Remember the King James Version: 7-25/26-09
Bach to the future: 7-28-09

What do clergy do? 7-27-09

The stereotype about clergy -- especially Christian pastors -- is that they work an hour or two a week, mostly preaching.


What bunk.

I know few members of the clergy who work less than 60 hours a week.

But what do they do when they're not in the pulpit? To offer a partial answer to that, I want to share with you a list of skills and responsibilities contained in a document that a committee I'm now serving on at my church had to read recently. The committee has the task of nominating a new pastor for my congregation, and one of our jobs is to decide which 10 skills we most want in the person we would recommend that our church hire.

The list is long and exhausting (and, here and there, a bit repetitive, I think) when you think about it. But think about it:

* Administration of programs.

* Adult ministry.

* Building renovation/property development

* Choir directing

* Community ministries

* Conflict management/mediation skills

* Congregational fellowship

* Congregtional redevelopment/revitalization

* Counseling

* Curriculum building

* Development of new educational experiences

* Evaluation of program and staff

* Facility management

* Governing body ministry

* Hospital and emergency visitation

* Instrumental music

* Leadership development

* Leading music ministry

* Management of building usage

* New church development

* Older adult ministry

* Organizational leadership development

* Pastoral care

* Preaching

* Project management

* Rural ministry

* Small membership church ministry

* Staffing/human resources

* Strategic planning

* Training volunteers

* Urban ministry

* Youth ministry

If I gave you the whole list, I'd have to add 32 more -- from communications to corporate worship and administration of the sacraments to evangelism to stewardship to teaching and on and on.

Now, as I say, some of the list seems repetetive to me, and clearly not all categories will be needed in all faith communities.

But at least the list reminds you that the job of clergy is a lot more than an hour or two in the pulpit each week.

(The illustration here today is from

* * *


The path from America to al-Qaida, this report says, can be informal but just as effective as using the more well-known "jihadist pipeline." I can understand why non-Muslim Americans convert to Islam. I've known a number of people who have. But why would an American then join the country's sworn enemy? All such people should be treated as traitors.

* * *

P.S.: There's been some discussion here lately among commenters about churches in Poland when that country was under Soviet domination. So I thought you'd be interested in a column I wrote about two years ago from Poland that touches on that subject. To read it, click here. The column today resides on the Web site for my new book:, which officially will be published Sept. 3 but which can be pre-ordered now on and other sites, including the University of Missouri Press.




I think that the term "traitor" right now has taken on a connotation of "military" context only. The so called "war on terror" is rather complex web and amalgamation of public relations, diplomacy, military broad actions, precise scalpel like special forces insertions, etc. This is what's on TV. "Traitors" (e.g. The "American Taliban" guy from Chicago? rarely hitting TV and papers and if so, they are an "intellectual" curiosity.

The "Zeitgeist" of the language as well as understanding of what "traitor" is chaged. Can be applied to "spies" and "state secrets" and those "actively being involved" in actions against the state as well as malicously.

Now, an interesting point would be if someone would announce themselves to be "Taliban" or "Al Quaida" in America and put up a web site saying that. They owuld not call on any violence, etc but just plainly stated - I am Al Quaida.

I wonder if Jim Crow era would be repeated all over again - just for the "thought crime". Would there be FBI and special forces knocking down the door of their house just because they "excecrise" their freedom of speech but no action?

Would they be traitors? Questions, qeustions...



Regarding your article on churches in Poland...

I wonder how can you apply this comment “Take that, you clueless communists, who knew nothing of human spiritual needs" to ex-Christians in America, who "were" Christians at one time, "evangelical" for that matter and then gave up their "crazy" Christian beliefs, i.e. not "spiritual" now????

Do they know of human spiritual needs? - Sure they do - or of the "label" attached to "mental submission" and domination by a space alien Yahwheh (aka god). How are they different from the communists in Poland/Soviet Union? And don't you think that they can be just as moral, ethical and "adequate" for the society as those with "spiritual" needs?

