by Rick Jones, Husband of The Minister's Wife
The congregation at Goodold Baptist Church never knew what a debt they owed to Lois. She helped me with my sermons by listening to some of my ideas for illustrations and quotations, and for every remark that made folks cringe, there were probably two more, even worse, I edited out on her recommendation.
Like Dirty Harry said, “A man's got to know his limitations.” I knew I needed editorial assistance when I realized that one of my favorite poems is
by Ann Onymous
And, yes, I actually quoted that in one sermon. I think Lois was away visiting her mother that week. I hope you'll enjoy reading about some lighter moments in my ministry like I enjoyed living them:
The church was located along a state highway where many drivers habitually drove 15 to 20 MPH over the posted speed limit. So I put up a message on the church sign:
“NEVER DRIVE FASTER
THAN YOUR GUARDIAN ANGEL
SPEED LIMIT 40”
After the close of each service, I shook hands with people as they left the sanctuary. One Sunday, a woman who was concerned about germs, and could tell I had a sore throat, scolded me [while other people were standing within earshot] that it was inconsiderate of me to shake hands with people that Sunday. I responded, “But I really should greet you somehow,” then gave her the Star Trek Vulcan salute and said, “Peace and long life.” I'd guess 80% of the people who saw it were amused. She was not.
Having grown up with John Wayne as a childhood hero, I never did develop a liking for hugs as greetings, but as a pastor, I tried to be “tolerant” of people who preferred that instead of a handshake. One man, who knew I was a reluctant hugger, said, “It could be worse. I could follow the pronouncement in II Corinthians 13:12.” Which reads, “Greet one another with an holy kiss.” I suggested he recall Paul's words to the Philippian church, stand back, and “salute every saint.” Especially if he hadn't showered that morning.
A man once told me that he'd never come to Goodold Baptist Church because it was full of hypocrites. I answered that objection: “No, it's not full of them yet. Come on in, there's room for one more.”