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Letters to the Editor #13 (Parenting, Bad Preaching, Evening Services)
February 14, 2016
With another Sunday, we have another batch of letters to the editor. These letters focus in on just a few of the articles I have posted over the past 2 weeks.
Comments on An Unexpected Blessing of Parenting
After reading the post, I get it that the picture is probably supposed to show a father and son as friends. But, in looking at the FB post of my friend, what I saw was a “couple” made of up two men. Not likely what you intended.
—Nancy P, Edmond OK
Tim: I see it as a sign of the times that we would see a graphic like that and immediately think “homosexuality” rather than “friendship.”
As the mother of two young boys, reading this article felt like God’s reaching down and giving me a hug. Although they rarely say the words “I love you,” and I never ask for that from them, they can hardly wait to hug me first thing in the morning. They love it when I lay down with them at night before bed, when I read chapter after chapter to them from good books, when we spend one-on-one time together, when we play soccer in the backyard….I delight in them, and I think they in me. I believe that God is using me to build them into capable adults, authentic men. But I must say, reading your piece just now breathes such affirmation into my soul. Thank you.
—Allison L, Orlando FL
Hi Tim - just wanted to say thanks for your article today! I am the mother of four boys, ages six and under. While I LOVE being a mom to all boys, I often had the nagging feeling that my window of influence would be restricted to the toddler years. Your article was very encouraging. I shared it on my page and it encouraged many other women. Thanks again!
—Sara Wallace, Coeur D’Alene, ID
I have followed your blog for many years, but this is the first time I have been moved to write. As a homeschooling mom of a 12-year-old boy, I was very encouraged to read about your relationship with your mom. I’ve always been close to my son, but as he has grown, I’ve questioned whether or not I should continue to pursue that closeness, or if I should draw away. After all, I don’t want to raise a “mama’s boy,” as you said in your article. He has a good relationship with his dad, and I will continue to encourage that, but now I will worry less about the closeness we share and the amount of time we spend together. Thanks!
—Kim S, Wellsville, PA
Comments on Capturing Weak Woman
I wanted to thank you for your excellent article on Weak Women. God has brought our church through a difficult time that has involved many of the aspects that you shared in your article. Your point on being lead and motivated by guilt is so relevant. When we refuse to go to the Cross with guilt, the only other option is to “charge” others to release our sin debt.
—Dan M, Milltown WI
Comments on The Hidden Beauty of a Bad Sermon
Thank you so very much for taking the necessary time and thoughtfulness to write this important article. As someone who is presently serving on a pastor search committee, I find these words encouraging in the grace and love with which they are saturated. Well done.
—Vicky B, Harlan KY
As a young preacher who has preached, and will preach, some of these ‘hidden-beauty-sermons,’ I want to thank you for the encouraging article. I am finding that the tumbles along the way produce a humbler and hardier preacher. One of the greatest needs in the world today is men who are mighty in the Scriptures. By God’s grace He will make me into a man who heralds His word with might and skill. “And may they forget the channel, seeing only Him.”
—Caleb H, Cambridge ON
What should a parishioner’s response be when the preacher preaches bad sermon after bad sermon after bad sermon. In this case, he is not a new, young preacher, but a very seasoned one. Each week it is 45 minutes to an hour of rambling with no discernible outline and 10 or so slightly related points. After several years of this, along with other non-doctrinal concerns (safety in the children’s ministry), I feel it is time to search for a new church home. Do you feel like this is an appropriate response or should we stick it out?
—Melissa M, Kerrville TX
Tim: I hesitate to answer questions like this one, but do often recommend the 9Marks site as they have accumulated a wealth of material on healthy and unhealthy churches. Their articles helpfully discuss when it may be time to leave a church and how to do it well.
Comments on Why I Love an Evening Service
I don’t know. I didn’t necessarily disagree with any of the article - it was well written. But, you left off the part about God commanding a day of “rest.” I think many churches are actually coming to terms with the fact that Sunday School, Sunday morning service, choir practice, evening service and ice cream social do not lend themselves to actual rest. Just my two cents.
—Caleb P, Greenville SC
While I agree in theory with your idea of an evening service to praise more, learn more and spend more time with my church family it can make for a long day for volunteers in ministry. My husband is in the worship band. We pick up local college girls at 8:30 am, band practice is at 9:00, service at 10:00 which ends at noon. If he is on prayer team that can add almost another hour. Then we return the girls to the college. By the time he gets home and has lunch it can be almost 3:00 pm. If he has to be at church for a 6 pm rehearsal then dinner has to be at 5pm. Maybe he gets home by 9 pm. He does all this as a volunteer. You say that people want a chance to serve, but it is our experience that 10% of the people do 90% of the work and it can be extremely difficult to move people from the pews to the point of service.
—Lynn H, Beverly MA
I would like to point out a rather forgotten origin of the evening services. They seem to have started in the UK during the era of large estate houses. The evening service began as a way to provide the servants with their own church service. Due to the demands on the household staff of preparing the families and their guests for the church service as well as the Sunday meal, the servants had no time to join the service. After the Sunday meal, most servants were given the evening off. This allowed them to attend an evening service that was offered for them.
—Todd C, Oman