There are MANY ex-Chrisitans coming to freethiking events in Kansas City - ex Mormons, Evangelicals, Catholics, Protestants, etc. I am yet to hear from any of them the word "spirituality" used in a sense to describe anything 'SUPERNATURALLY' related, the best I think they can come up with as "treat your neihgbor" as you'd like to be treated.

There takes place a shift in mental perception and psychological congitions when these Americans give up the delusion and grandeur of spirituality (morally relativistic non sensical term equal to "real reality" or "non real Leprechaun". It appears to me that these people have reached a "next level" of understanding the "natural" world and bypassed/threw away the "spiritual" world full of demons as Just Thinking believes it's full of or other crazies think that a space alien controls our world. Let's remember that when god is angry he sends thunder and earthquakes on people - YES, IT'S IN THE 'SPIRITUAL' BOOK NAMED BIBLE.

I believe Christian mentality in the US has hijacked the term "spiritual" and "spirituality" - it is associated with "piety" and "us vs. them" mentality. I get weird faces from people who ask me what church I go to and I tell them I don't. It is "automatically" assumed you are "not spiritual/evil" because of that.

I believe your column is a tidbit into a "specific" situation - occupied Eastern Europe by a regime for some 40 years whose sole goal was to stay in power by all means necessary. NOthing new. If they could have given freedom of religion to everyone and also provided rivers of milk and honey with unlimited resorces (basically, heaven on Earth, so to speak) humans would have accepted communism and blend of its "spirituality" - just like Europeans now accepted "no spritulaity/religion" with socialism/capitalism blend.

Take a bird's eye view, Bill. Think. It will do your brain and the world a world of good.

Dolores Lear

What do clergy do? What do they do when they're not in the pulpit?
Most churches have a President of the Congregation and Committee of laymen, and now laywomen, Elders, to do all the running of the Church property, upkeep, taking care of the needy members, a Church Secretary, etc.

We had Women Aide Societies, that took care of the Altar, visited Blind Homes, and did other Charitable events and put on Church dinners, etc.

The pastor did the preaching, and teaching a Bible Class on Sunday, and sometimes one during the week, and visiting the sick and members with a living problem, and teaching Adults Church policy before they join as needed, and Children Confirmation Classes once a year. Attended the Congregational Meeting, And sometimes dropped in on a Woman's Group meeting.

At least that is how I thought our Missouri Synod Lutheran Church was run, up to 1974 when I resigned. That still is a lot of hours, but our Pastor had lots of help. A Pastor stayed for many years in the same Church until they retired.

I only had 2 main Pastors until I resigned, because I moved. We did start having an Associate Pastor as the Congregation grew. Our Church Denomination at that time, did not have rotating pastors like some denominations. They usually stayed until they retired.

So I imagine all Church Members have different experiences with Pastors, and Church Organizations. I accepted our Lutheran Missouri Synod Branch of Christianity was the Chosen One of God. Probably others think this also of their Denomination.

Otherwise there would only be One Protestant Church on Earth. How many Gods are there on Earth? How many more Religious Divisions will there be before the Final Judgement Day?

High Tech Science Colonization and Peace Male and Female Equal Clone Reproduction, like 'in the beginning' in Genesis, could join the Divided Human Body Birth Species, into One Equal Human Society.

Eternal Physical Life, After Birth, is Possible with an Equal High Tech Science Peace Human Society, on Planets and in Spaceships, like the God/Us in Genesis.

Eternal Life is for Living Humans, not the Dead.

“DW said, “Anyone who believes that the information contained within its pages is no different than the blog posts of today automatically makes that person ridicously silly for paying much attention to it at all.”
Well, DW, you are paying attention. Are you silly?. You said, “. I for one would not belong to any religion based on Bill's blog, or any other blog, for that matter.”)

Susan and Bill are much more tolerant than you.
Will G said, “Cole, I never claimed all atheists think alike; take you for just make stuff up as you go along, saying you can interpret things however you want, saying e mails you sent didn't mean what you said, etc.
And then you diss Nietzsche, but turn around and quote him!

