Category: humor

A Great Book for Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day will be here before you know it — May 9, to be exact.  I’ve got the perfect gift for you to give away at church, or for that special mother in your own life.  My author friend, Joan Wester Anderson, has written a delightful little book about the joys and challenges of motherhood, Moms Go Where Angels Fear to Tread:  Adventures in Motherhood.

Joan has written over a dozen books about angels, which is how I got to know her.  Earlier this year, I preached a series of sermons on angels, and Joan’s books are just chock full of great, true angel stories.  But her book, Moms Go Where Angels Fear To Tread, reflects her own real life experiences as a mother and wife.  These funny short stories, and there are 40 of them, cover everything from having a sick husband (men revert to less than children when sick), to taking a class in how to get organized (it didn’t help), to things she wished she’d never said (there’s a list for her husband and kids, too).

Mostly, Joan communicates the joys, minor irritations, and major rewards of being a mom.  The mothers, grandmothers, daughters, and even a dad or two in your congregation will get a laugh out of these everyday stories filled with warmth, good humor, and grace.  Guideposts is the publisher, and you still have time to order one (or a carton) to give away this Mother’s Day.  You can find out more about Joan Wester Anderson at her website,, or friend her on Facebook.  Happy reading this Mother’s Day!

Would You Use This Easter Billboard?

St. Matthew In The City Church in Auckland, New Zealand is an Anglican congregation which uses some edgy advertising to get the largely unchurched Auckland population to think.

This Easter, St. Matthew’s put up this billboard explaining that in the Orthodox tradition there is a practice of humor which dispels the gloom of Jesus’ death.  Someone took offense, and vandalized the billboard, crudely spray painting a reference to John 3:16 in the place of the original message.

What do you think?  Did the church go too far?  Is the vandalism the work of fundamentalists?  Or do you think St. Matthew’s hit a nerve that they intended to hit?  Hat-tip to Religion Dispatches for the heads up and their article.  Here are the photos of the before and after billboard:

Vote for this blog during SBC Blog Madness

Update:  Well, we didn’t make the cut, but thanks for those of you who voted.  It was, as they say, an honor to be nominated.

Over at SBC Voices, the annual “SBC Blog Madness” coincides every year with basketball’s March Madness.  You have the chance to vote for Confessions of a Small-Church Pastor, and keep us in the hunt for the Final Four!  Here’s what you do:

1.  Go to SBC Voices Blog Madness page.

2.  Confessions of a Small-Church Pastor is in the Midwest bracket (go figure) at #13.

3.  Check the box across from this blog in the voting area below the list of blogs.  Don’t confuse Confessions of a Recovering Pharisee (#12) with this blog.  My name — Chuck Warnock — is next to this blog’s name.

4.  Vote and then look at the results.  Hopefully, we’ll make the cut.

Thanks for voting.  Remember, as they say in Chicago, vote early and vote often!

Secret to Stopping Gun Violence – Designer Handbags

Vera Bradley handbag saves a life. Courtesy
Vera Bradley handbag saves a life. Courtesy

A retired Danville policeman got a bang out of his dinner this week.  Apparently the ex-officer, John William Martin, 73, had stuck his pistol in the waistband of his pants before chowing down at a local seafood restaurant here.  When he stood up, the gun discharged, shooting a bullet into the floor where it fragmented and wounded three people, one being Martin.  So much for arming the citizenry to protect us.

However, in Baltimore this week, innocent bystanders were wounded by a gunman who fired randomly during a fight between two females.  Some individuals were wounded, but one bystander was saved from injury by her Vera Bradley designer handbag, which took a bullet for her.

The Vera Bradley people are glad the woman is okay, and said their thoughts and prayers were with her and her family.  To ease the pain of losing her VB handbag in the carnage, the Vera Bradley folks want to send her a replacement.  How thoughtful!

Which brings me to my solution for stopping gun violence:  Give everybody a Vera Bradley designer handbag.

Apparently they’re good at stopping bullets, and they come with a lifetime guarantee which includes gunshot damage.  Plus, when not stopping bullets, they’re very stylish I’ve been told.  This solution is bound to please both the NRA and the designer handbag industry, producing a win-win for everyone.  Don’t thank me, I’m just glad I was able to help.

All Search Committees are Liars, But Not Intentionally

If you have ever dealt with a pastor or staff search committee, you perhaps noticed a significant gap in what the committee told you during the search process, and the reality at the church once you arrived.  This is known as Search Committee Syndrome — the tendency for search committees to overstate, underplay, hope-for-the-best, or be clueless about their own church.

Search Committee Syndrome affects 100% of search committees according to the latest study by The Search Committee Institute based in Nashville, Tennessee.  According to the executive director, Reverend Ben D. Seevd, “search committees can’t help themselves, but they really mean no harm.”

Try telling that to the pastor who was assured by the search committee “of course, we want to grow” followed by “we’ll do whatever it takes to reach people.”

