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What is The Glass House?

Growing up affects many people in many ways throughout their lives. When you are forced to grow up in a world where everyone is watching your every move and looking for ways to find fault with you it can leave behind wounds which can often take years to heal. Sometimes they never do.

In the glass house known as the parsonage we often find these children. These children often have had their lives destroyed by spending their childhood behind glass walls. Everyone can see inside and know everything that is going on. Not physical glass as we think of it but glass none the less. The glass is the open door policy that is expected of a pastor and his family. Anyone can call or drop in any time of the day or night. Everyone wants to know exactly what is going on with the pastor and his family. These children have lived in a world that many people can not imagine living in.

They have lived in a world where its not safe to express their true feelings, a world where they learn early on their father’s job is often contingent upon their behavior. Their formative years were spent in a world where at the tender age of 5 they are expected to act like an adult and where by the age of 7 or 8 they have learned never to trust anyone and not to ever say anything bad about their family. Their world is full of concerns of what the hidden agenda is in anything that is done for them and how it can come back to haunt them later on. Their home may never know the joys of daddy playing a board game with them or being at a band concert because he was always gone to hospital visitation or too busy working on Sunday’s sermon to take time for that. Their world may have been in a home full of anger because they didn’t like being in the spotlight. A world that was critical of them they may never have known the joys of being on a baseball team because one of the church members might consider that "sin". A world where their dress code was stricter than the members of the church because they couldn't dress in any way that might cause someone to talk about them. A world where they weren’t allowed to make mistakes because daddy would lose his pastorate and they would not have a home to live in. They may have never learned how to put down roots and stay in one place because they were always moving. They most likely never learned to let anyone close to them, that way when they moved they didn’t have to go through the hurt of leaving friends behind.

Why are they called glass walls? Well in the preacher’s home often nothing is done without someone watching and waiting to criticize. From the deacon board and elders who don’t agree with the preacher’s method of disciplining his child to the women’s group that finds the new pastor’s wife a bit "uppity", everyone always wants to find fault. By looking for fault in the pastor’s family they can effectively overlook their own faults. Let the pastor’s wife miss a service because of a sick child and everyone on the prayer chain will be coming by on the pretense of offering help but soon as they leave the talking starts about "little Suzy who doesn’t look sick at all and I wonder if she just didn’t want to get up this morning". Should little Johnny get a bad grade on a report card everyone in town in talking about it and do you think the pastor is really doing his job if he can’t have his children do better than that? Heaven forbid one of the pastor’s kids get caught stealing a candy bar at the local grocery. Suddenly that child is the worse child ever even though their own child may be doing far worse.

This is the glass house, full of blessings yet full of trouble. A place that is made of glass because of the people in the congregation. If you know someone who has lived there or perhaps still does, have compassion on them. After all they are human too and they fail at times just as everyone else does. Perhaps the home they have had with the glass walls was not a pleasant place to live.

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