This is funny. I don’t follow a make believe god. Whether you like my life or not, it is my life.

I like some things Nietzsche said, not all. What’s the problem? You twist it how you want to hear it. Perhaps you need therapy. Continued

Continued Susan, Hank Hanegraaff is worried about nonbelievers and rightly so. He also needs money. During these bad times he is asking for people to dig deeper and give… Sounds like god. He’s all powerful, yet needs more money.

Delores posted yesterday: We posters can all be thankful for Bill's Good Will and Patience to All.

I agree with that.

Besides the ridiculous IHop story there was another one I have been following. This couple allowed their daughter to die, by only praying for her. Looks like they have met the wrong judge. It’s about time!

There also is not “a shred of evidence” that Neumann knew his prayers would fail to help his daughter or cause her death, the lawyer said.


Wisconsin murder trial pits faith vs. medicine

Peace For the Sake of Goodness Cole


Cole quoted>>>>>>>There also is not “a shred of evidence” that Neumann knew his prayers would fail to help his daughter or cause her death, the lawyer said.
Wisconsin murder trial pits faith vs. medicine

This idiot is not being charged with "knowing the prayers would fail", but with second-degree reckless homicide. The child is dead because of his negligence/inaction/or "prayer action" and clearly "Christian derived" stupidity when it comes to the real world.

I don't recall hearing of atheists/agnostics being ever on trial for praying to the Flying Spaghetti Monster and Hannibal Lector and neglecting "common sense" "naturalistic" "real world" reality and thus causing this kids to die.

I wonder if he will get probation only and time already served even if he did not do any.

I for one don't have a problem with judge taking into account his "delusional" Christian beliefs and being lenient to him, but I'd have him write 5000 times on a chalk board, so it gets into the "Guiness Book of Records" - PRAYER DOESN'T WORK, PRAYER DOESN'T WORK - THERE IS EVIDENCE FOR IT AND NO EVIDENCE FOR IT WORKING.

I think 5,000 times would do it - when the story is picked up by the media and these idiots are mocked at teh expense of the dead child, I think the world will be a bit better place.

Christians, Think! It will do you brain and the world a world of good.

Stop telling and retelling "Three Little Piggies" story when you want to order a pork chop.

Dolores Lear

Science Is in the Details, by Sam Harris, About appointment of Francis Collins, and Evolution and Religion. -

"Why should Dr. Collins’s beliefs be of concern?"

When did Religion start on Earth? After the Fall of Purebred Male and Female Clone Humans, that started Reproducing Misbred Children?

'In the beginning' was High Tech Science, and when Humans lost this Knowledge, it was handed down by Generation Body Birth Humans with Generation Birth, Death, and Rebirth, as Supernatural to Natural Born Humans.

Train up a child in the Ways it should go, and when they are old they will not depart from it. Most Atheists were raised as a Religious Child of God. Why did they depart from it?

We do need a new High Tech Translation of Religion and Myth, to understand all the Supernatural God writings of a Peace God/Us, in our Human Image in Genesis.

They walked, and talked with Humans, in their Image, face to face, and had High Tech Science, not Religion.

Also a Killer God in Genesis and other Writings is recorded, that killed Humans and Children, also in Scripture and Myth.

So where did all the Old Writings come from? How do we make a One God True Religion, from a Creator Peace Love God, and Jesus the Prince of Peace, as the Same God as these Killer Gods?

High Tech today can explain a Supernatural Creation of Life on Earth 'in the beginning', as High Tech Colonization.

High Tech today can explain a supernatural Creation of a Female from the Male Rib as Cloning. I have posted this many times on Bill's Blog.

So who the Knowledge of Life on Earth Correct? Religious Creationist Humans or Evolution Atheists? Neither.

High Tech Science Purebred Human Male and Female Humans are Possible, with High Tech Science on Planets and in Spaceships, like God/Us Human Clone Species, that made it to our Planet and Colonized it.

It is in the Bible, when supernatural is translated as God/Us High Tech Science and Peace Humans 'in the beginning', and the Noah/Atlantis Society High Tech Science Killer Humans, like Humans are today.

