Richard Lischer: Ministering Angels

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I ran into a young minister friend of mine during Easter week in the checkout line at Target. His name is Isaac Villegas, and he is pastor of a small Mennonite congregation in Chapel Hill, N.C. Isaac told me he had gotten up early to finish his Maundy Thursday homily, and now he was waiting to pay for two large plastic tubs to be used in the foot-washing ritual that evening. Not an untypical swing of duties for him or any small-church minister -- from the solitary study of Scripture to the public drama of a high holy day, with the running of errands in between.

Isaac's congregation cannot afford to pay him a full salary. He and his wife tithe much of what they do get back to the church. Despite eight years of higher education, including a degree from Duke Divinity School, he has always had to supplement his income with other work. He assists in teaching theology courses at Duke, including one of mine. Before that he combined ministry with carpentry (for which there is precedent in Christianity).

Mostly he works for his church. When he is not preparing Bible studies and sermons, he is in the jails and hospitals counseling the troubled or praying with the dying. Like the duties of most pastors, Isaac's touch every notch on the life cycle, from baptism to last rites. Some of his best pastoral care is delivered on park benches in verdant Chapel Hill. And since Isaac's congregation prefers renting space, he doesn't have an office. This is OK: The ministry itself is called an "office," giving the office-holder a privileged place in the lives of those who accept him as their shepherd. And all the shepherd has to do in return is model a life of service and apply the assorted symbols of God to every occasion or dilemma known to humankind.

Isaac's improvisational ministry reflects the realities of a shrinking Protestant church in America.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Religion News & CommentaryOther Churches

31 Comments
Posted April 25, 2008 at 1:32 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. montanan wrote:

What a lovely article.  While it doesn’t describe my priest in terms of the congregation being unable to pay a salary, it does describe him in terms of the carrying out of a calling.  And, unfortunately, the article describes our relationship (in most aspects, including financial) with our deacon.

April 25, 2:22 pm | [comment link]
2. Bob G+ wrote:

This is what I am doing.  I have never done ministry without having to work secular jobs to support myself - sometimes three at a time.  This way of working-priesthood provides a way to stay in touch with the people of the world and be a part of and influence on groups that I otherwise would be separated from.  It does get tiring after a while, and frustrating.

April 25, 2:49 pm | [comment link]
3. Grandmother wrote:

Back in the stone ages, I don’t ever recall my father having a church that could support him or us without him being employed at other jobs.

He was on occasion, the mailman, a bookkeeper, a grocery store attendant (produce, which we seemed to have in abundance, altho a bit smaller than in the store since he cut off the bad parts). He worked for Kaiser Steel, the fish cannery in San Pedro, and i’ve forgotten how many other jobs he had.

I’m truly blessed to know that other pastors/priests, and deacons still feel the same obligation to preach, teach, and minister to their flock altho financial considerations make their work double.

God Bless Them and all
Gloria in SC l

April 25, 3:08 pm | [comment link]
4. signab43 wrote:

Mr. Lischer laments the low pay and long hours of the modern-day minister. $2 million would go a long way. All that and more poured into California over the past six weeks to ask the people here to limit marriage to man-on-woman couples, and exclude from the communion of Christ the last, least and lost.

I wish Mr. Lischer and the rest of our communities of faith would focus on the good work of helping the sick and feeding the poor, instead of meddling in other people’s families.

April 25, 4:01 pm | [comment link]
5. Philip Snyder wrote:

signab43 - think of all the money spent on the litigation in California.  That, too, would go a long way toward paying these clergy.

I don’t know who want to exclude anyone from the communion of Christ.  Is there a movement in California to outlaw poor, sick or inprisoned people from having a relationship with Jesus Christ?

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

April 25, 4:06 pm | [comment link]
6. Milton wrote:

ISTM that St. Paul said both that the worker is worth his wage i.e. those who faithfully bring the true word of God to His people are worthy of fair compensationm and that he himself did not take anything from the communities to which he ministered, supporting himself by his trade of tentmaking.  The Lord leads each of His pastors to the situation in which He wants them and sees that they are provided for, and also He moves upon our hearts to provide fairly for those who minister to us.  Know the Lord in prayer and follow the urgings of the Holy Spirit upon your heart.

