(I just want to stare and stare at this all day….)
I never met this minister, in fact I cannot now remember his name.
When I first started, someone gave me a booklet that a local church had produced to celebrate its 75th anniversary. I like getting stuff like this: understanding the past is often a way to understanding the present and the future.
In the booklet were short stories of old ministers. I read them with interest; would this help me in my future? One phrase hit me from this particular minister; after describing how he and his wife routinely ran off x hundred copies of the notices every Friday night (!) he wrote something like ‘whilst still having time for the occasional expidition into Snowdonia.’
Even when I read that over 12 years ago, something inside of me went ‘This is wrong; so wrong’. I felt: you live on the edge of one of the most glorious areas in Britain and you only made ‘occasional excursions’ into it? I also thought: why do you have to make it sound so ‘guilty’ as in- ok I worked and worked and worked for the church and occasionally, naughty me, I went out and enjoyed myself- but don’t worry, it was only ‘occasional’.
I have no idea whether that person who wrote those words is alive or dead and I am not so much making a point of his words more the style of life they imply. A style of life that was practically commended to me as normal: work all the hours God sends, your wife will sort everything else out, never relax and if you are going to have time out, don’t talk about it in case it upsets people that you are not working.
Maybe I am being too harsh, but that was the daftness that I picked up and which made it harder to rebel or feel I was ‘naughty’ if I did…
Having held onto this booklet for years I threw it away recently when I was having a clear out. Rereading those mini biographies and the homogeneity of them gave me a feeling of ‘no; this is the past, it can no longer provide a pattern to my present’….
Every Tuesday I am going to post somethings that people have said to me as a minister that are just plain daft. The only provisos:-
1: The person who said it should have known better- ie they are ordained or have been active in the church for ages.
2: Nothing that I will feature has been said by anyone where I currently live or serve.
3: I am reasonably tolerant (unless you misfile my cds) of most things, but these things once got under my skin.