Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How to pick a preacher

First - I know you don't often hear me talk about religion. I am a believer and I do attend some church. I do think any walk of religious background will appreciate a little humor on the topic. Please read and enjoy.

Second -
Song of the day: "Amazing Grace" Ani Defranco

Quote of the day: "The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending, then having the two as close together as possible." George Burns (1896-1996)

I might actually blog later but I am trying to sort a few things out here. LOL. Any tips on how to find a baby sitter for one night a week?

Now for the topic:

By Joe Carter - for more information on him, please visit his web page

For my next career (i.e., after I get fired from this job) I'm considering going into the ministry. Not oly do I think it is my calling in life but to me it's the perfect job. Being a pastor would allow me to combine my three biggest passions; telling people how they should live, avoiding manual labor, and eating.

Preachers lead a cushy, well-fed existence. Basically all they do is talk and eat. That seems to be the standard format for a life as a minister. Put in an hour of work on Sunday - then get invited to lunch. Visit with the sick people in the hospital - then eat their Jello when they nod off. Grab a deacon and drop by some unsuspecting parishioner's house during dinnertime - and then , well, you get the idea. Then, after a long day of talking and gorging, you can go soak your feet in the baptistery. What more could you ask for in a career?

Unfortunately, though, it will be a few more years before I have a congregation of my own. When I become a minister then you are welcome to join my church (note: I have a preference for fried chicken and corn on the cob). So, in the meantime, here are a few pointers to picking out a preacher:

Ensure the pastor knows what he is talking about - Like everyone else, preachers sometimes get lazy and don't properly prepare. Sometimes, if they think no one is paying attention, they often just start making stuff up like referring to - called "books of the Bible" such as Nahum or Habbakuk or Haggai. Don't let them fool you. I've been reading the Bible my whole life and I can tell you that I've never seen any of those books before.

Be sure he isn't long winded - This becomes especially important during football season. While it can be difficult to spot a gasbag before they get started, often times you can pick up on subtle clues. For example, if he opens his sermon with, "How 'bout them Cowboys!" there's a good chance you'll be out in time for kickoff. If, on the other hand, you notice he takes a sack lunch to the podium then pray you remembered to set TiVo.

Avoid overbearing preachers - Though they have the best of intentions, some preachers can be a bit hard to stomach. I once had a pastor who would constantly refer to us "lost", "degenerate sinners", and "in need of redemption." Once he got wound up it would spiral off into claims that we were "wicked", "unrepentant" and " bound for hell." Now, if such fire-and brimstone rhetoric had come on Sunday morning I wouldn't have minded; but when you're playing church league softball you really expect more encouragement from the coach.

Find a minister that won't sugarcoat the truth - While you do't want a preacher who's too harsh, you also don't want one that is afraid to be controversial. Church people are just sinners like everyone else. The only difference is that we know where to meet on Sunday to hear the best gossip. In order to keep us on the straight and narrow we need to har sermons on the touchy subjects that hit close to home. One of my favorite pastors used to preach about a different sin every week. Every sermon he would rail against backbiters, slanderers, hypocrites, perverts, etc. I always went home feeling the message had really touched my heart, almost as if it were meant for me. His sermons never failed to stir me, though to be perfectly honest, I would have preferred he had not ended each example of wickedness with" Joe"


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