Like their counterparts in secular professions, most pastors will one day reach a certain age or face health reasons that prompt them to move into the phase of life known as “retirement.”
Observing the sabbath can be tough for ministers, but taking time away from the demands of ministry can help them maintain emotional, physical and spiritual health.
A 2015 LifeWay Research survey of 1,500 pastors of evangelical and historically black churches revealed 84 percent said they are “on call” 24 hours a day. The survey showed 54 percent found the pastor’s role frequently overwhelming, and 48 percent said they often felt the demands of their job to be more than they could handle.
Some ministers “unplug” on a regular basis by turning off cell phones and computers for a prescribed time each week and taking time away from the church office. Some enjoy periodic retreats at conference centers. Others find it hard to get away from the day-to-day grind.
The day dawned mild and sunny on the Gasconade River in southwest Missouri. As veteran floaters of this waterway, we anticipated a quiet, peaceful trip. And that’s just what we got. Using a large four-seater Osage canoe made in Lebanon, our group put in at Austin Ford on Wright County’s Route E for this short trip, and took out at Buzzard’s Bluff. Handling our own transportation, we tied the canoe to the top of a farm truck.
With two vehicles—one to leave at the pickup point and the other to transport the floaters and canoe—we set off for a day on the river. Packing simple provisions of Spam, saltines, plastic bottles of frozen water, and a few other items, we feasted on a gravel bar with a repast that tasted more like a five-course luncheon than a meal from a can. The bottled water soon warmed—but it was still wet!
Life on the river carries its own unique lessons. Here, the senses are on overload in this peaceful environment. There were times when the only sound was of the paddles dipping and lifting in the current. Once, we froze in silence as an otter and her young cavorted among the tree roots on the nearby bank. Yet these playful little imps showed no fear of us. One of the wiser Missourians in our canoe surmised, “It was because nothing in the water had ever done them harm.” Continue reading
The China of yesterday is one of the oldest civilizations known to man. In this land once ruled by Emperors, architectural remains tell the story of how people lived and worked. Located on the eastern part of Asia, the land covers 3.7 million square miles and one-fifth of the world’s population.
In the cities, family apartments and office buildings compete for land space and high-rise structures often reach 50 floors.
With more people owning cars, city streets are congested and filled with bicycles, taxis and tour buses. Yet, in the older areas of the cities and especially on the small rural farms, life continues as it has for generations.
If we could step back in time, say the 1950s, we might not recognize our congregations of today. For example, on a typical Sunday morning, no well-bred Southern woman would think of going to church without a hat, white gloves, a lacy handkerchief tucked into a clutch-bag, high heels and sheer hose with a seam running down the back. For men: a dark suit, long sleeve (starched) white shirt, tie and a fedora.
One pastor friend remembers how the men of his church met and decided it would be appropriate to wear a short sleeve dress shirt with a tie for the evening service. The reason? The church was not air-conditioned.
Not only in church are our clothes becoming less formal, but in other aspects of life. Instead of dressing up to board a plane, we journey in comfortable clothes. In fact, gym clothes seem to be the trend for travel.
St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated March 17, the date of Saint Patrick’s death in the fifth century. In Ireland this is both a national holiday and a holy day.
As the patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick was credited as the person who brought Christianity to the Irish. Although not a legal holiday in the United States, the day is recognized as a celebration of Irish and Irish-American cultures. It is estimated that about 39 million U.S. residents claim Irish ancestry. The day has been celebrated in North America since the late 18th century.
In our childhood, objects that were a common everyday event may have taken little notice. As we grow older, memories come flooding back when we least expected them to surface. Perhaps it’s the smell of a familiar fragrance, watching a trail of ants working together to carry a larger insect back to their nest, or the erosion of a ditch bank that reveals hidden treasures. For me, it was picking up a ripe pear in a West Tennessee Farmers’ Market. This simple act reminded me of the pear tree from my childhood, whose branches and shade allowed me to visit a pretend land of make-believe.
A few feet from the back porch of my childhood home stood a huge pear tree. I recall stories of this being the only sweet summer pear tree anywhere around our community. Who planted this tree? Where did the seed come from? Could an early pioneer have dropped a pear while traveling this land, moving westward after crossing the Appalachian Mountains? Even without these answers, I knew the tree produced an abundance of fruit as generations of family and neighbors walked by, filling burlap bags with the juicy, sweet treats.