Monday, April 11, 2016

Pastor on the hot seat

(Note: the following is fiction but it might be true is some places in the future)

I try to imagine a pastoral interview at a church in certain states that have passed laws allowing guns in churches:

The interview was winding down. I was thinking I had nailed it. The theology questions were not tough although one guy was hung up on the virgin birth of Jesus and my interpretation of Isaiah 7 (was the young woman mentioned in v 14 a virgin or not, he wanted a definitive answer). One man wanted to know how I felt about alcohol. I felt fine after a couple drinks, I said. He did not find that funny and made it clear some church members could have trouble with a pastor who was not a teetotaler. I made a note. We got through the gay questions. Always gay questions. The hypotheticals. What if a gay person came to the church (how would you know?). What if a lesbian wanted to join the church, a woman asked with sincere discomfort. Do you hold the position of love the sinner, hate the sin one of the deacons said, offering me an escape route. Finally, the main question lay on the table: have you ever performed a wedding service for same sex individuals. I have not, I said and no one followed up with, would you?

So I was sensing that the job could be mine if I wanted it. I was preparing the closing prayer in my mind when another deacon piped up. I want to know if you have a hunting license, he asked. No, I said, wondering where that came from. Have you ever hunted? Yes, I said, although I had never shot anything. Are you a member of the NRA? No. Why not, do you have anything against guns? Nothing other than they kill people. No one laughed.

Do you know our state is passing a law that will allow church goers to carry guns while at worship? I had heard something about that but hardly took it seriously. Our deacons, who used to be called greeters, are getting training so they can ensure security at the front door, he said. I tried to get my mind around Guys with those funny clip on Greeter tags packing heat. Several of our members intend to carry guns in church, he was going on, including women. Wait, I asked, you don't ordain women or allow them to preach buy they can shoot men? By now, not taking my questions seriously, he wondered if I would have a problem wearing a gun while preaching. It gave me new insight into shooting straight with the word.

The deacon was going on.  Shooters come to church. Never know when you might have an intruder. Intruder? I repeated. Is that what we call visitors now? You can't be too careful today. There have been church shootings you know. I do know, I said, but I am wondering how the gospel would have spread in the early days if the apostles shot everyone they suspected of hostility.  Would Jesus have packed heat? I could sense this interview was misfiring.

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