Monday, March 23, 2009

Author's Buffet

Welcome to a week's worth of author chats where every day is a surprise on the Words to Go menu. Tomorrow, popular editor and novelist Karen Ball and I are going to chat about her perspectives growing up in the fishbowl of ministry. To follow are more great author chats and the topic is different every day, but will provide us with some insight into authors and each of their very different lives.

Speaking of the ministry, it is very much like a fishbowl being married to the ministry. Pastors' families are often the unsung members of the flock. My sons are both in college now but I really had to protect their rights to just be kids like everyone else's kids in the church.

Once my daughter had a slumber party when she was a teen. She had invited girls from school and church into our home. The girls stayed up late and had a great time. But come Sunday a mom approached me. She did not allow her daughter to attend movies and our family loves a good film. So when Jessica and the girls started talking about a film some of them had seen, this teen, feeling left out, complained to her mom that "even the pastor's daughter" was allowed to go to the movies. This mom was prepared to blast Jessi and me for "allowing such a horrible practice." Very firmly, this woman who had intruded on my home life, was invited to take a step back out as I helped her construct a new paradigm--my boundaries for my family.

For seven years when we were in a ministry building phase, we did not even own a TV, reserving our evenings for family time, reading aloud, a family study, a season of home schooling, and prayer. So it was indeed a strange complaint to field on behalf of a daughter who was chaste, saving herself for marriage, and very obedient and loving. I never told Jessi about that mom's complaint. When she passed away, we were very close and my heart was full of gratitude for the fact that my husband and I placed our family above the ministry. Mothering cannot be done by church committee. Yes, we can seek support in small groups and should feel free to ask other moms opinions about what sort of parenting practices have worked. But kids cannot be reared in a fishbowl and come out of it knowing what they want or what they believe. They draw their confidence from us, not through some church filter.

So drop in tomorrow for a chat with editor and author Karen Ball as we kick off a fun week called Author's Buffet.