Monday, March 18, 2013
I got speeding tickets on the first days of beginning pastorates in Pennsylvania and Missouri.
When I was stopped in Pennsylvania, I was a 25 year green rookie and begged for a pardon because I was afraid of what the church might say. The cop said the local papers didn't report that kinda stuff and gave the ticket to me.
When I was stopped in Missouri, I was an ecclesiastical boy wonder in my early 30s who was being heralded as one of the youngest "senior" pastors in the franchise. More full of myself back then than I am now, I told the cop that I was a Presbyterian pastor - senior pastor of... - and he handed the ticket to me while muttering, "I'm a Roman Catholic."
There are two reasons why I haven't had a speeding ticket in almost 20 years.
First, I figured out the connection between speeding tickets and insurance premiums.
Second, I'm a police chaplain.
I thought about that when a rookie asked me if she/he should call a special church board meeting because she/he just got a speeding ticket and...[see the second sentence/paragraph in the preceding section]...
If you want to know what it's like to be a rookie pastor, put on a deerskin and go walking through the woods on the first day of hunting season.
Really, I don't get it.
Lots of churchgoers who really don't know that much about loving Jesus by loving like Jesus really think rookies are paid to be abused.
They comment on everything about 'em - attire, vehicles, where they shop/eat, PKs, facial hair (guys), hair color (gals), hair length (never really been an issue pour moi), professional baseball/basketball/football team allegiances, vacationing habits, pets, hobbies, perfume, cologne, deodorant, boogers, flatulences, and...just about everything else that would evoke horror in them if anyone dared to probe their...
Really, I don't get it.
I haven't cared about any of that kinda stuff since I got closer to Jesus and...
Well, again, like bikers say, if I have to explain that to you, you wouldn't understand anyway.
Anyway, I really don't get it.
I've been told it's because they have so little control over their lives that they try to control the lives of rookies, the church is one of the few places that suffers fools gladly, they're mad about something or even God and transfer their sick pathologies to anyone who will take it, they're demonically oppressed or possessed, or...
I don't know.
It's like trying to define what is is.
That sounds familiar.
And it's just too damned - please take that word literally in this context - familiar...true.
It is what it is though it should not be in churches where people are supposed to be notoriously grace-filled as expressed by inclusion mirroring the pattern of the Founder.
So I was asked if I had any thoughts about what the rookie should do about the speeding ticket.
Can you imagine me being asked if I have any thoughts about...?
My response: "Yeah, admit it quickly...It's better to dump your garbage before someone digs it up...If ya confess, it deflates 'em...On the other hand, if any fool - Jesus used a Greek word that we transliterate as moron - wants to make an issue out of it, I'll come and..."
Then I said, "I think this is a great opportunity to have some fun!"
Fun: "I'd get up on Sunday during the announcements and say something like this, 'You've probably heard about this from someone...'cause I hear police scanners are big around here...Dang, I got a speeding ticket on my way to church...Can you believe it?...I was going 46 in a 30 mph zone...It just reminds me that I'm a sinner and need Jesus to save me from myself and people just like...But if someone asks, yep, it's true!...I know the Kingdom will rise or fall on this, so, uh, if anybody is bugged, I'm sorry...God knows I'm gonna watch that little dial a lot closer and maybe consider taking another road to...'"
Help us, Jesus!
The preceding is metaphor for why mainliners have moved to the sidelines of spiritual activity related to Jesus in America.
The fact that anyone would even care about...
Messed up priorities.
On the other hand, this is a great opportunity for that rookie to make a confession that could prompt...
Bill Clinton comes to mind.
He's been a joke since lying about...so many things.
For example, he would have elevated trust as well as credibility if he said, "Yeah, you're right, I did inhale...liked it...but I was spending too much $ at Burger King and had to stop...Boy, I just got sooooooo hot around Monica and...she even liked cigars and..."
While I'm more excited with more energy for undershepherding than I've ever been since October 2011 (go back in the archives if you missed commentary on that), I'm really, really, really glad that I'm not a rookie anymore.
Even...know not to mess with war veterans whose only Commander-in-Chief is Jesus.
Peddle to the metal!
Blessings and Love!