Sunday, September 11, 2011

Reflections of an Ex-PK

This was originally written and posted 9-17-2010. It's just as true today as it was then, if not more so. I would like to preface this by saying that these aren't just random gushy girl-scout Chistianity ideas that I made up. My parents have read this, and agree wholeheartedly with everything I've said here. When I pulled this old post from the archives, I was thinking it also included my thoughts on another subject, but after reading it, I think I must have written what I looking for elsewhere. It's along these same lines, but deals more in depth with children not being in the church services and being taken out to the nursery at the first whimper. Maybe I will work on compiling everything I'd like to say into a new post in the near future. There's a lot to be said, on that subject, in my opinion. For now, here are my thoughts and beliefs on this particular subject. Let me know what you think.

Well, I’m still his kid, but he’s not a pastor anymore, so how should I word that? I guess “ex-pk” as opposed to P ex-K, which would mean I’m not his kid. So yeah, ex-PK it is. Besides, P ex-K looks like an algebra equation, and I run from those.

We all know there is certain stigma with PKs. They’re supposed to be all-out rebels, and reject any sort of Christianity, right? Why do you think that is? Personally, I think it’s because, as a rule, Pastors end up neglecting their family for the sake of the church. Not God…the church. In a VERY short google search, I found a book on how to help PKs with their “identity crisis,” a story about someone wanting to become an american idol (and what an aspiration!!! Yes, that is sarcasm…) who overcame the oppressive PK stigma and was succeeding in spite of his experience, and someone else who didn’t like that people watched their language around her just because she was a PK. Good grief! There is yet another blog for the support of PKs, to link them all together, so they can complain about their horrible experiences amongst themselves. Wow. In what I’ve read in the past 10 minutes, everyone’s main complaint is the fact that they were left alone to fend for themselves while their dad and mom were at the church, or taking care of everyone else. These dads gave up their kids, and sometimes wives, for the church!

Then there was this quote, “I’d love to talk to the current pastor's kids, the ones who are still being nagged to read their bibles and dress decently on Sunday mornings.” What Christian hypocrisy! The implication here is that you do these things (read your Bible and dress right) just because your dad is the pastor…not because it’s the right thing to do! In my house, you read your Bible because that’s the right thing to do…this was established long before my dad pastored, and has continued even though he’s no longer a pastor. You dress right, not because everyone else was watching your every move and you had to put on a show of being spiritual, but because :shock: that’s what the Bible said to do!

When my dad was a pastor, we still did everything together. Our church was very small, and a lot of the time our family did everything…from cutting the grass to cleaning the toilets. When the grass needed cutting, we packed a lunch (and schoolbooks, if applicable) and one of us would cut with the riding mower, someone else would push-mow, and someone else would weedeat. Sometimes while some of worked outside, others of us would clean the inside. If the grass didn’t need cutting, someone would clean the men’s bathroom, another would clean the women’s, and someone else would dust and polish the pews. It was a family event! Part of our church building used to be an old motel. We turned it into a nice prophet’s chamber, and did most of the work ourself, with church-wide (all 20 of us!) work days sometimes. Mom helped Dad put new shingles on the roof. They love working together, and she wondered what was wrong one day when she just felt tired up there on the roof. You know what was wrong? She was pregnant with one of my brothers! Our’s was a very family-oriented church, and we always encouraged other families to actually be a family! It always amazes me that you have to say things like this…these things should be no-brainers!

There was another church down the road from us, and we knew the folks there. We had been to special meetings there, and had gone to other special meetings at other churches with them. The pastor and his wife never sat together, and they never went anywhere together…those special meetings we were at with the pastor? His wife stayed home with the kids. You know what? Last I heard, he and his wife separated and he ran off with someone else. Situations like this, whether between a man and his wife, a man and his kids, or both, do NOT encourage good family relations, and that leads to serious problems. Why can’t the pastor do everything with his family? Why can’t they all pack up and go to special meetings at other churches together? Why do these pastors sacrifice their wives and children, the ones they were given to care for, for everyone else? The addition of a wife and a few kids need not hamper the ability to go places and do things. (Unless, of course, the children have not been sufficiently trained, by you, and it’s an embarrassment to take them anywhere, which is another discussion entirely!) Rather, it should add to the experience, and you will be making family memories and have fun at the same time! If you have a family, they are your first and most important ministry.

Sure, my dad worked a full-time job, and pastored a church, but we were all there the whole time. I can’t remember a single time where my dad loaded up the car with a bunch of guys from church and left for a revival somewhere else. It never happened. It wasn't an option. If we went to a meeting, we all went. If we worked at the church, most of the time, we all went. (The one time I remember my dad going completely alone, he broke his leg.)Sometimes my dad would go in the morning while we stayed home and did school, and then we’d take lunch and spend the afternoon with him there, working together. My dad was a Godly man, then a husband and dad, then a pastor. Family was first, after being a Godly man. We didn't get the leftovers.

Dad’s not a pastor anymore, but he’s still a Godly man, a husband, and a dad, and a better man in all of those regards that anyone I've ever met. We’re all still here, and will be for the forseeable future. In everything we do, we do it as a family. The things that aren’t done as a family are always less pleasant, and we continually revise those activities to include everyone. We do do things of our own, especially as we get older, and I do go places alone, but my goodness…the talk when we get back, trying to catch everyone else up on what happened while we were apart!!! When my parents are apart, we have a hard time keeping the phone charged!

I believe this is a serious problem for the pastors and their families in this generation. I think we can look at the evidence (the blogs on how to overcome the fact that your dad’s a pastor, the pastors who lost their kids, the pastors who spend no time with their family, etc) and see clearly that something needs to change.

By the way, more humorous reflections, all in great fun…

You were never safe from extremely embarrassing illustrations from the pulpit…

You had to make sure there was plenty of toilet paper in the bathrooms…

You had to make a grocery store run when someone else didn’t bring what they were supposed to at a fellowship meal…

You (and the pastor) were in charge of popping all the popcorn for movie night. (No, we didn’t sell the popcorn, and no, we didn’t watch standard, mainstream movies, if you were wondering. Mostly videos about Tyndale, Wycliffe, Sheffey, etc.)

You had to listen to complaints about ants in the pews, while trying not to explain that not everyone had ants in their pews…

You got the priviledge of laughing with your family about the missionary that wanted to use the prophet’s chamber anytime he was passing through the area…um, NO! We’re not a bed and breakfast here! Wasn’t that mentioned in the missionaries' handbook for proper etiquette?

You always got to feed and fellowship with the missionaries more than anyone else! Fun times!

You got to clean the spiderwebs out from under the pews!

You had to be at the workdays early, sometimes left wondering “where were all those people that promised to come?!”

To this day, if we’re in need of a good laugh, we recall instances from our experience from Dad’s pastoring. Never fails…we always get a good laugh!

We are Independent Baptists because we believe that Baptist fundamentals line up with the Bible. But frankly, we are sickened by the lack of emphasis placed on the family within this circle. I personally am disgusted with men who won't be men, lead their families, and train their children, and then spend the majority of their time away, in the name of "serving God." Seeing this problem certainly helps me, in this time of my life, to see what I don't want in a husband.

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