Monday, November 23, 2009

Chewing, then spitting out a pastor.

OK ... a bit of venting time.

I'm eclectic in my blog reading. I like to read blogs of all types, and have an affinity for blogs of those who are female pastors, as I have a few close female friends who are or were in seminary. In all cases, I wish those who write their blogs well, and pray for their ministry.

Well, this past Sunday, someone who I follow on a semi-regular basis was fired by the Congregation she currently serves. The timing is impeccable, just before Christmas, but it sounds like the Session of this church is composed of a bunch of CEO's more used to giving orders, than doing anything themselves, or thinking about the consequences of their actions.

I quote:
What really happened is that the chair of personnel told the congregation that I was incorrigible, disobedient, and did not toe the line according to what his committee told me to do. He outlined his program of requirements designed to "tally, compute, and account for my effectiveness as a CEO." He related that I had failed all of the required activities as measured by 1) an increase in members and 2) an increase in offerings.

Of course, all this because the Pastor was trying to bring the Session along into a model of shared ministry. Does this Session think that mega-churches grow only because of the pastor's efforts? Its obvious no-one there did any research on how Rick Warren's Saddleback Church operates.

Again I quote:
I outright refused to encourage the leadership of our congregation to become emotional and spiritual cripples, which was what I was ordered to do. I was told repeatedly over the last eleven months that the session had no interest in participating in ministry, since that was what I was paid to do.

Someone commented on the post that the 'congregation was rooted in the 50's'. Thinking about that, I understand it to mean that at that time, it was the church staff who did all the work, because the church at that time had enough members and contributions to pay someone to do it.

Those days are over, if they ever existed. Today churches grow only through the shared ministry of the Pastor (or pastors) and the leaders and membership of the church. It is a fact that most people visit a church not due to a great website; although having one that is easy to navigate is a good thing, or the big sign out front, but by a personal invitation to come to worship.

If the congregation and their elected and ordained officers do not take ownership of their own growth, then the Presbytery will take ownership of the empty building in about 15 years.

..... and so it goes !

The Continuing Saga

For the past two weeks, my left hand has looked like I've been giving a thumbs up 24/7.
Today, we get this first cast off for another x-ray and exam by the surgeon. I've been off any OTC pain drugs for the surgery pain for a while, now I'm just taking some for the muscle aches I talked about in a previous post.

So, he'll look, and gently prod, and ask how it feels, then put be back into a cast for another two weeks. This time I'll ask for blue, the last time I had black. Yup, I can then say my arm was black and blue after the surgery. ;)

..... and so it goes !!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ordination Vows

Will you be governed by our church’s polity, and will you abide by its discipline? Will you be a friend among your colleagues in ministry, working with them, subject to the ordering of God’s Word and Spirit?

This is one of the ordination vows that one takes when one is ordained as a Deacon, Elder (Ruling Elder) or Minister of the Word and Sacrament (Teaching Elder) in the PCUSA.

It seems that a Pastor in New Jersey has violated that oath: Article from the Presbyterian Outlook .

It seems that we now have a very visible test of whether or not a Presbytery, Synod or the PCUSA in general are going to actually enforce discipline on someone who willfully disregards her oath and our church's Constitution.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Thumb Saga - a continuing story !!

Over the past week, I've found that 3 or 4 pounds of hard cast makes your upper arm muscles very sore. I tend to push the envelope a bit when it comes to pain. I try to ignore twinges and sore muscles as I feel they are signs of aging. Yeah, I know, typical male ;)

This past week, I was doing some website work for a customer and, as a touch typist, tried to use the four fingers of my left hand that are not being held in stasis as usual. Of course, I kept my arm in its usual position, the one I learned when I first learned how to type. Elbows off the desk, just as if I were sitting at a typewriter.

That resulted in a sleepless night due to a very sore upper set of muscles that were not used to having an additional weight at the end of an appendage that usually works quite nicely. My wife's suggesting of the heating pad helped the next morning (as the Tylinol was not working) to alleviate the pain. I spent most of the day with the pad on the arm, and dozing off in my La-z-boy. Scratch that day's activities off the list.

Well, come this past Monday. I volunteer a Monday every other week at SPC, filling in for one of our part-time secretaries who is recouping from a surgery. I get to do the bulletin, and I've been bringing the church red books up to date. Turns out the Session minute book was three years out of date, more on this in another post. In any case, I was doing some major typing for about 3 or 4 hours.

This is also the time I get to check the entries in our church database system. I update the attendance for the past Sunday, then check the entries made by the other part-time secretary who keeps reminding me that she's on the B Team. That is: she B here when I arrived, and she'll B here when I leave. Which also means that the nice guides I put together with screenshots from the program, annotating exactly how to avoid creating duplicate database records for families, just gather dust in the bottom of a drawer. This was a light week, only took me a half hour to correct the database.

So what does this have to do with the continuing story? Remember what I said about the arm previously?? OWWWWIE !!

.... and so it goes !!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Sore Thumb - Redux

So far, so good. The thumb is currently encased in gauze, cotton batting, thumb brace and ace bandage. Its braced at an angle so it doesn't move, this is to keep the bones and the spacer aligned until everything heals.

The next step happens Monday, when they take this soft cast off, and replace it with something much harder, and heavier.

And so it goes .....