I have a lovely history with Christian pastors, nearly a dozen of them, that have literally
shown up at just the right time. There was Greg, a youth pastor who took this motley group of
teens and turned us into a street choir. He used to yell, “it’s supposed to be a joyful noise
unto the lord, not a plaintive wail!”
My time with each one of them has been rather short, but the quality of what they have given
has been priceless. They’ve been awesome, earthly rocks much needed when they’ve arrived.
I’ve been visiting churches for about two years now and I think I’m really starting to empathize
with pastors in a whole new way. Until recently I’ve never really thought about what it must be
like for them. It doesn’t look like a bad job…except it involves people and that’s where
everything always starts to go wrong.
My first churchian peeve is women. Yes, I know, I am one, and although I think we’re wonderful,
women have a way of assaulting people with dozens of bits of mundane information. I’ve watched
several pastors try to keep their eyes from glazing over as they get the latest update about
somebody’s aunt in Kansas and how that relates to what kind of napkins are going to be brought
to a picnic. Women can be like fragmented whirlwinds of directionless energy. Don’t be offended,
last year I had a hurricane named after me and I felt quite honored.
My second churchian peeve is constant health problems. I get it, I really do, we all want to
be healed and God does heal, but when we start obsessively climbing into every aspect of our
bodies, it gets a bit creepy. I don’t want to pray for your colonoscopy or your Aunt’s corn
removal and I sure don’t want to hear the details! One church got so bad listing all the
health concerns, I wanted to stand up and ask, “don’t any of you have any MENTAL health needs?
Because I got enough mental health issues for this entire congregation! Let me tell you, nothing
takes your mind off your blood sugar better than sitting on the ceiling arguing the nature of
reality with God. Anybody ever done that? I highly recommend it.”
My third churchian peeve is depressed people. Some people by nature are melancholy, others are
in a state of grief and that’s understandable. But there’s a rule when you’re a Christian, you
simply aren’t allowed to be miserable about it.
If it drives me nuts, it must be really hard on pastors. I’m just visiting. They’re stuck there.
Pastors really have a difficult job and they need our prayers. What goes on in the church is
bad enough, but outside those doors is a kind of post apocalyptic horror show. Last week
I met a man who got hit by a bus…on his way home from chemotherapy. While in the hospital,
his wife left him, he lost his apartment, and he’s now in a wheel chair living in his car.
He told me he didn’t have the courage to go to church and I understood just what he meant.
It’s certainly not for the faint of heart.