April 25, 4:15 pm | [comment link]
7. signab43 wrote:

You’re right of course, Mr. Snyder. There is a lot of money being wasted on a lot of issues. The distinction of the petition initiative to limit marriage that was dearly purchased here in California is that it does jeopardize people’s relationship with the Lord.

This proposition teaches parents that some of their neighbors are less worthy or capable of participating in society than others, and it teaches kids that happen to be gay that they can only have a relationship with Jesus through celibacy or suicide.

It is not about “protecting traditional marriage” since we have long abandoned that by allowing divorce, interfaith and interracial marriages, and banning betrothals and polygamy. No, this is about marginalizing and deliberately hurting people with the intent to discourage kids from being gay. It is the modern equivalent of stoning.

My personal story is a good example. My relationship with my savior was deteriorating before I realized that people who want to ban same-sex marriage are not speaking like Jesus. Nowhere in the Bible does God condemn same-sex marriage, in fact, God says “it is not good that man should be alone” without specifying anything about what dangles between Adam’s partner’s legs. He ‘marries’ Ruth and Naomi. I believe God sent homosexuality to us to challenge how we treat the last least and lost. If that challenge is to “love our neighbor as ourselves” then we as a people - through this proposition - have failed indeed.

Regardless of what you think of homosexuality, Mr. Snyder, telling some people they are less worthy of the sacrament of marriage because of how God made them is unneighborly and downright mean. It is a violation of everything Jesus taught us. As a gay dad, I just want to be the best husband and father that I can. And here are people reaching across the country in the name of Jesus to throw stones on my happiness and my life.

That does nothing but teach people to choose between what they know is right and what the Church represents, and that can have a damming influence on people’s relationship with their savior if they are not as fortunate as I am to have found Jesus in time to stand firm against these attacks.

April 25, 4:53 pm | [comment link]
8. Sharethefaith wrote:

Signab43:
What does homosexual behavior have to do with people who are the “least and the lost?”  You speak of people who choose this lifestyle as if they are ‘the poor, sick, and lost’.  They have their lives together, its just in the bedroom that they are confused.  All are welcome in our churches and we encourage all to get to know Jesus Christ.  We are all sinners who are welcome to know God.
Traditional marriage is between a man and a woman, no matter their race, faith etc.  God created us man and woman in his image, which I ‘m sure you know about as you state you are Christian.  Children in California (and anywhere) are invited to Know Jesus, and to understand that God can heal us of mixed up feelings toward the same gender.

April 25, 5:14 pm | [comment link]
9. signab43 wrote:

Sharethefaith:
Marriage is a social and economic structure joining two people and their families. The ‘traditional marriage’ that you are talking about is lovely, but it is a lie, since the “no matter their race, faith, etc.” part that you quote is a quite modern advancement. In 1948 you could not get married if you were different races, in 1908 you could not get married if you were different faiths.
If you truly seek “traditional marriage” that is fine, but saying that marriage is only marriage because of what God put between people’s legs is pretty short-sighted.
While everybody knows that God made us man and woman in His image, the fact that God made me and my partner in His image as well. I’m sorry if that what I do in the bedroom offends you, but if you are disturbed and offended that is something you’ll have to take up with God, not take out on me and my family.
Jesus taught us that the path to heaven is through His footsteps, not through punishing people with rabbinical old-testament laws. We would all be well-served to remember that. Peace.

April 25, 6:14 pm | [comment link]
10. Grandmother wrote:

What does any of the latest “dialogue” have to do with the subject of the article?  Personally I find it offensive to see the subject of faithful ministers being highjacked into an argument over something else.

Gloria in SC
Daughter of one of those elder (but now passed on) faithful ministers.

