Friday, June 27, 2014

All Around the Web - June 27, 2014

Thom Rainer - Seven Reasons the Pastor’s Salary Can Be a Source of Tension
  1. The pastor’s salary is often public information. In some cases, the entire church sees the amount on a regular basis. In other cases, certain members have ongoing access to the information. The constant availability of the information can engender discussion.
  2. Some church members view a low salary as a necessary tool for the pastor’s humility. No, I am not kidding. But I bet those people would not like the same humility for themselves.
  3. There continues to be a misunderstanding of the pastor’s “package.” In the secular world, there is a clear distinction between salaries and benefits and expenses. But in many churches, benefits, such as retirement and health insurance, and expenses, such as automobile reimbursement, are lumped together. It thus makes the pastor’s salary seem higher than it really is.
  4. Critics of the pastor often use the salary as a lever to make life miserable for the pastor. Many of the critics understand that the topic is sensitive to the pastor. So they use that lever to inflict greater pain.
  5. There is a misperception among some church members that the pastor is overpaid. That reality is a rare exception. Most pastors are by no means overpaid. Some church members will use one bad example to paint a broad stroke about all pastors.
  6. Family members can be embarrassed by this issue. I told the story recently about living in a parsonage when I was a pastor. A deacon showed up at the house to tell me that our utility bill was too high, and that my wife needed to stop using the clothes dryer and put up a clothes line. We would later find out that our air conditioning unit was not functioning properly; it was the source of the energy drain.
  7. There is a misperception that pastors work very little. Most pastors work extremely long workweeks. But if a church member really believes a pastor only works ten hours a week, the per hour wage can seem rather high.

Canon and Culture - The Contraceptive Coverage Mandate as Legislated Morality
According to the defenders of the Obama Administration’s contraceptive coverage mandate, employers and health insurance plans are simply required to cover basic preventive health services for women. The mandate, however, represents so much more.

In the mandate, the Administration legislated its moral vision and values. Indeed, the mandate rests upon moral judgments made by the Administration based upon its conception of the good and the just society. However, the administrative agencies that developed and issued the mandate employed regulatory procedures that hindered public participation and hampered dialogue between policy makers and interested individuals and institutions. In other words, the Administration manipulated regulatory procedures and thwarted what is supposed to be a transparent, deliberative decision-making process. The Administration did this to ensure that the outcome of the process would be what it desired.

Consequently, the mandate should concern Christians and non-Christians alike—and for more reasons than simply the real threat it poses to religious liberty. Both Christians and non-Christians should also be concerned with (1) the procedures employed in adopting the mandate, (2) the shift in health policy implemented through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the mandate, and (3) the Administration’s moral decision making that resulted in the mandate.

Trevin Wax - The Kindness That Will Kill Your Church
How does kindness kill a church? By masking our indifference toward one another.
In The Problem of Pain, C. S. Lewis explains what kindness divorced from love looks like:
Kindness cares not whether its object becomes good or bad, provided that it escapes suffering… It is for people whom we care nothing about that we demand happiness on any terms: with our friends, our lovers, our children, we are exacting and would rather see them suffer than be happy in contemptible and estranging modes.
Lewis is right. We don’t treat the people we love with mere “kindness.”

Our desire for our children to be good outranks our desire for our children to be comfortable. It is the indifferent parent who “kindly” permits a child to play video games all day long. It is a loving parent who does the hard work of instilling in a child a good work ethic.

The parents who love are those who want their children to become all they were created to be. For this reason, we are willing to put children through temporary discomfort and challenge their ideas of what they need to be “happy”in order to see them grow into maturity, even if it means a rebuke, a difficult conversation, or a loss of privileges.

The “kindness” that kills a church, on the other hand, is unwilling to put in the hard work of love. It is a subtle form of contempt, an unwillingness to rock someone’s boat when you can clearly see it sinking.

Tim Challies - 7 Good Reasons To Stop Looking at Porn Right Now
1. The Cost to Your Soul
2. The Cost to Your Neighbor
3. The Cost to Your Church
4. The Cost to Your Family
5. The Cost to Your Mission
6. The Cost to Your Witness
7. The Cost to Your Savior

Variety - 9 Ways Tim Burton’s ‘Batman’ Changed Superhero Movies Forever
It seems difficult to imagine a time when movie screens weren't packed with comicbook titles, but before June 23, 1989, masked heroes were in short supply. On the 25th anniversary of “Batman,” here's how the Michael Keaton starrer revolutionized the modern comicbook movie.

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