Tuesday, 17 August 2010


Think of the following occupations: florist, deep sea welder, fire fighter, taxi driver, minister (member of the clergy), police officer. If you were to list them from most to least dangerous to your health, and most risky in terms of people to whom one would sell life insurance, where would those occupations fit? In the "most dangerous" category — deep sea welder and minister — both just a bit behind crab fishermen.

I just about dropped off my chair when I read that.

But it comes from research done by a number of clergy, on clergy. The information I read began with one pastor following with some statistics from a member of his congregation who sold life insurance. Here are some "fun" numbers.

    * 48 percent of clergy think their work is hazardous to their family’s well being.
    * 80 percent of pastors say they don't have enough time with spouse and that ministry has a negative effect on their family.
    * Clergy have the 2nd highest divorce rate among professions.
    *46 percent will experience burnout or depression that will make them leave their jobs.
    *70 percent say their self-esteem is lower now than when they started their position.
    * 40 percent report a serious conflict with at least one parishioner every month.
    * 75 percent report they’ve had significant stress-related crisis on at least one occasion in their ministry.
    * 58 percent of pastors indicate that their spouse needs to work to supplement the family income.
    * 56 percent of pastors’ wives say they have no close friends.
    * Pastors working less than 50 hours per week are 35 percent more likely to be terminated.
    * 40 percent of pastors considered leaving the pastorate in the past three months.

In response to the statistics, I think of my own experience in ministry. A number of those statistics reflect my life as a church leader, including the "significant stress-related crisis on at least one occasion in their ministry." Which is why I'm on disability, and have been for five years. 

But, there is another side to this. I also spent almost 17 years serving a wonderful congregation of loving and interesting people.

(To be continued)

Sunday, 27 June 2010


This is something which I have already posted on my "Chrome on the Range" blog. But it is a truly spiritual issue, so I'm noting it here.

Monday, 14 June 2010


Masaru Emoto is a Japanese researcher and author who has done studies on the power of thought on water. He has offered this prayer:

To whales, dolphins, pelicans, fishes, shellfishes, planktons, corals, algae and all creatures in Gulf of Mexico:
I am sorry.
Please forgive me.
Thank you.
I love you. 

Thanks to Nancy at Life in the Second Half for sharing this. 

Monday, 1 February 2010


One of the challenges I face (indeed, we all face), when we read the "New Testament" in the Bible, is the matter of context. A lot of the Biblical material is based in Greek philosophy. If you don't understand Greek philosophy — particularly Plato and Aristotle — you'll have trouble figuring out what the New Testament writers were saying, particularly outside the gospels and the Acts of the Apostles.

We all live in a specific context. Our 21st century context is radically different from that of the New Testament writers and their ethos of Greek philosophy. And, as in everything else, much gets lost in translation.

I find it increasingly frustrating to have to deal with the Greek philosophy, which influenced the Christian Church well into the middle ages (and in some cases, right up to today). I'm not alone in that. When the Renaissance came along, people were thinking "outside the box" of Greek philosophy — and the battle lines were drawn along that front. (The people who say it was "science versus religion" do not understand the deeper philosophical context that motivated the battle.)

Today, there is much science can tell us about life. which is good. And there is much, particularly about relationship, which science cannot, at this point, measure. Love is one of those items; "compassion" (if you prefer that word). Neither of those is logical or based in science, yet we dare to believe in them.

All very interesting.

About the icon of St. Anthony . . .
The icon comes from Eastern Christian Supply Company. With thanks!