This phenomenon seems to cut across all denominational lines, and even extends to non-denominational churches that are really cool and have their own baristas.

Indicators that Search Committee Syndrome might be present in a group are:

  1. The group is called a “Search Committee.”
  2. The group consists of men and/or women.
  3. The group wants to find the best person for the job, including the person God has chosen, (assuming that he or she is willing to accept the salary package they have chosen).
  4. The group conducts meetings.

So, there you have it.  By using these four surefire Search Committee Syndrome indicators, you can be prepared in advance when dealing with your next search committee.  Remember:  all search committees are liars, but not intentionally.  That will make the next five years of sorting out conflict much easier, according to Rev. Ben D. Seevd, who apparently speaks both from his extensive research, and a sad personal history.

Caution: there is no cure for Search Committee Syndrome.  Furthermore, it can be contagious, spilling over into Resume Inflation Syndrome, I’ve Got To Get Out of Here Syndrome, and I Hear God Calling Me Elsewhere Syndrome.  Be careful out there.

The Dangers of Recorded Music at a Funeral

The Wizard of Oz is on tonight for the gazillionth time, and it reminded me of a funny story I heard a couple of years ago.  We were in Nashville for a sad occasion — the funeral of a family member.   Debbie was responsible for the arrangements, and we got to know the funeral director pretty well.  He told us this story one afternoon:

A family had made arrangements for the funeral service of the matriarch of the family.  When asked about music for the service, the family commented that their mother’s favorite song was Somewhere Over The Rainbow from The Wizard of Oz.  

Of course, no one could sing it like Judy Garland, so they decided to use the CD soundtrack from the movie.  Somewhere Over The Rainbow was to be played as the casket was rolled into the chapel.  

Everything was ready for the service to begin, and the funeral home started the CD.  But, for some reason the family lingered, delaying their entry and the entry of the casket into the chapel.  Somewhere Over The Rainbow played over the chapel speakers, as the captivating voice of Judy Garland sang a mother’s favorite song.

Just as Somewhere Over The Rainbow was ending, the family was ready, the chapel doors opened, and the casket was rolled in.  Unfortunately, no one stopped the CD.  As Judy Garland’s voice faded away, the next track on the CD kicked in.  Ding Dong The Witch is Dead blared out in the serenity of the chapel to the chagrin of family, friends, and funeral home.  Fortunately, the technician stopped the CD before the munchkins all began to sing in unison, but the damage was already done.  

And that, my friends, is why I do not like to use recorded music at funerals.

The 12 Days of A Small-Church Pastor’s Christmas

christmas_treeWith apologies to whomever wrote the original.

On the first day of Christmas my ministry assistant gave to me, one cup of coffee, and a broken chrismon off the chrismon tree.

On the second day of Christmas my VBS director gave to me, two nice craft projects, her resignation, and a broken chrismon off the chrismon tree.

On the third day of Christmas my Building chairman gave to me, three bills for paying, two bulbs for changing, and a broken chrismon off the chrismon tree.  

On the fourth day of Christmas my choir director gave to me, four great musicians (one played off-key), three new hymns, and a broken chrismon off the chrismon tree.

On the fifth day of Christmas my missions coordinator gave to me, a missions prayer calendar from 1953, four missions goals, three unreached peoples, two missions projects, and a broken chrismon off the chrismon tree.

On the sixth day of Christmas my children’s worker gave to me, six dirty diapers, all were quite stinky, five recalled toys, four had lead in them, three melted  crayons, two volunteers, and a broken chrismon off the chrismon tree.

On the seventh day of Christmas our webguy gave to me, more bad news, six google searches, five metatags, four busted mouses, three new solutions, two more excuses, and a broken chrismon off the chrismon tree.

On the eighth day of Christmas my finance chair gave to me, some worthless stock with seven strings attached, six pastdue bills, five unhappy members, four benevolence cases, three check requests, two more reports, and a broken chrismon off the chrisom tree.

On the ninth day of Christmas our choir gave to me, nine singing lessons, eight Bach etudes, seven Gregorian chants,  six offertories, five Anglican hymns, four Gospel quartets, three string ensembles, two familiar songs, and a broken chrismon off the chrismon tree.

On the tenth day of Christmas our worship chair gave to me, a tiny baby Jesus, stolen from our own na-tiv-ity.

On the eleventh day of Christmas our seniors gave to me, lots of hugs and thank yous, much appreciation, and one broken chrismon off the chrismon tree.

On the twelfth day of Christmas my deacons gave to me, Spurgeon’s Complete Sermons, with some suggestions, eleven names of prospects, ten hospital visits, nine grumpy members, eight more meetings, seven budget cuts, six urgent problems, five words of encouragement, four happy faces, three days off, two new watches, and a broken chrismon off the chrismon tree.  

I hope your Christmas brings you at least as many wonderful gifts as ours has this year — no kidding!  Merry Christmas to each of you and thanks for staying with me for another year.