Life if for the Living like High Tech Born God/Us Peace Humans, not for Body Birth Dead Killer Humans.

adam harrison

Bill, your article on Poland was first rate. I wish I had seen it before. The phrase "clueless communists" nails it completely.

But for those posters who try to simply related communism to economic success or failure, it is obvious that "clueless" is still an apt description; perhaps CLUELESS ATHEISTS might be more appropriate.

You see, communism did not have to be atheistic, but in the form it was expressed in during the 20th century, as a derivation of Dialectical Materialism, it was; and that is what drove it in the direction of trying to eliminate religion by any means necessary...Solzhenitsyn's three volume series The Gulag Archipelago provides abundant, indisputable, proof of this.

Millions of believers were killed.

You even had Red Biddy saying here just yesterday that the Korean woman executed for passing out Bibles deserved it.

Of course, that officially atheist government failed in its attempts.

Some fools here still try to use the tactics of misrepresentation, smears, and ridicule in an attempt to force believer to SHUT UP but they just don't get it.

Such methods not only failed in their homeland but ended up bringing it to the brink of ruin.

Such are the effects of adopting a BIRD BRAINS view of history! LOL!

adam harrison

For the atheists decrying prayer...and I know it has worked where doctors have abandoned their is amusing that they ignore the 100,000 people killed by medical malpractice every year.

200,000 if you count hospital mistakes and pharmaceutical failures.

One solution suggested by a lawyers I know, Make those acts a CRIMINAL, not just CIVIL, offense.

If the doctors and responsible parties were PROSECUTED, perhaps they would take the claims more seriously and not blow off a malpractice case because they know how hard it is to get it into court.


Bill, I loved your article about the Defenders of the Cross. Iggy, I think you realize that the difference between what the Communists tried to do in Poland, and what some people are doing when they decide to drop out of religion -- is choice. The former group is superimposing their idea about what's best for people, and trying to force compliance. The latter group is exploring and making decisions for itself.

In a sense, the Communist government in Eastern Europe seemed to be trying to replace "Holy Father" with "Big Brother." Whereas people in Western Europe seem to be feeding their own spirituality by thinking everything through for themselves -- possibly just a natural progression of humanity growing up.

But, Iggy, one thing about growing up: it's unpredictable. If you really want your children to grow up into themselves and be their own persons, this means you give up the ability to know exactly WHAT they are going to do with their lives. You seem sure that religious freedom combined with prosperity automatically leads to no spirituality. I think freedom's a wonderful thing -- and possibly the most wonderful thing about it is that people are so unpredictable and full of surprises.


Cole, I think I know one reason why Hank Hanegraaf is hard up for money: he is probably still trying to pay off his court costs. He tried to sue some guy who was saying some negative stuff about him.

In California, it was becoming very commonplace for people with money to just start a lawsuit if they were getting criticized by someone with less money. Since the critics couldn't usually afford the time and expense of a legal ordeal, this was often an effective way of shutting them up.

But then the government got concerned that all these lawsuits were seriously inhibiting free speech, so they made it illegal to sue someone just to shut them up. So it was determined that Bible Answer Man broke this law by starting his lawsuit, and he ended up owing the court a lot of money.

From yesterday, DW you seem to be saying that unless I believe the whole Bible, every jot and tittle, is the inerrant Word of God -- there is absolutely no point in paying attention to it at all. But I have learned a whole lot from people who have some good ideas and some bad ones -- I should only pay attention to something if I have absolute assurance, before even reading/hearing it, that it is all 100% true without any errors? I would miss a whole lot if I expected this degree of perfection before I could even listen to something. (Contined)


(Continued) Were those verses in Timothy, talking about all Scripture being God-breathed, part of the Holy Scriptures at the time of that writing? Or does it seem more likely that "Scripture" at that time was just the Hebrew Bible?