April 25, 7:20 pm | [comment link]
11. Philip Snyder wrote:

signab43,
Scripture is also silent on homophobia, but that doesn’t make it right either.  Scripture is silent on stealing from people named Fred, but that doesn’t make it right.  Scripture is silent on a lot of things, but it is not silent on homosexual sex.  Scripture is, unfortuantely, very clear on the issue of homosexual sex.  I wish it were otherwise, but it is not.
That does not mean that you cannot be a Christian.  It does not mean that you cannot have a relationship with Jesus Christ or with his Church.  The doors are open to all who want to follow Jesus and come to know him.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

April 25, 7:22 pm | [comment link]
12. signab43 wrote:

Yes, quite right, Gloria. We do need to focus on the article, and the mission of the Church. I don’t see how the mission of the Church is helped by spending $2 million - and more - to tell people that their only choices are celibacy or suicide. That is a slap in the face of the fine people that Mr. Lischer refers to in his article.
Saying that God hates homosexuals is outside of the scope of this article, not just as it isn’t part of Mr. Lischer’s argument, it is not part of God’s plan either. Before Christ, the rabbis might weigh Leviticus 18 along with 21 and 22. Jesus Christ taught us better. He taught us to love God with all our hearts, bodies, souls and minds, and to love our neighbors like ourselves. Telling people that they are “messed up in the bedroom” is not something I could see Jesus doing. It’s a shame that we still have not learned from His example.

April 25, 7:42 pm | [comment link]
13. physician without health wrote:

I heartily agree with you, Grandmother #10.  It seems that, no matter what is the topic of the post, the conversation very often leads to some discussion of Schori, ECUSA, or same sex blessings.  Note that I do not favor Schori or SSBs, but also try not to be totally consumed by these issues either.  Getting back to topic here, thank God for all of those who are called to serve the small often impoverished parishes.  Where two or three are gathered in Christ’s name, He is present.

April 25, 9:42 pm | [comment link]
14. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “All that and more poured into California over the past six weeks to ask the people here to limit marriage to man-on-woman couples, and exclude from the communion of Christ the last, least and lost.”

How wonderful that so many people—Christians and the non-Christian—were able to donate so much money to counter the political activists who wish for societal approval of their particular and specific sexual activities.  What exactly that has to do with excluding “from the from the communion of Christ the last, least and lost” I don’t know save that it’s typical of your standard throw-away rhetorical line by so many of the self-same political activists who are working so hard for societal approval of their sexual activities and which that 2 million dollars handily resisted.

RE: “This proposition teaches parents that some of their neighbors are less worthy or capable of participating in society than others, and it teaches kids that happen to be gay that they can only have a relationship with Jesus through celibacy or suicide.”

No it doesn’t.

RE: “No, this is about marginalizing and deliberately hurting people with the intent to discourage kids from being gay.”

No it isn’t.  It’s about countering progressive gay activists who wish to force society to pretend as if it approves of their particular and specific sexual behavior.

RE: “It is the modern equivalent of stoning.”

LOL. Tell that to folks who’ve actually been stoned.  A little extra shot of drama there . . .  ; > ) 

RE: “Nowhere in the Bible does God condemn same-sex marriage . . . “

Right—God merely condemns same-gender sexual relations.

RE: “He ‘marries’ Ruth and Naomi.”

No, He doesn’t.

RE: “If that challenge is to “love our neighbor as ourselves” then we as a people - through this proposition - have failed indeed.”

No—where we’ve failed as a people is in any way supporting or encouraging sinful behavior that God has clearly informed us in His word written is wrong.

RE: “. . . telling some people they are less worthy of the sacrament of marriage because of how God made them is unneighborly and downright mean. It is a violation of everything Jesus taught us.”

Right—telling adults that they cannot marry more than one adult at a time when they are engaged in mutual, consensual, loving, affirming relationships—telling such people that “they are less worthy of the sacrament of marriage because of how God made them is unneighborly and downright mean”.

Telling adults that they cannot marry their sibling when they are engaged in mutual, consensual, loving, affirming relationships—telling such people that “they are less worthy of the sacrament of marriage because of how God made them is unneighborly and downright mean”.

