Here is a teaser from Ch. 10 of The Millennial Pastor called “The Struggle Is Real #NoRegrets“:
Over the years of ministry, I noticed a trend was forming. The longer I was a pastor, the clearer it would become. I noticed that things would happen that seemed to be “bad luck.” In my most recent assignment in Arizona, I was dubbed the most unlucky person ever by many of those who served in ministry with me. I had everything from cars completely breaking down (everything from engine failures to the car’s computer reprogramming itself mid drive), jobs I had suddenly ceasing to exist, to people trying to force me from my living arrangements. At some point, I started to wonder if this was all because I was in ministry. I started to wonder if I I had some sort of spiritual target on my back. It began to make me ponder just what I was getting myself in to.
Back in Arizona
When I lived in Arizona, I was a renter. Before that, I had owned my house, so being on a lease was something new for me. It wasn’t the greatest of experiences. We had the unfortunate opportunity of renting a nice house in a neighborhood that had a homeowners association (HOA). This neighborhood made it very clear, very quickly, that it did not like renters.
The HOA members complained about everything they could having to do with our house. It was especially frustrating because almost everything they harassed us about were issues we couldn’t do anything about. I was condemned for not re-landscaping my front yard, even though I was a renter and had no responsibility or right to do so. Each time, we had to go through the same rigamarole of reminding them that they needed to contact the property management company who would then contact the property owner who would then say, “Sorry, not going to do that.” It was loads and loads of fun.
On one occasion, this elderly gentleman came to the door for what had become his monthly visit and I wasn’t there to answer the door. Instead, he was greeted by my pregnant wife who was holding our then one-year-old son. You would think that this person would be cordial and respectful, especially if you have ever met my wife. My wife, for the record, is the nicest, sweetest and most thoughtful person I ever married (bad joke I know)… but seriously, I don’t know a single person who doesn’t absolutely love her. This guy was the exception to that rule.
He made her cry.
No one makes my wife cry.
What would possess a person to do that? All this over a fence I put up, with permission, to corral my kids and dogs. At the time, I was working bi-vocationally for my family business doing construction. She called to let me know what happened and I drove straight to his house to give him a piece of my mind. Now, I know what some of you might be thinking, and no, I wasn’t headed to his house to punch him in the face or anything. Aside from being a pastor, a follower of Jesus and an individual practicing turning the other cheek, I was also about 50 years his junior. I wasn’t about to start a fistfight with a man who needed a cane to get around.
Instead, I did my best to be respectful while reminding him that treating my wife the way he did over something trivial like a fence was unacceptable. I told him it would not happen again and that if he had any more issues he would speak to me alone. If I wasn’t home, he would need to come back.
The saga of the HOA did not end with this discussion. This man, who never again antagonized my wife, did continue his mission of antagonizing us. He found out I was a pastor and would regularly make comments about how I must be a terrible one for one reason or another. He became my property manager’s time stealer. The amount of time he would spend lobbying for something as menial as building a two-foot wide fence to hide the garbage cans behind was astonishing. Yes, this man said I was obviously not a Christian because he could see my garbage can from the street at this one very particular angle. It was ridiculous, but unfortunately, our troubles had just begun.
That’s it. Ony two chapters left to reveal! Stay tuned for more guest blogging and updates on the book. Thanks!
Until next time…