If so, this would mean that maybe even the verse saying the Hebrew Testament is all God-breathed could really just be someone's opinion shared in a letter. It seems possible that to men 2000 years ago, it might have looked like godly wisdom, for example, to have a woman whose husband suspected her of infidelity drink a nasty drink to prove her innocence -- but that seems like an awfully one-sided wisdom, because it says nothing about what a man should have to drink if his wife accuses him.

I say, why not just have the guy drink the drink either way -- whether to prove his own innocence if his wife supects him, or to prove her innocence if he suspects her? After all, aren't we the "weaker vessels?" Then again, I'm the one with the tough-as-nails stomach in our house, so I'm not so sure I'd want my life to depend on how well my husband held his dusty drink, LOL ...

But proving our faithfulness is unnecessary because we trust each other -- so, actually, it seems more like godly wisdom to help everyone learn to base their relationships on trust and honesty.

I think most historians would say you can learn a tremendous amount from even the most inaccurate accounting of a past event. If nothing else, it can teach you a lot about the social attitudes of that time. So I don't think an historian would ever say, "It's only worth paying attention to if it's 100% accurate." (Continued)


(Continued) Example: years ago I read the account of some Jesuit missionaries who came to the New World to evangelize the Indians. They wrote of encountering one group of Indians at a very opportune moment. Shortly after converting to Christianity (or at least it appeared to the missionaries that they had converted), all of these Indians became severely ill and died very rapidly.

From the missionaries' perspective, it was God's Providence that brought the Gospel to these Indians before He wiped them off the face of the Earth. But of course from a modern perspective, with what we now know about the spread of disease, it's pretty obvious that the missionaries carried germs that the Indians had never been exposed to, and that their immune systems were not at all equipped to deal with.

So most modern readers wouldn't see the missionaries' accounting of what happened as strictly accurate -- but that doesn't mean we don't learn anything by reading it. As a matter of fact, I imagine that a great deal of what's been learned about the spread of disease, has been learned through studying accounts like this.

I notice that Will or adamh faulted Cole for disagreeing with one of Neitche's quotes, and then agreeing with another. It seems like the Will/adamh duo may be partaker's in DW's mentality that either you swallow a book (or someone else's ideas) whole, or you throw it/them out entirely? With Christians like these, it's no wonder so many people act like their faith is a fragile house of cards: pick up one card to examine it closer, and the whole house collapses.

My God is simply waaaay stronger than that.


Susan, once you start down the path of picking the parts of the Bible you like and choose to believe, and the parts you don't like and choose not to believe, where do you stop?

Do you like the part where Jesus died for your sins?

Do you like the part where Jesus rose from the dead?

Do you like the part where Jesus said He will return to judge both the living and the dead?

Do you like the part where Jesus said those who have faith in Him, and only Him, for their salvation will be saved, and those who don't will be condemned forever?

Most folks on this blog love to quote the Jewish laws from the Old Testament and ridicule anyone who places any signficance in anything the Bible has to say because of them. I'm not a theologian, but I'm certain these kinds of objections to the Bible have been considered and answered long, long, ago. You haven't discovered anything new that makes the Bible inherently untrustworthy. I do know the New Testament law is much higher and should be much more troublesome to you. The Old Testament condemns physical adultry and proscibes harsh physical punishment. The New Testament condemns even lustful thoughts not acted upon, and condemns the individual to eternal damnation.

Member, lets see, Bill and Susan are tolerant in their viewpoints expressed on this blog, and Saint Paul and the Bible are intolerant. Therefore, Bill and Susan are right and Paul is wrong. Therefore, Bill's blog is more trusworthy than the Bible.

The truth is, Paul is not tolerant because God is not tolerant. God hates sin. He punishes sin. The sins of those who have faith in Jesus for their salvation are wiped away. It's as if they never happened. Those who don't have faith in Jesus are condemned by their own sins. Their sins...not God...condemn them to eternal punishment. It's simple, really.

adam harrison

Susan, do you believe ANY of the Bible contains the Word of God?

For example, do you believe we have any of the words of Jesus?

adam harrison

Much of the misrepresentation and ridicule of the Jewish if 600 some is a lot but the 6,000 we live under is no problem...ignores the Jews situation at the time (a former slave people fighting for survival) and the conditions at hand.