And that’s just demonstrative of how hypocritical and self-serving and truly bigoted gay activists are.  They want society’s legal and public blessing on their particular and specific sexual orientation—but they have no interest in being activists for all of the other sexual orientations to receive special legal and public blessing from society.  They alone should have society’s blessing and approval expanded for their sexual activities.  But not the other sexual orientations, oh no.  Society’s definition of marriage should be expanded—[for reasons that they have not made clear other than that they want it and they are special]—for gays, but society’s definition of marriage should not be expanded for any other people who have differing sexual orientations.

Really disgraceful hypocrisy.

RE: “I don’t see how the mission of the Church is helped by spending $2 million - and more - to tell people that their only choices are celibacy or suicide.”

Another silly over-dramatic statement.  Plenty of people with varying sexual orientations are told that in order to live within God’s will they must be celibate.  The other option is merely a rhetorical maneuver from the gay activist handbook.

RE: “Saying that God hates homosexuals is outside of the scope of this article, not just as it isn’t part of Mr. Lischer’s argument, it is not part of God’s plan either.

Right.  What that has with anything at all nobody knows either, except it’s another standard sophism that gay activists use. 

RE: “Telling people that they are “messed up in the bedroom” is not something I could see Jesus doing.”

And in a final rhetorical trumpet . . . signab43 demonstrates the usual complete lack of knowledge of Scripture.  Jesus was perfectly capable of telling people that they were “messed up in the bedroom” as indeed He did by his repeated decrial of porneia which included all sinful sexual activity, including same-gender sexual activity.

Sad to have to waste the time to point all of the above out. 

But signab43 saw an opportunity to insert all the standard cliches and boilerplate rhetoric of gay activists in a random thread, throwing it entirely off-topic, and the elves must be out on a Friday night.

April 25, 11:17 pm | [comment link]
15. Words Matter wrote:

through celibacy or suicide.

Demonstrating, again, that homosexualist ideology is based on an intellectual perversion far more profound than sexual perversion. Of course, it’s possible that this particular ideologue recognizes the absurdity of the statement, in which case the problem is one of honesty.

Now, if one posits “being gay” as an ontological human state - a normal variant of human sexual identity - then one has started down a path that leads to gay marriage and the “full inclusion of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters in the church”.  But there is no scientific evidence that same-sex attractions are equivalent to hand-dominance, eye color, or race, or anything other than what people have always considered it to be: a perversion of our sexuality.

Of course, signab43 is certainly entitled to his/her opinions about sexuality, but that’s all they are - opinions. He/she is entitled to live life as he/she sees fit. That doesn’t mean the rest of us have to pay out the benefits that accrue to married people.

April 26, 12:09 am | [comment link]
16. signab43 wrote:

I’m just trying to be the best husband and father that I can be. That is what marriage was designed for. Taking groups of people and excluding them from our society and economy is not productive, it just shifts the burden to those who remain. Telling people that they have to choose between the commitments that they make to the people they love, and following the path of Christ, is not the way of the Lord.
I don’t know if God made me gay or I learned it from Ted Haggard, but I was taught that whether it is nature - like race - or nurture - like RELIGION - I live a more sound and Christian life than Tom Cruise or Britney Spears. Regardless of how y’all twist scripture to put down homosexuals, I know there is neither male nor female, jew nor gentile, but one Christ Jesus. Regardless of what you think the bible says about homosexuality, I should have the opportunity to live my life the way I believe God wants me to live - not the way Jerry Falwell wants me to live. 
I hope that y’all learn to understand that the path to heaven is not achieved by punishing people. It is achieved by loving God with all your heart, soul, body and mind, and loving your neighbor as yourself.
You’ve said a lot of hurtful stuff here. You’ve said it with the conviction that you are right. A good reading of Luke might cure you of that arrogance. Peace.

April 26, 12:37 am | [comment link]
17. signab43 wrote:

Sarah, especially may the peace and love of Jesus shine on you.

