Learning how to use authority responsibly

The Despised Ones are doing a synchroblog on leadership. I hate the idea of leadership. I hate the way that my evangelical world has created celebrity cults around various leaders. I was going to write a post on how there should be no leaders in Christian community but we should all consider ourselves servants with different roles. And I definitely believe that to be true. But it’s also dishonest to deny that I’m a leader. I’m a leader because people treat me like one and I have to figure out how to use the authority I’ve been given responsibly rather than pretending like I don’t have any. Continue reading

“I give God 10%. Why do you get 18?” (with a response from John Wesley)

WNhIP9CYou know the stereotype about the cheapskate Sunday lunch church crowd who shortchange servers on their tips? Well, one pastor in St. Louis decided to try her best to live into this stereotype. She was mad that her church group got a mandatory gratuity charge for their gathering so she wrote on her receipt, “I give God 10%. Why do you get 18?” And then the server put the receipt up on the atheism page on reddit. Nice witness!!! Well I thought I would share some choice words from John Wesley for that pastor and any other Ebenezer Scrooges out there in the church Sunday lunch crowd. ***UPDATE: The pastor was identified; she complained to Applebee’s and got the server fired. Please pray that the server will be able to get a new job and that the pastor will be sanctified by this experience and not harassed by strangers. Continue reading

What it all boils down to for me

I didn’t watch the presidential debate even though I tweeted #JesusIsMyCandidate until twitter kicked me off. I’m really not interested in whether Mitt Romney or Barack Obama is a smoother talker because smooth talking involves a completely different skill set than having a conscience or a heart. I love people who will vote on each side and I don’t ever want politics to compromise the unity of the body of Christ which is my number one desire. Still I needed to confess that I am completely biased and impractical and irrational when it comes to how I make political decisions. I’m not trying to tell anybody else what they should decide, but I make my decisions based on some kids God gave me to love who are not my flesh and blood. I love my flesh and blood Matthew and Isaiah. The older they get, the more I know that our whole lives together are going to be a blast. And I’m also very proud of how they were forever shaped by the Lopez cousins and their friends in the mostly-Mexican-with-some-Salvadoran-and-Honduran youth group that I led from 2008 to 2010. My not flesh and blood kids held my sons in church. They babysat them. When we visit, they treat them like out of town cousins, because they are cousins. Continue reading

Vulnerability and leadership

Any of you who have read my blog before know that I place a lot of value in vulnerability. I believe that the basic need we have as human beings is to be part of a community where we can be vulnerable. Because we engage in sinful behaviors we are ashamed of, we turn into defensive, self-justifying people who cannot experience the intimacy we were created for. Christ’s vulnerability on the cross makes it possible for us to be vulnerable with each other and God as part of His body. This is the core of my Christian faith. But I’ve lately been confronted by the question of whether vulnerability is a good quality for me to have as a pastor. Continue reading

How vanilla should a pastor’s blog be?

I recently had a very important conversation with a good friend who had the courage to share with me that some things I had written online were hurtful to people I care about. It was hard to hear, but very helpful at the same time. I’ve been trying to wrestle with what to do about it. At first I wanted to protest that other pastors are doing the exact same thing I am, but then I looked around on the web at other pastors’ blogs and found that they’re mostly a lot more vanilla than mine is. Continue reading