Friday, July 06, 2012

Reading Through A Pastor's Stories

One of my husband's congregants and our good friend, Sherri Burgher, gave him a book she thought he might enjoy.  It was added to the mile-high stack of books he hopes to read one day.  This week, he came across the book and tossed it to me with  a "You might enjoy this."

And, boy, did I!  Stories I Couldn't Tell While I Was A Pastor by Bruce McIver had me crying both with empathy and from laughing so hard my stomach hurt as he recounts episodes from his time as pastor of Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas from 1958 to 1988.

Growing up in what was, at the time, one of Louisville's larger Baptist churches and serving on staff there for a few years, I recognized many of the people about whom he writes.  Sure, they went by different names in Dallas, but I knew these people!  Any one in ministry will tell you, certain personalities exist in every church of every denomination and size - the good, the bad and the ... well, you know. As a pastor's wife now, I read the stories on the page while also reading the stories I knew were there between the lines!

This little snippet had me picturing the Daisy Nells in my home church:
Daisy Nell didn't intentionally try to disrupt a worship service or any other gathering for that matter; she just couldn't help it.  She was the kind of person whom you heard approaching, who filled the room when she arrived, and whose dust you saw when she left.
She was loud, boisterous, and loved a good argument.  The subject of debate really didn't seem to matter to her.  Among her specialties, however, were the new church budget, taxes, relatives, Paul's missionary journeys, the price of groceries, and the length of hair worn by a church staff member.  She would talk as long as anyone listened on any of these matters.  I'm convinced that the Daisy Nells of life are sent to keep pastor's humble, other staff members nervous, ushers hopping, and Sunday school teachers intimidated. . . Every new staff member, sooner or later, was initiated into the real world of ministry through an encounter with Daisy Nell.
If you have every been involved in church work, you will relate to these stories and find yourself teary-eyed at the poignancy of ministry one moment and chuckling at the hilarity of it the next.  Especially if Daisy Nell wants to show you her scar. . .

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