28 April 2012

Elisabeth Badinter and CSPP, together at last

No wonder I dropped out of Attachment Parenting ™ ®. It's caused by contraception.

27 April 2012

Super secrety secrets

There are three areas of the pastor's life which often occasion some level of confidence. The first is what he has going on with the circuit, region, district, and Synod, and all the people associated with those entities (circuit counselors, district presidents, various bureaucrats). The second is what he discusses with his pastor friends and colleagues, ie, the guys to whom he takes his troubles instead of all those clowns at Winkel who don't do things his way. The third is what is happening in the parish he serves. These areas overlap a lot, but they almost always start in the parish, which is where the pastor's wife goes to church every week, which is why things get complicated.

Some couples share pretty much everything (obviously anything heard in the confessional must be excluded from "pretty much everything"). There is an argument to be made for the safety of this approach. Things shared between husbands and wives are whatever is one step down from sacred. It can be done that way.

The danger of the "sharing pretty much everything" approach is that pastors necessarily get tangled up in some yucky things. It is often easier for the wife simply not to know about them, whether it involves a DP or a senior pastor or an elder or a choir director or any old parishioner. If the wife knows much about a personal conflict in which her husband is involved, she's probably either going to get mad and have trouble remaining civil to someone[s], or get scared or depressed and end up avoiding church. There is usually not a thing she can do to change the situation. Her involvement only ends up meaning sadness for her and no help to anyone else. So sometimes it is to the benefit of everyone for her not to know what's going on. Where then is nosiness? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of tyranny? No, but by a law of common sense. That is something a pastor's wife should know and be OK with so that she does not make her husband's life any harder.

But no one likes the mushroom treatment except mushrooms, which wives aren't. One of my older wisers advised me that she and her husband resolved this struggle with the conclusion that anything that wasn't actually a Secret was something that he could and often should tell her simply as a social courtesy (especially true for the at-home wife with limited social inlets). That is something a  pastor husband should know and be OK with so that his wife does not feel disrespected and left out.

Mehr Licht!

The parish is always personal for the pastor's family, and often the greater ecclesia is too. Sometimes a wife needs to know everything, either because everyone else does or because it affects her personally. Sometimes it's more helpful to give her a general heads up about topics or people needing gentle handling. Sometimes it's best for her to know absolutely nothing other than not to bother waiting up for him tonight.

There are times when the pastor's wife is the last person to know something everyone else knows (whether in the parish or among pastor-family peers). There are times when she accidentally learns something she  wishes she hadn't (this also happened to me as a PK, so we need to help our kids through this question some too). Neither of those scenarios feels good, but it's only a big deal if the Frau Pastor makes it one. The pastor and his wife have to muddle through it with mutual trust, consideration, and respect. If I've learned anything, it's that being mad at anyone never pays off, and keeping my mouth shut when I'm mad always does.

Perspective and good humor go a long way, too. Once I was with a pastor-wife-friend when the husbands blundered into a super-secret conversation in our presence and had to hussle off to bewail the hour's catastrophe away from our virgin ears. My friend whispered politely as she wiped a pot dry, "They all think they're in the CIA, and they're just pastors." So they are, the dears. But they love their CIA, and there is nothing to be gained by begrudging them the joy it brings them. We would do well to remember that nothing makes a secret less intriguing than learning it how boring it actually is. I also know that when my husband walks through the room while a  friend and I are discussing a sister-in-law's sister-in-law's retained placenta, we put the conversation on hold. Isn't it nice of them to return the favor?

24 April 2012

Life by bumper stickers

And ill-behaved women rarely make anyone happy.

23 April 2012

If I were queen of the world

I would ban plastic food bags, which invariably get opened in a cacophony of crackles just as the baby is about to give in to sleep.

So, no more corn chips, you dear peasant folk. If you need to cry about it, go to your room and shut the door.

22 April 2012

I'm sorry if you misunderstood how I was trying to offend you

I forget nearly everything I read on the internet, but I haven't forgotten this item on apologies from Simcha Fisher, which means I'd probably better post it:

The personal apology for the bogus offense that causes phony pain.  This is by far the biggest category of offenses that I putatively cause, and I refuse to apologize for them.  When people are offended: 
-Because I was writing “My Ideas About Subject Y” and failed to include a large passage about Subject Q; 
-Because I’m writing about my personal experience, but the reader’s personal experience was different—DIFFERENT, I TELL YOU; 
-Because they just flat out didn’t read carefully, and either missed the point entirely, missed a key paragraph, or somehow read some invisible paragraph that I didn’t actually write, but which was apparently chock full of offensive statements; or 
-Because they think “charity” means “liking everything all the time.” 
I generally don’t even bother to respond to this kind of thing.  I work hard at saying exactly what I mean, and don’t have the responsibility to say things twice to people who aren’t listening anyway.  Apologizing to people who haven’t actually been injured is like giving someone candy to make their tummy ache go away:  it just makes things worse.

Thanks, Simcha. I hope we run into each other in real life sometime because I know it never works out between Lutherans and Pope-types online.

21 April 2012

Book, recommended with prejudice: Hosanna, Loud Hosanna

I don't know Mrs. Klages outside of a few emails we've exchanged, but the bottom line is she's a sister in Christ and even in Concordia, and I was plain horrified to hear of her recent trip to death's door at the delivery of her third child. What could I do for this dear lady? I don't know her or live by her. Then I remembered that she has a really beautiful book I've been putting off buying because I'm either poor or cheap (it's so hard to tell the difference sometimes). So I'm picking up some copies for niephlings and godchildren, and I urge you to do the same if you've been hesitating as I was. Use coupon code APRPHOTOS12 for 25% off (which won't cut into Kelly's profit--not sure how long this code is good, though). God be with you, Kelly. You're in my prayers.

08 April 2012

Raise Thou our hopes of endless light

As with rosy steps the morn,
Advancing, drives the shades of night,
So from virtuous toil well-borne,
Raise Thou our hopes of endless light.
Triumphant saviour, Lord of day,
Thou art the life, the light, the way!

03 April 2012

Oh, hi

The CSPP are over and out for Holy Week. Much contemplation to you.