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Messages - peter_speckhard

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1
Your Turn / Re: Ben Carson on politics and cultural division
« on: Yesterday at 09:03:25 PM »
This is an excellent summary of the cultural divide.

https://www.commentary.org/articles/bari-weiss/resist-woke-revolution/

2
Your Turn / Interesting article about formation.
« on: Yesterday at 05:53:16 PM »
https://stream.org/jesus-and-the-moody-blues-a-rediscovered-letter-from-my-favorite-teacher/

Mark Judge is mostly known these days as the high school best friend of Brett Kavanaugh. Judge has battled addiction and a roller coaster life, but this remembrance of his mentor is poignant and profound.

3
Your Turn / Re: Early Retirement
« on: Yesterday at 03:56:54 PM »
Long, long experience and observation, especially in handling interims and handling. Conflicts have led me to believe that extended pastorates are a bad idea. Ten years, 15 years maybe, but when you get into the 20 and 25 year pastorates, Not even to mention the ones that may run for 30 or 35 years, there are problems.
Often that can be handled by an intentional interim, who stays for two or three years to make the needed transition. But the interim needs to be strong and forceful and key congregational leadership and synod leaders have to be supportive. I did one that failed and one that succeeded, and the failure was because key congregational leadership only pretended to be on board with the transition.
30 year pastorates might bring some glory and love to the pastor, but they seem to leave problems for the congregation.
On the other hand, I saw one long-term pastor lose his reputation because five years before retirement he locked everything down the way he wanted and resisted any kind of change, coasting to retirement and ruining his relationship with the congregation who was actually glad to see him leave.


Conversely, one thing that Rick Warren discovered before even starting his congregation, that all of the large congregations he studied had long-term pastorates. Changing pastors every 10 years will not result in long-term growth. Along the same lines, I remember reading an article or book by Robert Schuller who talked about making 40 year goals for the congregation. The expectation is that the pastor will still be there after 40 years.


Granted, the down-side of this is that when the long-term pastor leaves, all the people who joined (because of the pastor) may also leave. Robert Schuller's ministry virtually disappeared after he left. His Chrystal Cathedral was bought the the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange. It's now called "Christ Cathedral." What was once one of the largest ELCA congregations, Community Church of Joy, no longer exists as a Lutheran congregation. They were bought by an even larger Assembly of God congregation.


I think that a question congregations need to consider: "What can we do to keep this pastor and the ministry vital over the next 40-50 years?" I don't think that congregations often think about long-term goals and ministries. They often live from month-to-month; and look at the whole year only at budget time. What about planning five-year and ten-year budgets (that could be going up or down depending on what the circumstances are)?
There is a cause-effect assumption in Warren’s observation. It could just as easily be that successful, healthy situations result in longer term pastorates because everyone is happy, not that the congregation is healthy and successful because of the longer term pastorates.

4
Your Turn / Re: Early Retirement
« on: Yesterday at 09:50:25 AM »
I’ve seen both sides of the issue when it is the congregation pushing for early retirement of the pastor. There is always the issue of the divine call vs. hire/fire mentality. And there is always the issue of competing views on the pastor’s continued effectiveness. But one that sometimes frustrates me is that pastors take for granted that their personal aims and finances factor into the retirement decision but bristle at the idea that the congregation’s aims and finances should have a say. The pastor may want to keep working in order to maximize social security and retirement income, but if the congregation wants him to retire so that they can replace him with someone much younger to reduce the salary line item in the budget, well, that is unconscionable and denying the divine call. It can be a bit one-sided, and sometimes otherwise great pastor/parish relationship sour toward the end over issues like that.

5
Your Turn / Re: Once again, in loco parentis
« on: Yesterday at 09:37:03 AM »
http://www.newamericancivilrightsproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Letter-to-Attorney-General-Garland-10.15.2021.pdf

This is an excellent letter that shows not only how the federal apparatus can be weaponized, but also highlights the stark difference between those who understand teaching authority as deriving from the 4th Commandment and the statist view by which experts, not parents, are rightfully in charge of education.

