I’M NOT TALKING about eating with the pastor.
I’m talking about eating the pastor alive…after the worship service on Sunday.
“Having the pastor for lunch,” in the context of criticizing the pastor’s performance on Sunday, is a phrase I first heard from a friend of mine: Gene Van Note. Before he became an editor, Gene was a pastor.
I knew that Gene knew what he was talking about because I have had many pastors for lunch after church.
I almost never ate with them. But I have often eaten them alive, while chatting over Sunday lunch with friends.
It seems like a natural thing to do, talking about the worship service…the main feature of which is the sermon.
The pastor stands up and talks for 30 minutes or longer. Usually longer. Then we pass the plate, sing the song, listen to the prayer, and go away.
If the sermon was thought-provoking, who would not expect us to talk about it over lunch?
If the sermon was mind-numbing, who would not expect us to say so over lunch?
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with talking about the sermon ideas we agree with or disagree with. I think any good pastor would want us to do that.
But there is a line we cross.
I think it’s easy to tell exactly where the line is.
Just before we open our mouth to say what we’re about to say, we might ought to think about whether or not we’d say it if the pastor was sitting at our table.
I feel very comfortable saying things like this:
- “I don’t think that illustration worked well with point he was trying to make.”
- “I really hate it when she goes abstract and stays there for a long time without saying anything that creates mental images in my head. I think Jesus got it right when he did a lot of his teaching by telling stories.”
- “We have a lot of musical talent in the church. I wonder why we keep using that one person who can’t seem to stay in the general vicinity of the notes?” (OK, so I’m a little more blunt than some folks. But I really would be relaxed about asking that one.)
If the pastor were sitting at the table, though, I might not feel quite so comfortable saying things like this:
- “Well, that was a stinker of a sermon.”( I might think it, but I probably shouldn’t say it.)
- “That plaid outfit made her look a little bit like a recliner I once threw away.”
- “I wonder what his wife does. Never see her around much. Wonder if she has a drinking problem or something? Not that I would want to start a rumor.”
If I’m going to have the pastor for lunch, I think it’s best that I actually have the pastor for lunch – or at least speak as though the pastor is sitting there with me.
Sounds like a good idea.
“Blessed is the person who does not… join the company of mockers” (Psalm 1:1, God’s Word Translation).
Very well said, Steve. Thank you for the support. Jill
Very well said, Stephen. Thank you for the support. Jill
Having been a pastor’s wife, I got to be eaten, too. Very thought-provoking, plus it can be applied to anyone, not just the pastor. If you wouldn’t say it to them, why say it at all?
hahaha! “Not that I would want to start a rumor..” that’s a good one, Steve, but unfortunately, all too true. I am bad about gossip, I admit. I enjoy it sometimes, because it gives my over-inflated ego a boost. However, my partner is NOT a gossip. He despises it. He is one of the most forgiving and gracious people I have ever met, and even when someone is being obviously rude, conceited, bitter or just plain jerky, he will still try to understand why and give them the benefit of the doubt. So…being around him has helped me, as he and I attend church services together, and it is difficult to gossip with someone who won’t gossip back! There were a couple of times, however, when I heard something out-of-line in a sermon, and I emailed the pastor about it. But…I am not the one up there preaching, so I suppose I should be more inclined to hold my tongue. That, by the way, was a lesson my first Bible-study teacher taught me by making me memorize, from the King James Bible, EVERY verse about anything to do with the tongue, the mouth, idle talk, gossip, backbiting, evil-speaking, etc.
I received this from one of my Baptist friends who has a sense of humor. There are more subtle ways to eat the preacher I suppose.
There was a feud between the Pastor and the Choir
Director of The Somewhere Southern Baptist Church.
It seems the first hint of trouble came when the
Pastor preached on “dedicating yourselves to service”
and the Choir Director chose to sing:
“I Shall Not Be Moved.”
Trying to believe it was a coincidence, the Pastor
put the incident behind him. The next Sunday he
preached on “giving.” Afterwards, the choir squirmed
as the director led them in the hymn:
“Jesus Paid It All.”
By this time, the Pastor was losing his temper.
Sunday morning attendance swelled as the tension
between the two built.
A large crowd showed up the next week to hear his
sermon on “The Sins of Gossiping.” Would you
believe the Choir Director selected:
“I Love To Tell The Story?”
There was no turning back. The following Sunday the
Pastor told the congregation that unless something
changed, he was considering resignation. The entire
church gasped when the Choir Director led them in:
“Why Not Tonight?”
Truthfully, no one was surprised when the Pastor
resigned a week later, explaining that Jesus had led
him there and Jesus was leading him away. The
Choir Director could not resist
“What A Friend We Have In Jesus.”
Well, I posted yesterday, but it did not show for some reason. I am SO guilty of this…I admit that I like to gossip, and I have had to work very hard on not expecting every pastor/priest to be perfect. My partner, who despises gossip, is the one I usually discuss the sermon with directly after any service. His distaste for evil-speaking helps me to stay in line and speak positively.