Archive for: May, 2006

Bucking the Clergy Mystique

Charles “Chuck” Swindoll is a popular radio and TV preacher. I, for one, heartily agree with many if not most of his teachings.

On his radio broadcast of 3/22/06 brother Swindoll noted that he was a frequent conference speaker. He went on to say that of the conferences he regularly attends the “pastor’s conferences” were, by far, made up of the most depressed delegates.

I can see why. To think that one person is essentually responsible for pastoring an entire church would bring just about anyone to a very low level indeed. It’s like giving a person a pick and a bucket and saying to him: Go over to that mountain and remove it.

If a church has several hundred members, most pastors wouldn’t know all their names, much less be able to minister to their personal needs. How could he/she spend time with each one in order to establish a working relationship with them? And if you don’t know someone, how are you going to love them, council them, and “one-another” them?

God’s plain plan for his church is that elderS (plural) be the shepherds of the flock. Acts 20. 1 Peter 5. Oh, I know that many groups give lip service to the plurality notion but sqirm loose of it in their practice.

Can we look at the great animal and plant kingdoms, beholding their perfect order, and then dismiss the idea that God also has definite arrangements for his own Kingdom? No doubt having a smart and smooth “teaching elder” in place simplifies things BUT the price is that the other elders never develop their own teaching gifts. If I’m not mistaken, the most detailed instructions of a church meeting in 1 Corinthians 14 call for several speakers rather than a single sermon by one person.


Wonder if Chuck is really satisfied with his clergy persona. Wonder how his wife likes being the typical preacher’s wife who has to look and act so much like the typical preacher’s wife. Were his kids the typical hell-raiser PK’s?

Chuck seems to enjoy bucking the clergyman image now and them. On the cover of his “Laugh Again” he’s perched on a new Harley in a black leather outfit. Here’s a paragraph or so from Chapter One:

Cynthia and I are into Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

I know, I know…it doesn’t fit our image. Who really cares? We stopped worrying about our image years ago. We should be ashamed of ourselves? We aren’t. We’re having a mutual mid-life crisis? We hope so. We should be better examples to the youth? They love it! Actually, it’s only a few crotchety adults who don’t. What are we going to say to our grandkids? “Hey, kids, wanna ride?”1 And how are we supposed to explain it to the “the board?” They don’t care either.

We are having more fun than anybody can imagine (except fellow Harley riders). One of the best things about the whole deal is that those guys and gals down at the bike shop don’t have a clue as to who we are. We have finally found a place in our area where we can be out in public and remain absolutely anonymous. If anybody down there happens to ask our names, we’ll just tell ’em we’re Jim and Shirley Dobson. Those Harley hogs don’t know them either.


When we came back to our senses, we realized that somehow we were sorta misfits. I mean, a responsible senior pastor and radio preacher in a suit and tie with a classy, well-dressed woman who is executive vice president of Insight for Living perched on a Harley-Davidson in a motorcycle showroom. Everybody else was wearing t-shirts, torn jeans, boots, black leather stuff, and sported tattoos. I saw one guy who had a tattoo on each arm…one was a snarling bulldog with a spiked collar and the other was a Marine insignia—the eagle, globe, and anchor of the Corps! A few folks were glancing in our direction as if to say, “Get serious!” And Cynthia leaned up again and whispered, “Do you think we ought to be in here?”

“Of course, honey, who cares? After all, I’m a Marine! What I need is a pair of black jeans and leather chaps and all you need is a tattoo, and we’ll blend right in.” The jeans and chaps for me, probably someday. But Cynthia with a tattoo? I rather doubt it. Somehow I don’t think it would go over very big at formal church dinners and the National Religious Broadcasters banquets.

Hey, glad to hear somebody’s having fun out there. All I do is work. Oh well, it seems that way. Ditto for my home-schooling wife and mother of six. LOL. Me, I’m not jealous, no way. I’m glad for folks that can throw down 25 grand for a motorcycle and a membership in the elite Harley club. LOL. Chuck wants us to laugh, doesn’t he?

While we’re laughing … What about all those folks who sport the Harley shirts, jackets, and decals on their cars and trucks? Most of the ones I know don’t own the genuine article. Reminds me of how we can have the appearances of a true profession of faith in Christ and yet have no actual possesion of Him.

What, btw, would have been the value of 10 grand invested in H-D back in say 1986? Oh, don’t take my word on it. Just go to the link below as you probably wouldn’t believe me anyway:

“If you had invested a mere $100 (one hundred dollars) in Harley-Davidson, Inc. common stock at the end of 1986, the year of our IPO, and reinvested all dividends, the value of your investment on December 31, 2005, would have been approximately $16,140.”


Remembering the Unborn

One area – and it is a sensitive one – is the lack of support given by the church today to parents who have lost pre-born children due to medical complications. Should not these tiny ones be given things like names and funerals – even burials, where practical?

Of course, many parents in this situation feel so much hurt and even shame that they would unlikely want it mentioned. So, I suppose that that is partly where the dilemma lies.

Carolynn and I have been here and, looking back, I don’t feel quite right about it. At the time we were part of an institutional church and I recall no discussions of what the church’s response would be in such circumstances. Now that we are involved in a house church setting we can study the matter as a group and perhaps have a memorial service.

Any light from God’s word or from your experiences?

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