During a recent conversation, a girl with whom I work told me about a church she and her husband visited recently.
The place was a small, nondenominational affair. My coworker described the red-headed preacher as a “sweater and a puffer,” meaning that he affects the niggeresque hyperventilating style, where the so-called “sermon” is delivered in a rapid call & response manner, complete with shouts and fists slammed on the pulpit.
She told me that at one point during the sermon, the pastor began running around the pulpit, and then up and down the aisles of the church, and then finally right out the damned door. She looked out the window and saw the pastor hurtling past, still a-huffin’ and a-preachin’. She pointed at the spectacle and looked wide-eyed at her husband. Her husband shushed her and pushed her hand down into her lap.
After describing this scene, my coworker asked me what I thought. I told her that I thought her pointing and drawing incredulous attention to the pastor was entirely appropriate. I told her that the proper response to an asinine spectacle is to mock and deride it. I asked her what she thought the pastor’s actions had to do with the gospel or the kingdom of God or His desire for His children. She had no answer.
It’s easy to make fun of congregations and church leaders who countenance behavior like this, but the holy-roller crowd does not have a corner on the market when it comes to stupid-ass antics.
Consider the pastor who tells his hard-working flock that they’re sinning if they don’t put 10% of their wage-slave income into the offering plate, the end result being that the pastor can continue living his lifestyle and occupying the house that almost certainly is more luxurious than that owned/rented by the majority of the community in which he “ministers.”
Consider the pastor who interrupts a man who is attempting to repent or apologize to the pastor, telling the man, “I want you to use biblical language when you talk to me.”
Consider the seminary professor who tells his former students — who are now full-fledged pastors of churches — how they may and may not spend their lunch hours when they are in town for a day, visiting him and other old friends.
Consider the pastor who “fences the table” every time he superintends at the
Lord’oeuvres Lord’s Snack Supper, warning unrepentant sinners or non-church-members to abstain from partaking, even though every single person sitting in front of him are members of his congregation, personally known to him. And consider that he spends interminable minutes of re-gospeling his congregation before passing out the tiny morsel of bread and the sip of Welch’s, even though he just spent 45 minutes proclaiming God’s word as the mouthpiece of Christ and the Herald of the Gospel.
Consider the pastor who, when approached by a nerdy, overly-needy Ned Flanders member of his congregation for advice on which new automobile would be most God-glorifying to buy, instead of telling the fellow to be a man and exercise the gifts of wisdom and discernment given him, actually has a 30-minute conversation with the poor twit and gives him pastoral counsel, delivered in a theatrical voice with appropriate avuncular facial expressions.
Consider the pastor who, when told that the long, dry “worship services” are boring, tells the complaining churchman that the churchman simply doesn’t understand the gospel sufficiently.
Consider the pastor who tells a father — who has informed the pastor that he doesn’t want his daughter dating a black man — that the father has no right and no scriptural warrant to exercise paternal authority in this matter.
And yes, gentle reader, all of the above are real-life examples, known personally to me or to close friends and family.
There are worse things in this world than preachers who run around outside their church buildings, acting like chimpanzees. Much worse things. There are tyrants and bloodless buffoons with MDiv after their names. There are nancyboys and poseurs and ivory tower idiots who read (and write reviews of) commentaries about commentaries and inflict their arid and lifeless gleanings on their poor congregations and blog readers. There are whining, emotive little girls posing as men of God who cry easier than Vince Gill and whine like a Jew pawnbroker who just got bested in a deal. There are preening pulpiteers who see themselves as lions of the faith, and there are needy, perpetually immature churchy types who actually believe this self-constructed crap. They are little moaning, tsking weak sisters like Kevin Swanson, self-hating McMansion dwellers with soft hands and soft heads and soft, sibilant voices. There are many of these contemptible males to consider.
Consider The Reverend Lane Keister (TRLK–pronounced “turlick,” MacPherson added helpfully) for one. In a past post, I poked fun at the fact that this is how Keister identifies himself: “My name is Rev. Lane Keister.” And then Keister lied his little Reformed ass off and denied that he proclaims his name to be “Rev. Lane Keister,” even though a quick visit to his “About” page on his blog shows this to be actual, factual, smacktual. TRLK is a public figure who presents himself as a spokesman for the Ever-Living God, which means he’s a big boy, so he can take what follows.
During our initial exchange back in March, TRLK demonstrated a sad and predictable misunderstanding of the word “church,” missing several points (the word “church” is derived from a word meaning “building,” not the literal “called out ones” used in the Greek; that the called-out ones didn’t need “organizing” by the apostles –they already were the ekklesia, and the organizational work of the apostles was quotidian, not essential to the nature of the assemblies of the children of Yahweh, etc.).
It’s instructive to look at TRLK’s church’s website. The banner shows TRLK himself from the rear, most likely ushering his closed-eyed and heads-bowed flock before the throne of grace. The photograph is really fascinating. Did TRLK instruct someone to stand behind him and take this photo? Or did someone take it upon himself to sneak up behind the Professional Church Officer and snap a candid photo? If the former, then how sad that TRLK would intentionally stage such a self-aggrandizing scene. If the latter, one wonders if TRLK and his black-robed crew brought the misguided shutterbug up on charges for disrupting the peace and purity of the assembly by ambushing their TeeEee with a candid photo? One wonders if TRLK is superstitious after the fashion of the beloved nigger savages in Africa, fearing that some of his ecclesiastical authority might have been stolen and frozen onto the photo, and thus decided to display it as a sort of totem? Since I can’t gin up the enthusiasm for things like the Christotelic scale, I have to make do with my own pedestrian metaphysical musings.
