Monday Morning Confessional: Confessions of a Neurotic Pastor & Father

I confess that I’ve been neglectful of the blog as of late. It’s not that I’ve developed a disdain for blogging, I’ve just developed a penchant for time management and priorities… family mostly. I am acutely aware of my children’s ages right now. They are 8 and 10. 8 more years and the oldest goes to college. 10 more years for the younger. 8 and 10. A decade-long window of opportunity during which I can do one of two things: totally screw them up by working too much & giving them the leftovers, or set them up to have a good life by being a fully engaged, loving father who always took the time to be with his boys. Admittedly there may be more options, but those are the two that stick out to me right now. During the school year we have a limited number of hours during the week in which to connect. Summertime bumps that base number up by a factor of ten. So I’m taking advantage. We’ve been watching the Royals (on tv or in person), watching world cup, playing golf almost daily, and generally hanging out together a lot more. My schedule is being squeezed a bit and blogging seems to fall off the back of the cart.

Timeout.

I confess that I’m at Starbucks as I write this, and a woman who is camped out here doing some work just took her Stephen King book to the bathroom. You might be thinking it’s possible she didn’t want someone to steal her book, but she left her MacBook Air on the table with her purse. She looked determined. I think she’s planning on being in there awhile. I confess that I admire the kind of self-confidence that allows a person to head to the john in a public place packing some reading material. Godspeed fellow Starbuck loiterer.

Back to time management…

I confess that one of the perks of ministry is a flexible schedule. The downside of a flexible schedule is that every waking hour could theoretically end up being time to work. I’m still doing the 5:30 am wake-up, which continues to help with this. Front-loading my day has seemed to help. I’m more productive when I work in big blocks of time, though. And often a quick trip to the office to work on my message can turn into a 6am to noon Saturday session–which is fine. But that’s prime time with my kids, so I’m trying to find ways to get that time back.

I confess that ministry flexibility also has a relational component. 95% of the time this is a plus. But sometimes it can be hard to tell if you are on the clock or just hanging out with friends as a civilian. Because ministry is a relational animal, you can’t even be sure that leisure time is just leisure time. At any point others may summon the pastor, and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. So you have to learn to be flexible & switch back and forth between being the pastor and just being yourself. It can be a schizophrenic exercise for sure, and opens you up to some disappointing interactions. The net result is that over time, pastors become a bit socially guarded. I’m trying to avoid this phenomenon, but this involves some vulnerability–which always involves pain. It makes me wonder what would happen if evangelical pastors wore collars like priests do. I think some sort of apparel-linked delineation could help all around. Not sure the collar is really my style though. Maybe different colored baseball caps?

I confess that I was texting with a friend recently, and had occasion to type “Beavis and Butthead” into my phone. As I proofread the text, (I proofread my texts. If you don’t, you should Google “autocorrect”), I noticed that I had typed “Buttdead.” How does autocorrect not catch “buttdead”? I tried to recreated the phenomenon & most combinations of typing would up being corrected to “butted” but never “butthead”. This seems like an oversight. How is “Butthead” not part of the algorithm?

Update: My book-toting suspense loving friend is back from the bathroom. Unflappably cheerful.

I confess that I’ve been reading a ton lately. I confess that I’m reading in part to offer blurbs & reviews. I confess that only one side of this equation is firing (reading… not writing). I confess that I’ve read an amazing book called Slow Church. I promise to review it & interact with it soon. I have loved every page. I finished Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, and zoomed through Chasing Francis, which I highly recommend. I reread After You Believe, and have just started listening to the audio book of Pulphead, which is perhaps my favorite collection of essays by any author anywhere (apologies to Graham Greene).

I confess that my usual order at Starbucks is a skinny mocha. I confess that I feel not a small amount of shame when the barista decides that my first name isn’t a specific enough signifier, and opts to follow it with a detailed description of my order. “Tim, tall skinny mocha no-whip.” I try to be inconspicuous as me and the other Jr. High girls pick up our order together. I remember how I used to be skinny. I used to feel tall. Now I mostly feel squishy and old. And I like my coffee to taste a bit like chocolate. I’m tempted to give a really virile sounding fake name just to offset a little. “Mad-dog, I have your skinny mocha ready.” …not sure this will help.

I confess that I’m not going to proofread this post because I need to get on to the next task. Happy Monday everyone. I’ve made my confession… time for you to make yours:

About Tim Suttle

Find out more about Tim at TimSuttle.com

Tim Suttle is the senior pastor of RedemptionChurchkc.com. He is the author of several books including his most recent - Shrink: Faithful Ministry in a Church Growth Culture (Zondervan 2014), Public Jesus (The House Studio, 2012), & An Evangelical Social Gospel? (Cascade, 2011). Tim's work has been featured at The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Sojourners, and other magazines and journals.

Tim is also the founder and front-man of the popular Christian band Satellite Soul, with whom he toured for nearly a decade. The band's most recent album is "Straight Back to Kansas." He helped to plant three thriving churches over the past 13 years and is the Senior Pastor of Redemption Church in Olathe, Kan. Tim's blog, Paperback Theology, is hosted at Patheos.


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