Monday, February 4, 2013

Credit Where Credit is Due

There’s been some fuss on the Internet about a pastor stiffing the waiter for a tip, saying she had “already given 10% to God” or some such self-righteous nonsense. I much prefer the example that one of the preachers from my old church set when he was downtown with a daughter of his, which I heard from someone to whom the daughter had told the story.

Apparently, as they were walking around downtown, this preacher gave some homeless guy the coat off his back, literally. And in doing so, I suspect he taught his daughter more than any amount of lecturing could have done. Not that he hasn’t also lectured, and in a positive way, too.

In one sermon he challenged the congregation to consider whether they would welcome someone into that sanctuary who looked very different (piercings, tattoos, etc.). After an awkward pause, the story goes, he said of course they would. That isn’t to say he wouldn’t also do the usual suggesting of a change in appearance to the outsider after the eventual hoped-for conversion. The point, I think (and I wasn’t there), is that Christians ought to there be no less willing to sit with publicans and sinners than Christ was.

I can assure you that this man would never have told the coat-off-his-back story himself. Tooting your own horn like that is just not something one does from a Laestadian pulpit. That certainly has its positive aspects, and is very much line with Paul’s beautiful confession of 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (as is Laestadian ministering generally), but it does make it harder for the preachers to be an example to the flock. So, I’m certainly happy to give credit where credit is due, heathen though I may be. Well done.

—First posted (without links) on Facebook, 2/4/13