge our flippant answers about biblical subjects.

Prayer is a subject discussed with much goofiness. When I was a kid I remember hearing the “yes, no, and maybe” deal about God answering my prayers. What kind of teaching is that? That’s how anyone answers a request. That’s not really teaching anything; that’s just pointing out reality. That’s what my mom will do if I ask her if I can have a cookie.

Plus, how does that answer the statement of Jesus Christ that if you ask anything in His name He will do it? “No” and “maybe” don’t seem part of that verse. Perhaps there are larger issues at work.

“Does prayer work?” has been a long standing question. There’s only one reason this is even a question: because prayer doesn’t work. If prayer worked then no one would ask this question. Therefore, simply by the existence of the question we can know that prayer does not work.

Now, answering why it’s not working has a manifold answer that would require a 65 point sermon, which is not the aim here. I’ll let you preach that one!

My point is that pastors are up against much bad teaching. In order to teach people what the Bible says, you first un-teach what Christians have heard from other Christians.

Don’t know if you know this or not, but what most Christians believe is based on other people’s opinions, not the Bible. I’ll let you pause and recover mentally and emotionally from the shock of that statement.

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The Frustrating Work of Helping Sinners Not Sin

THEM: I’m not growing any fruit, what should I do?

ME: Pray. Stop sinning, Pursue holiness.

THEM: What else ya got?
@FailingPastor

 

 

This was a real conversation I had with a guy. Through our entire relationship he was adamant that good works were not necessary, and that sin wasn’t that bad because Jesus had forgiven him. Yet I’ve never met anyone so burdened with guilt. He was constantly beating himself up and depressed.

“How come I don’t have any spiritual fruit? Why doesn’t sin just stop?” he asked.

“Because you don’t think sin is that bad and you don’t think good works are that good.”

“Yeah, my good works are just filthy rags and all my sin has been dealt with in Christ. But I just don’t understand why I’m not growing.”

“You should do good things. Paul says in Titus to do good works so you are not unfruitful.”

“Yeah, well, there you go slipping into legalism again.”

We got nowhere. He later left the church.

People are suckers for get rich quick schemes. We all want the shortcut to success. This is just as true spiritually as it is monetarily.

I think most Christians admire Jesus Christ and would be cool with being more like Him. I really think most Christians have a desire to be better people. In fact, most people desire that.

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