April 26, 12:45 am | [comment link]
18. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “Of course, it’s possible that this particular ideologue recognizes the absurdity of the statement, in which case the problem is one of honesty.”

My votes on that explanation, Words Matter.  ; > )

RE: “I’m just trying to be the best husband and father that I can be. That is what marriage was designed for.”

Mmm hmm.  So why should such a societal expansion of the legal definition of marriage only apply to those who have same-gender sexual attractions?  Why shouldn’t it apply also to those of polyamorous sexual attractions or those of sibling sexual attractions?  After all—they’re “just trying to be the best husband and father that I can be.”

RE: “That is what marriage was designed for.”

Nonsense.  Marriage was designed to take one adult male and one adult female and form such an alliance into a societally recognized and acceptable and legal partnership.  No more, no less.  Just because hosts and hosts of people have all manner of sexual attractions to other things than the opposite gender—their adult siblings, multiple people, life-challenged people, and shoes, to name just a few—does not mean that “marriage is designed” to slap together a person with his or her particular and special sexual attraction, give societal and legal recognition to it, and call it a “marriage.”

RE: “I should have the opportunity to live my life the way I believe God wants me to live . . . “

Indeed—so say all sinners.  I say that every day when I see something I wish I could have too.  “I should have the opportunity to live my life the way I believe God wants me to live . . . ” ; > )

RE: “You’ve said a lot of hurtful stuff here.”

I’m sure that it is hurtful to have one’s wild and irrational accusations, purple-prosed exaggerations, blanket and false assertions, and standard boilerplate activist rhetoric, [not to mention the taking of a thread entirely off-topic to indulge whatever irritation one is feeling about California political resistance against your agenda] pointed out in a public forum.

It also hurts to have it pointed out that the entire gay activist cause is hypocritically based only on wanting society’s expansion of the legal definition of marriage for their particular and specific sexual orientation—but not for any of the the other differing sexual orientations out there.

But that’s what comes of getting irritated with one’s political opponents in a certain state, entering a public thread about some other topic entirely, and using one’s irritation as an excuse to sound off with irrational boilerplate inanities, entirely off-topic.

April 26, 7:51 am | [comment link]
19. signab43 wrote:

Sarah. 1 Timothy 2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. So shut up and learn something.

Mr. Lischer wrote a wonderful article about the hard life ministers have, and how rewarding it is to be doing God’s work. From the perspective of a gay dad, I joined his lament saying how it makes me sad to see so much energy going into dividing the church, against the efforts of Mr. Lischer’s angels.

Not every gay man goes out on Friday night to sneak into scout tents, just like not every priest does youth ministry so he can get a flock to molest. I believe, like I’m sure most of us on this forum, in monogamy, family, keeping promises, and the love of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I’m not trying to hijack this thread or spread some jingoistic agenda.  I’m trying to live my life as Jesus told me to, loving God, and loving my neighbor as myself. As Mr. Lischer might point out - to those who actually read his article - it is really especially hard to do God’s work when society and economics are rigged against you. But different people find Jesus in different ways, I told you my way. If you want to exclude me from His church, that’s fine. Good luck. That’s not your decision though.

Banning gays from marriage makes as much sense as banning women from posting to this forum. If you disagree with me, your argument is with the bible, not with me.

Peace.

April 26, 8:26 am | [comment link]
20. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “So shut up and learn something.”

A little peevish there, huh?  ; > )

RE: “I joined his lament . . . “

No—you deliberately took the thread entirely off-topic, and continue to do so, willfully.

RE: “I’m not trying to hijack this thread or spread some jingoistic agenda.”

You did, and you are, as you mistakenly made crystal clear in your first off-topic comment.

RE: “Banning gays from marriage makes as much sense as banning women from posting to this forum.”

More illogic and incoherence.  “Banning [polyamorous marriages] makes as much sense as banning women from posting to this forum.”  “Banning [adult consensual siblings] from marriage makes as much sense as banning women from posting to this forum.”

RE: “If you disagree with me, your argument is with the bible, not with me.”

