family

Review: The New Vintage Family

The New Vintage Family
by Drenda Keesee

Everyone seems to want vintage things these days. Hipsters are after old treasures. Antiques are still sold all over! So… why not the vintage family? Does it still work in this world? In The New Vintage Family Drenda Keesee shows how the “vintage family” that God commanded way back when not only works, but it far preferable to most modern families.

Except… don’t.

Don’t read this book. Don’t buy it. Stay away. (more…)

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In the Shadow of Giants, I Stand

The view from the percussionist during the last rehearsal

The view from the percussionist during the last rehearsal

It was the last time.

For the last time, he lifted his baton and looked over the orchestra. Bows lifted at the ready over so many violins and violas. Brass players inhaled. The percussionists readied to strike cymbals and drums. For the last time he gave the downbeat. For the last time he brought forth music from the mob. For the last time he tamed the high schoolers he had taught for so many years and caused them to create a singular sound. For this final performance so many joined – former students flooded the stage with their instruments. Before the downbeat, the call had to go out: more chairs! There’s not enough room for everyone! Colleagues from the professional symphony he played in. Friends and fellow teachers.

And me.

For the last time, I played under my father’s baton. For the last time, I held mallets to strike the drums. For the last time, I followed the rhythm he set. (more…)

The Curse of the Family Portrait

I have a problem with family portraits.

It has nothing to do with my complete lack of good looks. True, I worry about shattering the camera’s lens every time I smile, but that’s not what my problem is.

Every time we’ve taken a family portrait, my wife shortly thereafter announces that she’s pregnant.

About a year after we got married, our then-church had a membership directory made. Cool! We’d get our first family portrait! Except… There was three of us in that portrait. We just didn’t know she was pregnant at the time.

Rinse and repeat for children two and three.

So, what does this have to do with ministry?

My congregation is about to celebrate its 100th anniversary. We met today to discuss how to celebrate. We’re having a special service. We’re going to take a look at the time capsule put in the cornerstone when the church was built 100 years ago. Oh, and we’re going to have a new member directory made. With pictures of everyone!

And there’s no way one of those is going to be made without the pastor getting his picture in there. With his family, of course.

Which means… within the next year, we’re having a family portrait.

And if God continues to laugh in the same chortle he’s had at my family for years… in about a year and a half, I’ll have another child visible for all to see.

You think I can get someone to pretend to be me, thus negating the family portrait, and no one will notice?

My office is a mess.

It’s not quite this level… yet.

My office is a mess.

No, I don’t think you understand. My office also happens to be in my house. I’ve not laid good boundaries with my family, so the kids and my bride are often in here. They leave their droppings behind. You know the type: The toy, the book, the art project. My office looks like it once was a pastor’s office, but then a house vomited all its contents into the office, and I’m still trying to wash the chunky remains off.

If this were my private office, I might grouse, but that would be the end of it. The problem is, this room also serves as my public office.

I’m not the type to insist on perfect cleanliness. It’s going to be dusty. There’s going to be piles of books and papers on the desk.

But this is ridiculous. I can’t welcome congregation members into here. Not in the state it’s in. And I certainly can’t invite prospects in here to share Jesus. The room would serve as too much of a distraction.

When we first moved here, I designed the office to be welcoming. Besides the desk, I’ve got two very comfy stuffed chairs and a reclining couch. I’ve got a fridge stocked with snacks and drinks. I’ve got one of those little fountain things that are just plain nifty. It’s meant to be welcoming.

Right now the only thing it’s welcoming is a bulldozer to drive the entire room into a deep, deep hole.

I might be harsh. It’s also Lent, which shortens my patience and my tolerance for anything.

Yet, I don’t feel comfortable inviting people into this office.

Time for a change. Time to do some cleaning. In all my spare time. Maybe it’ll be a project for the week after Easter – when things calm down a bit. I do know I need to lay down some boundaries with my family – the office needs to remain a professional place, not a family gathering place.

It’s a fine line to walk; I want my family to be welcome here. My professional and family lives properly overlap quite a bit; after all, my bride and kids are part of the congregation I serve, too! They need to feel welcome.

But everyone else needs to feel welcome, too. If a person is distracted by the piles of children’s toys, they’ll have a harder time hearing God’s Word as I try to share it with them. If they’re paying attention to the art projects left behind, they won’t hear the mastery of God’s work in their lives. And so it’s time to clean.

Sigh.

(It doesn’t help that I have several piles of books in here that just need to get sorted and shelved… Maybe I should just stop buying new books? Oh, forget that heresy. There shall always be new books!)