“Grumpy pastor ushered us into this dimly lit classroom—the kind with dark, wood-paneled walls and flickering, florescent lights”

"Love the people of God where they are, no matter how weird they may be." - Strange Tales from the Pulpit Supply Circuit

987 reads

There are 6 Comments

Bert Perry's picture

Been there--and with the particular grumpy pastor, I'd have gotten into big trouble, as I've been telling a joke about Dodges for a while:

Q.  What's the difference between a Jehovah's Witness and a Dodge?

A.  You can shut the door on a Jehovah's Witness!

Seriously, I've seen a lot of pastors saying some highly disputable things--thankfully not too many as obvious as accusing Solomon of having an Oedipus complex--and while you love people where you are when you are there, we also need to consider how much damage such "hirelings" do to the cause of Christ.  Simple fact of the matter is that obstinately insisting on falsehood and defending it with authority (instead of Scripture) is going to kill the faith of a lot of young people who (a) have read their Bibles and (b) can see through nonsense easily. 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Kevin Miller's picture

I just had to comment on the mention of Training Union in the article. I didn't know it was a Southern Baptist thing. When I was growing up, my church in a suburb of Minneapolis had it, and we weren't Southern Baptist. Each Sunday, we had Sunday School and the morning service, then Training Union at 6 and the evening service at 7. Once a month we stayed after the evening service for a singspiration and dessert time.


Aaron Blumer's picture


I think Training Union may well pre-date SBC. We had that sort of thing in Michigan as well, but didn't call it "training union."

JD Miller's picture

While on deputation l met a pastor who did not like how I was dressed.  As a church planter to South Dakota l wore a western sport coat black jeans a tie and cowboy boots.  He did not think I was dressed well,but he had on a shiny polyester suit that looked kinda tacky.  I still chuckle over that.

Aaron Blumer's picture


It's sometimes hard to understand how this sort of thinking comes about. It's so small. Is it due to to lack of imagination (of how different other folk's experiences and thinking might be) or lack of experience outside one's very small circle of relationships, or what? Maybe both?

I can't quite put my finger on it, but it seems like there is a theological problem--an anthropology problem--partly to blame. Maybe it's that Christians are not often enough challenged to grow in their undertanding of human things. We strongly emphasize "spiritual" growth, as we should, but maybe too often don't see the implications of that for growing as a human being. They really do go together in lots of ways. And you grow "as a person," partly by getting out of your comfort zone and learning how other people experience life, how they think, what their background is--what other cultures are like.

Wouldn't general maturity tend to make you look at someone's cowboy boots or whatever (piercings and tattoos?) and think well, everybody's different--what is this person like, beyond these select few external features?

Maybe grumpy pastor is grumpy because his world is so small.

Bert Perry's picture

Aaron, my take on the polyester suits is that it's simply 1950s culture....yes, probably includes a bit of small-mindedness, too, but at one level, it's simply that in the 1950s, your sign you were in the middle class was to wear a suit.  That kept going in more conservative churches long after it mostly died elsewhere, and since it was mostly a cultural expectation to simply wear the suit, polyester tended to be the material of choice.  

(also a reason our churches are often kept so warm in winter and so cold in summer....polyester doesn't have a very broad comfort range like wool, cotton, or linen)

(and if you thought "Bert is really something of a clothes snob", guilty as charged.  But I'm comfortable on both chilly and hot days, and I actually spend about average on clothes.  Smile)

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.