One wonders if any of TRLK’s followers ever get straight answers to questions. In my brief exchange with him, I asked him if his congregation was incorporated under 501 c (3) IRS regulations. He answered in a sorta kinda affirmative way, but wondered why I would ask such a question. This “wondering” suggest that he’s either being coy and evasive, or is completely oblivious to a thinking believer’s concern over a “church” seeking the imprimatur of the State in any form or fashion. Neither coy nor clueless are listed in the fruits of the Spirit, are they?
The “pastors,” these self-styled “heralds of the Gospel” are males who, as a dear friend of mine recently put it, “have lucked their way into pursuing their hobby for a living, and getting paid handsomely for it.” This is true, this is true, this is true. There are a tiny handful of anonymous men out there, laboring in obscurity in small country and rural churches, men who grew up in those areas, men who know every person within a twenty mile radius of the church building, men who know what work and suffering are, men who care nothing for the estimation of a bunch of lettered peers, but who rise and sleep under a burden of concern for their trusting flocks. But “tiny handful” is the key phrase here. The professional pulpiteers who draw my disgust are the ones who attend conference after conference so they can network with males just like themselves. They are the ones who, when asked how they’re doing, reply with a chirpy, “Better than I deserve!” They are the ones who smile their oily smiles while announcing this week’s “Pot Providence” meal and refuse to use the literary term “devil’s advocate” because, well, they wouldn’t want to give glory to the fearsome Adversary with whom they are locked in mortal combat every single day in their centrally-heated-and-cooled carpeted offices while their sheep are sweating and freezing and smashing fingers and battling diseases and dealing with churlish customers and clients. They live to please the women of their congregation, while the men in their congregations work wage-slave jobs on the corporate plantations, often for shrewish, bull-dyke non-church versions of the holy harpies for whom the pastors dance.
They style themselves as Defenders of the Faith, living on the dangerous frontier of taking the Gospel to all the world….but is this what they do? They travel into unknown, hostile lands and share a teaching that no one in that area has ever heard before? Bullshit. They are all competing, all of these churchyboys, for the same scraps of attention and tithe that all their fellow “ministers” have been competing for for centuries. They live in posh houses, get their generous salaries and retirement packages and sabbaticals and book allowances on the backs of people they intentionally keep ignorant and fearful. They take money for doing something their members could do on their own if they were taught how. They have no business being paid to “preach,” especially since almost all of them are more able to do physical or mental labor than most of their aging flock. They are sneering parasites, uttering pronouncements from their country clubs. In a post last month, TRLK offered this generous statement: “Pastors do not need to have a Ph.D. to exercise a unified theological encyclopedia in their ministries.” I’m sure the rough old fisherman named Peter would have been relieved to be instructed thus.
Do they ever wonder why there are no poor people in their congregations? Oh, sure, every Presbyterian/Reformed congregation has that one “pity family” that they “minister to” by giving them rides to the doctor – as long as the family accepts rides to every worship service too! – but where are the real poor people who live in the community?
Do they ever wonder why men (as opposed to males) detest their church services and go to extraordinary lengths to avoid them? Oh, that’s right…it must be because those men don’t understand the Gospel sufficiently.
Do they ever wonder just where they get the authority to do what they do? Oh, right…they get it from their denomination. One of over 30,000, I believe. And where did they receive the vaunted call to the “ministry?” Did they hear a voice? No, that just wouldn’t do…that would place them in the “mystic” camp. Did they have a dream? An impulse? Or perhaps some seminary-trained authority figure talked to them during a ten-minute break at a conference and planted the moldy seed into their brain: “I believe you’re being called into full-time Christian service, young man.” But did the Holy Spirit of God call them? If so, how do they know? Do congregations ever ask these questions? No…the poor paying sheep just accept what they’re told. After all, their leaders would never mislead or abuse them, right?
These church-boys are not apostles. They were not called by Yahweh to do what they do; this is easy to prove by looking at what they produce in their “ministries” and comparing this to the Scriptures. They have no apostolic authority, and they do not succeed from the apostles. They are biblical bullies and brigands. They are clouds without rain, and they owe a day of reckoning, a day in which no pulpit and no black robe will hide them.
Christ Jesus, our kinsman Redeemer, came into this world, lived in poverty and endured suffering and was perfected through this suffering to save His people from their sins. He instituted a new covenant, effective upon His death, a new covenant that declares that our Father will be our God, will write His laws on our minds and hearts, and that we do not need anyone to tell us to know Him. This is truly the good news. This is a light shining in the darkness. This is the core of the season of Advent. And these small, grasping men with their educated voices and self-congratulatory smiles and grasping, clasping lifestyles have nothing to do with it. Turn away from them. Turn to your Father. He is more than sufficient for all that you need. Think on this during Christmastide.