6
Your Turn / Re: Ben Carson on politics and cultural division
« on: October 15, 2021, 05:08:25 PM »
https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2021/10/14/climate-activists-indigenous-interior-department/

Gee, I wonder if these armed insurrectionists will spend months in solitary confinement. Will the officials who encouraged radical climate activism be investigated?

7
Your Turn / Re: Ben Carson on politics and cultural division
« on: October 15, 2021, 04:52:34 PM »
Peter:
People do not have a right to my attention.
Me:
Actually, I think they sort of do. We live in a communal society, and if what you believe and say and do is impacting them negatively, they have a right to bring that to your attention, and you have the obligation to listen to them.

Peter:
If I ignore them, that doesn’t give them the right to break things so that I’ll pay attention to them.
Me:
No, it doesn’t. But the point is that not everything is right or wrong, lawful or unlawful. And sometimes those categories need to be bent or even broken. Otherwise we wouldn’t even have a country like ours.

Peter:
That is the kind of thinking that leads to violent conflict.
Me:
And yours is the kind of quietism or hyper-obedience that also leads to some rather terrible things.
By the way, it seems that it is the followers of your guy who are most prone to violence these days.
A: If anyone is impacted negatively by my behavior, then they can talk to me civilly or alert the authorities. Maybe I have put a lot of consideration into their views and decided that they are wrong. My failure to behave the way they think I should behave is not proof I have ignored them. And if I have ignored them, unless I’ve done something against the law, so be it, they’ll just have to go about their business without my attention. And if their business involves violence, justice demands that law enforcement protect me from them.

B: I don’t know any “followers” of “my guy” who are prone to unlawful violence, and if they were I would condemn it. There is nothing remotely comparable to the Portland and, before that, Seattle on the conservative side of our cultural divide.

8
Your Turn / Re: Ben Carson on politics and cultural division
« on: October 15, 2021, 03:16:52 PM »
Peter writes:
If you fail to reject Antifa, the destruction of property done by BLM, the nonsense in Portland and Seattle, and even the antics of college students to shut down speakers they don’t like, then you are an enemy of civil discourse and a de facto advocate for chaos and eventual open warfare.

I comment:
Well, I guess that settles it. Always glad to have your final judgment, Peter.
Let’s see if Pastor Fienen has the same reaction to your judgemental statement as he does to my, by comparison, rather mild criticisms of certain political and social factions.
And you may be an example of the kind of person who doesn’t pay any attention to an issue until some people break things.
I am not any such example. But if I were, so what? People do not have a right to my attention. If I ignore them, that doesn’t give them the right to break things so that I’ll pay attention to them. That is the kind of thinking that leads to violent conflict.

9
Your Turn / Re: Ben Carson on politics and cultural division
« on: October 15, 2021, 12:36:20 PM »
Peter, I do not advocate “throwing out the rules.” I’m not talking about the rules. I’m talking about the people with whom we interact.
It is focusing on the rules, and who obeys them best, and who best exemplifies the reasons for the rules that leads to tyranny.
You are in fact talking about throwing out the (informal) rules of civil discourse when you do not condemn those who routinely break them. If someone being hectored in the bathroom feels threatened and responds with pepper spray, everything breaks down. If you fail to reject Antifa, the destruction of property done by BLM, the nonsense in Portland and Seattle, and even the antics of college students to shut down speakers they don’t like, then you are an enemy of civil discourse and a de facto advocate for chaos and eventual open warfare.

10
Your Turn / Re: Ben Carson on politics and cultural division
« on: October 15, 2021, 08:59:48 AM »
Consider for example the man who believes (facts are in dispute) that his daughter was raped in the school restroom by a boy in a skirt who came in there under the school’s trans policy. He was passionate, committed, and well-intentioned in trying to show the school board the absurdity and danger of playing along with teenagers’ delusions or deceptions regarding their sex. He was shouted down, mocked, and arrested to the cheers of those leading the meeting.

The rules of civility and discourse are what allow people who are passionate, committed, and well-intentioned but who have contrary goals to coexist in a functional society. The Byzantine rules of Congress— who may speak and when, what committees may or may not do, etc.— are in place so that representatives who passionately disagree with each other and want to take the country in opposite directions can nevertheless debate and vote. Throw out the rules of congress and soon you will have no congress or representation. The rules of civility are just the same kind of thing at an informal level. Throw out the rules of civility and soon you won’t have civilization. You’ll have roving bands of enforcers trying to impose order according to their passionate commitments. You will have CHAZ on a national scale, and as soon as conservatives decide they’ve had enough, you’ll have the eradication of CHAZ on a national scale.

