A few nights ago I had a conversation with my wife because our son was in a play that had some language in it (he didn’t have any lines). There were also a few suggestive ideas in the play. My wife asked me “should this be a play that a Pastor’s Kid is in?” My response was there is no such thing as a pastor’s kid.
Being a pastor’s kid is challenging. The expectations are more than most people realize. Some people are waiting for you to mess up so they can say “See, told you so” others see you make a mistake and they act as if this is a total shock that this should ever happen. What doesn’t help is your peers tend to view you with suspicion or with the expectation that you should know every answer to every Sunday school question. There are some benefits to being a pastor’s kid, but in general, the crushing burden that you feel from most people can be overwhelming. In my experience with being a pastor’s kid and knowing lots of them the reaction to these expectations tends to create either rebels or Pharisees.
I was a Pharisee. This is still something I struggle with, I was a good kid that goodness led to pride until I failed to live up to the expectations that others had for me, then my failures were both public and crushing. I strove so hard to be a good kid and not to embarrass my parents or the church that I ended up being a professional people pleaser. I don’t want that for my kids. I don’t want that for any pastor’s kids.
How as a church community do we help the children of our leaders not become rebels or Pharisees? How do I as a pastor raise my kids to love the church and cherish Christ? Here are a few things I have learned the hard way.
A few months ago Jordan Peterson’s book 12 Rules for Life was all the rage. I found his book interesting and him as a person even more so. What I found interesting is that his rules were based on his worldview. The truth is we all live by a set of propositions we believe to be true. Here are my thoughts on his book as a Christian. His list gave me the idea of coming up with my own list. I thought it would be fun to give the 12 rules I live by.
Stop eating before you are full – This is one of my many rules that I go by that keep me from gaining weight. I have a book I have never published but have been working on for years called “A Thin Man’s Guide to Losing Weight” – If you stop eating before you get full you will never eat too much.
Teach your kids to protect the small and the weak – speak for those who have no voice. One of the things that get lost in a world where gender roles are not passed on to our kids we have kids who don’t know what they are supposed to do in any given situation. I tell my boys all the time that one of the things men do is protect those who are weaker or smaller than they are. I tell them if they get in trouble for defending kids who are picked on or protecting their sisters they will never be in trouble with me.
Life can only be understood in light of the golden rule in light of the golden ruler. Everyone loves the golden rule not everyone likes the giver of that rule. Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to love God first and the second is like it to love our neighbor. We can’t truly love our neighbor if we do not love God first and understand how we have been loved by God in Christ.
Go to the buffet table last. This is one my mom always taught me. In a group of people always eat last. No exceptions. It breeds humility.
Work three Jobs at the same time. This is another one my parents taught me. You will never go hungry, and you will make yourself irreplaceable in your work if you can do more than one thing.
Kiss babies and old people. This is a lost virtue in our society. We used to value new life and esteem old life. As a society, we now worship beauty and wealth a culture that sacrifices the most vulnerable for the idols of beauty and wealth will always and every time destroy its self from the inside out. Ask the Greeks and the Romans.
Be efficient with problems so you can be patient with people. I say this to my team all the time. We live in a culture that esteems efficiency and time management so that we can have more time to do what we want. The gospel says this is not the way we invest our life. We are efficient with problems, so we have more time to love and serve others
Summer is a great time to grab a book and sit in a hammock and unwind or lie on a beach and get some free vitamin D while getting lost in a great book. This summer was busy at work, so I took the summer off from seminary to focus on some of our most impactful events of the year in kids and youth ministry as well as spend time with family enjoying each other. So a break from seminary means I can catch up on some books that I have gotten behind on. So if you are looking for a new book here are a few I am reading this summer.
The Deep Things of God – Fred Sanders
I started this book about three years ago I got about half way in then started Seminary. Such a challenging book as I realized that much of my understanding of God is so often how I perceive him rather than how he reveals himself to me. The background of the gospel is rooted in the Trinity.
All that Rises Must Converge – Flannery O’Connor
I have been on a O’Connor kick as of late to see what the fuss is all about. My thoughts so far. 1. She is a massively gifted writer. 2. She is a bit eccentric. 3. She connects her thoughts about God in her writing in unique and very interesting ways.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Harriet Beecher Stowe
I am reading this over the summer with my oldest son. Why we are reading this together? 1. Schools don’t assign classics anymore 2. Stowe was a devout christian with a clearly Christian worldview. 3. I find the fact that Lincoln credited this work as the impetus for the Civil war fascinating.
The Hardest Peace – Kara Trippet
I just finished this book. It was both beautiful and challenging. To read of Kara’s peace and God’s grace in the midst of life’s most challenging moments was humbling and difficult. Humbling because of her great faith and difficult because it brough up lots of fears I thought I had dealt with in the midst of my wifes battle with Cancer. Kara’s faith was rooted in a person not a feeling. This book was beautiful.
Confessions – St. Augustine translated by Sarah Ruden
This is my second time through Confessions and like most classics once you finished reading it for the first time you are prepared read it again for the first time. Sarah’s translation is extremely accurate and super accessible. I am grateful for the parts she has illumined that I missed the first time through and am also grateful that many more will read Augustine’s masterpiece because of the accessibility of this translation.
Love Thy Body – Nancy Pearcey
This fall we will be doing a sermon series in our youth ministry talking about what the bible has to say about many of the topics Pearcey covers in this book. So I will be reading this book to have the proper framework needed for that series.
Prince Caspian – C.S. Lewis
Just started this book with my oldest daughter. When my kids turn 8 I start reading them the Narnia series. I think I enjoy more than they do. Every time through I see new aspects of Lewis’ genius.
What books are you reading this summer?