Essentially, if the ridicule is an expression of anti semitism...Jew hatred.

There is no other answer to the question of why so many vicious things are said about the Old Testament, as it was written entirely by Jews.

Red Biddy

I agree entirely with Bill that Americans who join forces with the country's sworn enemies should be treated as a traitors.
Britain had a problem with a crazy Egyptian Immam, Abu Hamza who became a British citizen by marrying a British woman, who turned out to be married already (!) - when that didn't work out they threw him in prison,where he is currently serving 7 years. It's infuriating that these people, like Hamza should try and get citizenship in a western country with the sole purpose of creating trouble !
Apparently the US would like the extradition of this particular character for stirring up trouble in the US also. You can have him after we've done with him !
I enjoyed the link to Church Times in the U.K. in regard to stress among the clergy. Apparently the main source of stress among the clergy is "having to deal with difficult people!"
Yes, I'm sure that must be the case - those people who nail their preacher after he's given a sermon he's been working on all week to tell him it was lousy, would be cause for stress I would have thought! And talking of difficult people......
We had a fine example of this in WillG's tirade against Bill yesterday for supposedly ignoring some of his precious posts and accusing Bill (of all people) of intellectual dishonesty.Yes, I know Will, you apologized and so you should have....just hope it didn't add to Bill's stress level !

adam harrison

Obviously, Red Biddy, an apology means nothing to you, since you are willing to throw it back in the face of the one who apologizes.

But YOU are the one who should be apologizing for the tirade YOU spewed yesterday about the Korean woman being executed and deserving it!

That did it for me; you have lost any credibility you might have had; your hatred for believers is now fully was another fine example of atheists calling for the death penalty to support their positions.

As a PRO LIFE advocate, I stand fully opposed to your system. It is clear there is not common ground we can share.

Between the propagandist for "Hannibal Lector", Iggy, and the guy who makes it up as he goes along, Cole, and you justifying murder (when in Rome do as the Romans do) the atheists here are reduced to something that I might have to scrape off my shoe.

Tell me, RED BIDDY, since you believe in "When in Rome do as the Romans do", would you do as the Nazis did in Nazi Germany, and as the guards at Gulags did in the Soviet Union, or as the nurses at the Tiller Clinic did in Topeka?


DW and adamh (and anyone else who's interested) -- yes I certainly do believe the Bible contains some words of God. I just also believe it was influenced by the perspectives of the various fallible humans who wrote it. At the risk of being accused, again, of possibly equating the Bible to an "ancient blog," I will say that I have heard from God while reading the Bible, and I've also heard from God while reading other books, praying, talking to other people, and in a variety of different situations (including reading blogs).

adamh, with your accusations of possible anti-Semitism, are you saying that if something is written by Jews, it needs to automatically be taboo to criticize it? Would it help if I add here that I don't think Jewish attitudes (i.e. toward women and so on) were necessarily less-enlightened than the attitudes of the surrounding cultures at that time. The only reason I'm targetting this particular Jewish book, has been to explain one of the reasons why I can no longer accept that every jot and tittle of the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. That would be too insulting to God.

DW feels certain my concerns were answered long, long ago. Well, the only answer I'VE found that can even begin to satisfy ME, is that God has been allowing humanity room to grow up and learn from her own mistakes -- and that some parts of the Bible are simply man's very limited male perspective on the godly way to handle various issues.

So, once you start thinking critically, where do you stop? Hopefully you don't stop. Hopefully you throw yourself wholeheartedly into being a lifelong learner.


Susan, do you really think that "critical thinking" was just recently discovered? Understanding the Bible is not a matter of chritical thinking. "Critical thinking" would ultimately lead you to deny all the miracles, the incarnation, the resurrection, the power of prayer, etc. "Critical Thinkers" were around even in the 1st century. Here's what God, through Paul, had to say to them (and you):

1 Cornithians 18-25:

"...For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.' Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men."

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