I’m afraid you wouldn’t be able to tell—since you’ve demonstrated already that you don’t even know what Jesus said about sex.

April 26, 8:49 am | [comment link]
21. Words Matter wrote:

Banning gays from marriage makes as much sense as banning women from posting to this forum.

Or perhaps:

Banning diabetics from eating sugar makes as much sense as ...
or
Banning alcoholics from drinking wine makes as much sense as ...

You inability to mount a rational argument, signab43, is standard boilerplate, as Sarah noted, made marginally more interesting by fundamentalist style proof texting. But if I were attempting to marry sodomy to Christianity, I think I might take a different tack.

April 26, 8:53 am | [comment link]
22. signab43 wrote:

Ah, Sarah. By every standard that you set out to condemn me, you continue to teach against the word of God. Is it possible that people can find Jesus in more than one way? And in any event, is it your role to limit those ways?

Those who accuse me of deviating from the topic of this post (Mr. Lischer’s article from the Wall St. Journal) but then you pick apart my every word are amusing but not productive. So let’s stay on topic.

April 26, 9:32 am | [comment link]
23. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “you continue to teach against the word of God.”

You wouldn’t know—as you have well demonstrated on this thread.

RE: “And in any event, is it your role to limit those ways?”

Nope—merely to actively resist political agendas with which I disagree and to fulfil my role as an American citizen—which recall was what you started out your off-topic comments trumpeting about the horror of . . . ; > )

RE: ” . .  but then you pick apart my every word are amusing but not productive.”

Amusing is fine of course—but the productiveness of demonstrating the incoherence of your stances as well as pointing out your purple prose is, I think, fairly obvious on this thread.  It’s always productive to allow people to hang themselves on their own illogic, and then point it out publicly.  . .  Not productive for them, of course, but productive for those who disagree with their agenda.  ; > )

April 26, 10:16 am | [comment link]
24. signab43 wrote:

I find it curious that when I initiate discussion about the role of the pastor in ministering to same-sex couples, I feel like I am attacked personally.

For example, when I pointed out to Sarah that as a woman she is free to be a lesbian (Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 only apply to men; Ruth exchanged marriage vows with Naomi in Ruth 1:17 and bore a Son - Obed - with Naomi in Ruth 4:17), but as a woman she is in vile contempt for posting on this religious forum (“suffer not a woman to teach” 1 Timothy 2:21; “Let your women keep their silence in the churches” 1 Corinthians 14:34) and that she is off topic (“The head of EVERY man is Christ; and the head of the woman IS the MAN” 1 Corinthians 11:3) - when I do all that, she not only keeps posting, but instead of refruting my points, just insults me.

Now either her husband should give her a good beating, or we should have all learned something from the Bible about what Jesus wants us to do: to challenge the old laws every day and in every way whenever they get in the way of Jesus. (Titus 1:9). That’s what Mr. Lischer’s angels are doing when they give up fame and fortune to minister to the last, least and lost. And all we can do is slap them in the face by sending money to California to “protect marriage” from honest people who are trying to make a commitment to each other?

Maybe I am crude in my arguments, perhaps I am occasionally “illogical” but it breaks my heart to see resources wasted to shun people who are no more sinners than Sarah is every time she posts to this place where people gather in His name.

April 27, 1:15 am | [comment link]
25. Sarah1 wrote:

Heh—getting even angrier there, Signab43?  It certainly appears so by your rhetoric.  ; > )

Sorry—I don’t engage on scripture with people who have clearly indicated their complete lack of knowledge of Jesus’s words, as well as their manifest political agenda in contradiction to those words.

Nor were you insulted by me at all—but certainly your arguments were publicly insulted, since you chose to introduce them in a public manner on this thread.

I engaged with your arguments—such as they were—and they were roundly demonstrated to be incoherent, inconsistent, purple-prosed boilerplate rhetoric [not to mention entirely off-topic.]

