Blog Tidbits

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Every once in a while, I link to a few blog posts worth reading from the blog-o-sphere. Enjoy!!

6 Surprises Every Premarital Counselor Should Cover

These surprises are worth thinking about for all marriages:

  • The Sin Surprise

  • The Conflict Surprise

  • The “Slow-Change” Surprise

  • The Sex Surprise

  • The Parents/In-Laws Surprise

  • The “Forgiveness is Costly” Surprise

How Do Churches End Up with Domineering Bullies for Pastors?

Instead of transforming culture, churches are often a reflection of culture, prioritizing a results-oriented approach to ministry which requires a CEO or General instead of a pastor. The author lets 1 Peter 5:3 be the antidote: “Not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock”. The sexual and financial scandals of pastors often get the publicity, but when models of pastoral ministry are basically a reflection of business leadership practices, there often develops a short-term, results-oriented, toxic culture around pastoral ministry. This is plaguing the North American church and, I think, has been particularly toxic in Presbyterian circles (perhaps because Presbyterians have the richest per capita church membership on the planet and thus are more accustomed to dealing with — and accomodating — toxic leadership practices in the secular realm because of the bottom line financial results which sometimes accompanies these companies). In Africa, pastoral leadership culture often mirrored the “Big Man” politician. In North America, it’s often business leadership practices — sans theological reflection — that wags the tail of church leadership.

  • “Being domineering is catastrophic for a flock. It seems effective in the short term—it gets things done!—but it is disastrous in the long term.”

  • “There is obviously much to be learned from both successful CEOs and also great generals, but both models can quickly become toxic. When either becomes the primary model for Christian leadership, is it any wonder that domineering pastors result? The pastor-as-CEO approach might foster entrepreneurialism and risk-taking, but it easily becomes results-oriented. The pastor-as-general approach might foster perseverance and grit, but it easily becomes task-oriented. One produces swagger: Their word is law because they’re economically indispensable to the church. The other produces presumption: Orders must be followed because the general ‘knows’ what is best for every person. In each case we either tolerate or fail to see traits of bullying, because ministry ends justify ministry means.”

How to Form a Christian Mind in a Digital World

These are great questions for parents, and even adults, to wrestle with:

  • “Will new readers develop the more time-demanding cognitive processes nurtured by print-based mediums as they absorb and acquire new cognitive capacities emphasized by digital media?”

  • “Will our youth develop such a passive response to knowledge that eventually the store of what they know and their ability to connect it through analogy and inference will be depleted?”

  • “Will the combination of reading on digital formats and daily immersion in a variety of digital experiences . . . impede the formation of the slower cognitive processes such as critical thinking, personal reflection, imagination, and empathy that are part of deep reading?”

How To Sabotage a Bible Study

If you lead a Bible study or participate in a Bible study, these are some challenging thoughts.

Jason Carter