Saturday, April 3, 2010

#72 Guest Pastors

Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got til it's gone? White Christians have a complex relationship with their pastors. While they love their pastor, they have (ideally) a full hour every week to observe and analyze every move he makes. All this combined with the white Christian like of gossip lead to a very interesting give-and-take.

This complicated relationship is only brought into clearer focus when the pastor is away. While the guest pastor occupies the pulpit, white Christians can observe this non-indigenous species that has wandered into their ecosystem.

Their regular pastor has a unique set of pastoral idiosyncrasies, familiar gestures and phrases, and verbal crutches that go completely unnoticed until a guest pastor comes to town. Suddenly, the congregation yearns for the previously intolerable "ums, "ahhs," and "you knows." In fact, there's a good percentage of the white Christian congregation that will use the guest pastor week as an opportunity to skip church. "After all," reasons the well-rested sleeping in white Christian, "If the pastor's taking a week away from church, then so can I."

Actually, come to think of it, white Christians don't really like guest pastors, but they DO enjoy how much guest pastors make them appreciate their current pastor.


Paul Wilkinson (Thinking Out Loud) said...

I grew up in Toronto, Canada and attended The Peoples Church at a time when it was really Canada's only true 'mega-church.'

The pastor at the time, Paul B. Smith, had a policy: "When you're away, you should always replace yourself with someone who is better than yourself."

He was serious. There was never a dull moment around Peoples and we got to hear some amazing speakers.

KIM said...

After church shopping at many services only to be told, "you've GOT to come back next week and here it when the REAL guy's preaching," I so appreciate the church I've now found: the pastor is away more often than any other church I've ever been at, yet nothing ever stops when he is. Someone else preaches (sometimes someone else preaches even when he's -- gasp! -- there), but there's no to-do about it. Amazing, hey?