Further—the marvelous 2 million dollars spent in California to resist gay activists’ agenda of expanding the legal definition of marriage in order to provide forced societal approval of their particular and specific sexual activities [but oddly enough, nobody else’s particular and specific sexual activities of those orientations which are in the minority] is not working to “shun people” but merely to defeat the agenda of gay activists.

And it is money that is well spent.

Thanks to signab43, I have found for the first time the California Protect Marriage web site and urge all those who are still laboring through this now entirely off-topic thread which has been ignored by the elves to hie hence and see what you can do to support these folks.

http://www.protectmarriage.com/howtohelp.php

There are numerous opportunities, as one can see.

April 27, 9:14 am | [comment link]
26. signab43 wrote:

If you think that the best way to love God with all your heart, body, soul and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself, is to block committed couples from making the commitment of marriage, then by all means, “protect marriage” by sending your money to California.

However, if you would like to encourage people to get married instead of “shacking up,” you can use the blessings God gave you to heal the sick and feed the poor. Mr. Lischer’s angels could use that a lot more than a bunch of peoplehaters in California.

The Jesus I know doesn’t stand in the way of couples and commitments. That, sadly, would be he province of selfish men and   women, who apply rules to others they are unwilling to accept for themselves.

April 27, 2:40 pm | [comment link]
27. libraryjim wrote:

Three people:
Rev. Ernestine Barkley, head of the Literacy Council of Gadsden County.  Works as a Literacy councillor in addition to working as a minister, to help the church not pay so much in salary.

Moses (last name unknown), pastor of a small church and manager of KFC in Quincy, Florida, for the same reasons.  I’ve seen him on his work break on the phone minsitering and praying with his parishoners.

Howard (again, last name unkown), works at Burger King in Quincy. Again a minister (not pastor) at his small church, always greets me with “have a blessed day!” when I get my food.  Acted as spiritual advisor on several occasions to me.

Not related: but all three of the above are African-American.

There is nothing wrong with the ‘tent-maker’ minsiters.  Inmany ways, I find them more committed than those who pull in big bucks for a minimum of work and questionable theology at large churches.

Peace
Jim Elliott <><

April 27, 6:19 pm | [comment link]
28. libraryjim wrote:

Elves,
where are you???

:-(

April 27, 6:25 pm | [comment link]
29. physician without health wrote:

Thank you Library Jim.  The post was not originally about same sex marriages, but the very topic you discuss in item 27.

April 27, 7:31 pm | [comment link]
30. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “If you think that the best way to love God with all your heart, body, soul and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself, is to block committed couples from making the commitment of marriage . . . “

Oh—the best way “to love God with all your heart, body, soul and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself,” is to keep His commandments, as Jesus stated.  And of course it is never “loving” to encourage people to harm themselves and to do wrong.

RE: “Mr. Lischer’s angels could use that a lot more than a bunch of peoplehaters in California.”

LOL—more purple-prosed boilerplate rhetoric against those who resist the political agenda of gay activists.  Just makes people smile. “People haters” are those who resist my political agenda, says signab43.  ; > )

RE: “The Jesus I know . . . “

Oh—there’s no doubt we don’t know or love the same gospel nor the same “Jesus”—that goes without saying after the several instances of complete ignorance of what Jesus said or claimed.

RE: ” . . . the province of selfish men and women, who apply rules to others they are unwilling to accept for themselves.”

Yep—all those people of homosexual orientation who wish to expand the legal definition of marriage by forcing society to pretend its approval for their special and particular sexual activities—but not all of the special and particular sexual activities of those minorities with other sexual orientations.

Disgraceful hypocrisy.

April 27, 10:25 pm | [comment link]
31. signab43 wrote:

I think a lot of us tend to judge the shepherd by the size of his flock, not the quality of his wool. What Library Jim and Richard Lischer both reminded us is the way that “tentmaker” pastors are able to minister in the most unusual circumstances. What these “tentmakers” teach me is that each of us can make a difference in other people’s lives too, even without being full-time or even part-time pastors. We are all capable of helping others - there are more ways to tithe than just giving money.

April 28, 1:53 am | [comment link]
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