People of Wick and Thurso,
piece has been doing the rounds for some years, but perhaps some readers
will not have seen it.
do not have happy results to report. We have not been able to find a suitable
candidate for this church, apart from one who seems to be promising. We
are grateful for all the suggestions from church members, and we have
followed up each candidate with interviews or calling at least three referees.
The following is our confidential report on the present candidates.
Good man but problems with his wife. Former nudist.
Noah: Former pastorate of 120 years with no converts. Prone to
unrealistic building projects.
Joseph: A big thinker but a braggart, believes in dream-interpreting,
and has a prison record.
Moses: A modest and meek man, but poor communicator. Sometimes
blows his stack and acts rashly. Some say that he left an earlier church
over a murder charge.
David: The most promising leader of all until we discovered the
affair he had with his neighbour's wife.
Solomon: Great preacher but our parsonage would never fit all those
Elijah: Prone to depression; collapses under pressure.
Hosea: A tender and loving pastor but our people could never handle
his wife's occupation.
Jeremiah: Emotionally unstable, alarmist, negative, always lamenting,
and reported to have taken a long trip to bury his underwear on the banks
of a foreign river.
Isaiah: On the fringe? Claims to have seen angels in church.
Jonah: Refused God's call into ministry until he was forced to
obey by getting swallowed up by a great fish, which he claimed later spat
him out on the shore near here. We hung up.
Amos: Too backward and unpolished. With appropriate theological
college training he might have promise, but has a hang-up about wealthy
people. Might fit in better in a poor congregation.
John: Says he is a Baptist, but definitely doesn't dress like one.
Has slept in the outdoors for months on end, has a weird diet, and provokes
Peter: Too blue-collar. Has a bad temper; has even been known to
curse. Had a big run-in with Paul (next candidate) in Antioch. Aggressive,
and a loose cannon.
Paul: Powerful CEO type, and fascinating preacher. However, short
on tact, unforgiving with younger ministers, harsh, and has been known
to preach all night.
Timothy: Too young.
Jesus: Has had popular times: at one point he had 5,000 in his
congregation. Somehow he managed to offend them all and this church dwindled
to twelve people. Seldom stays in one place very long. And, of course,
Judas: His references are solid. A steady plodder. Conservative.
Good connections. Knows how to handle money. We're inviting him to preach
this Sunday. Possibilities here.
funny, of course, but the laughter ought to be rueful, because it shows
up how often we, God's people, fail so spectacularly to see ourselves
and others as God does. And it also reminds us, as if we needed reminding,
that God calls the most unlikely people to be his ambassadors. This month
we celebrate the feasts of Francis of Assisi, who could be termed a drop-out,
James, brother of Our Lord, who couldn't, in Jesus's lifetime, see what
was as plain as the nose on his face in terms of his elder half-brother,
and Jude, the patron saint of lost causes (whom I for one find the most
helpful to appeal to for help in finding lost items of mine.
we fail to see others as God sees them, then the same, for sure, applies
to ourselves: when God calls us to some service for him, he knows what
he is doing and we can do no better than take him at his word.
my love and prayers,