11
Your Turn / Re: Early Retirement
« on: October 14, 2021, 08:08:19 PM »
I think the kind of fatigue that affects many of us who grew up with the old expectations of what church and society were and now find ourselves in a world where everything has changed is not physical or mental in the regular sense of doing exercise or figuring out a brain teaser. It is the unavoidable fatigue of being responsible for something that isn't working and not knowing what to do about that. Part of may be perception. I remember a pastor friend whose church really grew in the twenty-something and thirty-something crowds said one key to his success with them is that he grew up an atheist and was a convert to Christianity, so he had no built-in vision of what things were supposed to be like. For example, younger people don't come to church every week, they come every now and then. To him there was nothing particularly abnormal about that, but other pastors would tear out their hair trying to figure it. Naturally he encouraged regular attendance, but the lack of it didn't drain him.

That's why I think a model that might work in the future is having the "senior" pastor actually be the junior pastor and having the more experienced pastor serve as a sounding board. What saps the energies of an older pastor doesn't necessarily phase a younger pastor, and most of the areas of ministry affected by that are in the decision-making and administrative side of things. If you're a stranger in a strange land, get help from the locals on logistical/organizational things, and the young people are native to this new world.   

That's a good suggestion at the same time it's a recipe for disaster.  The right #2 and #1 guy, sure.  The usual #2 and #1 guy and the former #2 does not want a sounding board, or the former #1 wants the sounding board to be the seal of approval for what he the #1 would want to do; the other ingredient is the people in the pew, who either wanted or didn't want the new arrangement and either will still go to the former #1 or will tell the new #1 they never liked the old guy and not to take any advice he gives. 

That being said, people are a little more able to work this through these days because there are less viable options out in the field - in other words, the grass is not actually looking greener in the other pasture, it's more like some kind of mold or fungus over there and we don't want to catch it.

Dave Benke
Yes, it’s like a gutsy play call. If it works, the coach is a genius. If not, what the bleep was he thinking? I’ve always had good success in team ministry. After my MAL experience I was an associate for a few years and have been senior pastor of two larger, multi-staff churches for the last twenty years, and never had a bad working relationship with staff or emeritus guys. But I know many people for whom the blessing of team ministry was very well hidden indeed behind character-building train wreck experiences. So I know I have been blessed in that regard.

I think you come to a point where you realize someone who knows the waters should be at the helm and someone who knows the ship should be assisting. Increasingly, I feel like I know the ship but not the waters, and I suspect someone who is in his twenties right now is in the opposite position of knowing the waters but not the ship. It might not be here just yet, but the day will come when I am far more effective as the one who gets the ship to go where the captain wants it than the one who is charting the course.

12
Your Turn / Re: Ben Carson on politics and cultural division
« on: October 14, 2021, 04:41:59 PM »
No. I do not “defend” yelling at people as they deal with generally private bodily functions. I thought I said that.
But I do understand why it is done, and can Support the yeller’s commitment, passion and intentions.
I also understand why it is done, and can support anyone's commitment, passion and intentions if we understand those intentions in their terms. That is true of most people who do things that are clearly wrong and worthy of being condemned. Your refusal to call out the perpetrator is what is relevant here. If I were the yeller, I would consider you an ally and feel supported, not confronted, by your words.

13
Your Turn / Re: Early Retirement
« on: October 14, 2021, 02:22:38 PM »
I think the kind of fatigue that affects many of us who grew up with the old expectations of what church and society were and now find ourselves in a world where everything has changed is not physical or mental in the regular sense of doing exercise or figuring out a brain teaser. It is the unavoidable fatigue of being responsible for something that isn't working and not knowing what to do about that. Part of may be perception. I remember a pastor friend whose church really grew in the twenty-something and thirty-something crowds said one key to his success with them is that he grew up an atheist and was a convert to Christianity, so he had no built-in vision of what things were supposed to be like. For example, younger people don't come to church every week, they come every now and then. To him there was nothing particularly abnormal about that, but other pastors would tear out their hair trying to figure it. Naturally he encouraged regular attendance, but the lack of it didn't drain him.

