Saturday, January 14, 2006

St.Peter,Golf, Woman and Hell

Once upon a time, St. Peter was going to play golf with God. He told his helper, "Don't call me. I mean it! Don't call me about anything!"

St. Peter's helper stood by the Pearly Gates waiting. Up came a man seeking admittance to heaven. The helper asked him, "What have you done for the poor?"

The man said, "Well, once when I was walking to my office a drunk was leaning against my building. I gave him .50 to go away."
"What else did you do for the poor?", asked the helper.
The man thought long and hard. "I gave .50 cents to a bum once", he said.

The helper thought long and hard. He picked up the heavenly cell phone and called St. Peter.
He told St. Peter the man's story and asked, "What should I do, St. Peter?"

St. Peter said, "Give the man his dollar back and tell him to go to hell!"

Tonight I got a call from a woman in another State. She sends a check to Little Church every month. She's faithful about sending us a check. I don't know how much it is because I'm Presbyterian and we don't look at who gives us what. At least, I don't.

She was enraged by the changes we plan to make at Little Church. We intend to paint the interior of the building, replace the plain glass tall windows in the sanctuary with new wood windows, get new electrical wiring and put in a small kitchen. Enraged.

It's been awhile since I've had someone speak to me as she did today. I speak civilly to adults and children and I'm used to being reponded to in kind.

She asked about the church's finances as though she had a right to know our most intimate arrangements. She didn't agree that any of our repairs and restorations were needed in our old simple wood building.

I explained to her that our repairs are paid for already. We are waiting for workers to do the work. All of the improvements we dream of at Little Church are being done with money donated to us by loving churches around the U.S. They know we've been hard hit by the Hurricane. They know we are a small church. The churches gave with an open hand.

She assumed I was an upstart, with no sense, trying to change "her" church.

(I suppose I should be thrilled that she thinks I'm an upstart!)

She doesn't attend Little Church. I've never met her after 3 plus years as pastor and four years before that as occasional supply there.

It's only because I remember every counseling skill I learned at Seminary and CPE and the fact that I control my temper that I didn't say,

"Here's your $ and go to hell!"

I just thought you should know,

St. Casserole


Aola said...

so many, many responses rolling around in my brain....

you are a good woman St. C., a very good woman indeed.

Jane Ellen+ said...

God bless you, sister. It's moments like that where I have to work very hard indeed to surpress my Inner Mill Rat vocabulary.

Songbird said...

That is truly painful.
(I would have been tempted to say, "Don't be a poopy-head.")

cheesehead said...

Oh dear. They are all over aren't they? From the snow belt to the deep south. Sigh... This is precisely why I don't know who gives what, either.

Sounds as if you showed her what grace looks like. Score one for the good gals.

Quotidian Grace said...

Another story proving that being a pastor is the toughest job in this world.

I don't know yet about the next :-)

Purechristianithink said...

Oh but it could be worse . . . at least she vented to you directly. She could have made things especially festive by unloading on that one elder that doesn't like you that much anyway, who could then have hinted to others that he'd been hearing from "people" who are very upset about the whole remodelling thing and these others could have reported to you that the whole church was about to explode. . .

Kathryn said...

Youre friends are VERY proud of you....and absolutely agree with PCIT that it's the sort of thing that can too easily spread like wildfire. We've a shining example of how that works right here at St M's at the moment :-(

cheesehead said...

Oh, PCIT, are you living my life? That exact thing happened to me this past week. It would be funny, were it not so tragically dysfunctional.

reverendmother said...

Yeah, PCIT nails it in one.

That sucks, St. Cass. You are indeed a good person, and a class act all the way.

St. Casserole said...

Thanks, Y'all. I've calmed down and enjoyed being at worship this morning.
Thanks for the support and kind words.
RevMom/Cheesehead: hang in there. I'm sorry you have poopy heads in your congregation. I'm REALLY sorry.