That's why I think a model that might work in the future is having the "senior" pastor actually be the junior pastor and having the more experienced pastor serve as a sounding board. What saps the energies of an older pastor doesn't necessarily phase a younger pastor, and most of the areas of ministry affected by that are in the decision-making and administrative side of things. If you're a stranger in a strange land, get help from the locals on logistical/organizational things, and the young people are native to this new world.   

14
Your Turn / Re: Early Retirement
« on: October 14, 2021, 01:07:34 PM »
I turn 52 today, so early retirement isn't an issue on the radar yet, but one thing I think might serve a lot of people well is something comparable to Dan Fienen's situation, though hopefully not related to conflict but to simply slowing down with age. A pastor can still serve in the same basic capacity but at a different level of energy demands. One alternative would be the small parish that can't afford a full time pastor. But another might be team ministry in a place that has a strong senior pastor. Part time doesn't have to mean small parish.

I could easily see myself going either of those routes down the road. A key thing Dave said upstream is, "It's tougher right now due to the virus and the way things have changed..." Covid has been a big stressor, but the way things have changed is an ongoing stressor. The church of the future will need the wisdom and perspective of age, but probably the institutional leadership of the young. Sometimes burnout is avoidable if you take a step back and do something a little more focused without being responsible for everything. Was Ed said about the strain of being "the guy," the one in charge of and responsible for everything, is something you can only do for so long. It has nothing to do with preaching and teaching and visiting or serving the Lord by serving His people. It has everything to do with the energy of keeping fifty details in your head and making all the decisions, as well as not requiring the energy of translating all your basic assumptions and outlooks into a new world. Pastors approaching retirement age are increasingly strangers in a strange land, and that takes energy. Soon, a church might be better served by a younger pastor who grew up with the outlook of "the ways things have changed" but advised by an older and more experiences associate pastor.

My idea of early retirement would be phased. Right now I'm the senior pastor of a pretty substantial operation, but the things I enjoy about pastoral ministry and think I'm good at have little to do with the added responsibilities of being senior pastor. In eight or ten years I could see myself serving here or at a similar place but as an associate or in a part time capacity, easing into retirement by taking the burden of administration and decision-making away and leaving Bible studies, some preaching, visitation, or perhaps some focused aspect of ministry (just not the comprehensive whole that Ed talked about). Or going to a much smaller church as a full-time or part-time pastor. I can't picture ever being totally out of ministry, but I can picture becoming a liability without knowing it, and would choose to ease into retirement, whether early or not, rather than having a last Sunday and waking up Monday retired. But as we know, a lot can change, and quickly, and looking more than a month down the road is trickier now than ever.   

15
Your Turn / Re: Ben Carson on politics and cultural division
« on: October 14, 2021, 10:51:16 AM »
Peter:
Preserve…and structures of society that have served the nation well…
Me:
In the mind of many, Peter, not everyone in their society has been so well served by those cultures and structures. Some have even been harmed.
True. Hence the conflict. Some want to tear them down. Some want to preserve them. Almost every disagreement on cultural issues depends on whether you think America is a flawed but essentially a force for good, and so in need of repairs here and there to maintain and preserve its essence, or whether you think America is and has been essentially a regrettable force for oppression.

I think a lot of people refuse to understand history in the way the people who lived it understood it. For example, the right to vote is not the center and essence of having one's humanity and human rights recognized. Back when land-owning males were the only voters, the conceptual idea was that of representation. Congress was the distilled voice of the people and the franchise was a layer between the government and the individual, the family. So it isn't like people on the 19th Century weren't sure whether women were fully people or had the same rights conferred by their Creator. They simply didn't understand society as entirely atomized into either individuals or the collective.

Base motives are shared by everyone. Noble motives can only be understood by people who share them. So all explanations that include noble motives will sound like fiction, bs propaganda, or window-dressing to people who only understand base motives. You can always say he or she only did it for the fame and money, or out of pride and self-righteousness, and that explanation will always cover the facts. It just won't be true. Proving it isn't true is complicated though.   

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