12 December, 2012

Sometimes I'm at a Loss for Words

Last Friday and Saturday I was out of town, as I moved my daughter's belongings back to Glen Carbon on Friday and my family gathered together down in that area on Saturday for Christmas. When I returned home late Saturday, I stopped by the church to check my messages. There were more than 20 calls, and 8 of them were from one particular man who was seeking help from the church to "give his children a nice Christmas." In his first message his tone was very humble as he explained his situation and how they had fallen on hard times and just needed a little help this year. Of course, he assured me that he used to attend regularly, but had not been recently do to illness and such. (Note: this is my 9th Christmas as pastor of this church and this man has never been to this church since I've been here). He went on to add that if we could help him out, his family would be back to church soon and their contributions would help to repay what we helped him with. He went on to ask if the church could help him with $800. His second call, his tone was still pretty much the same and he wanted to make sure he had left the correct number as he was waiting to hear from me. From there, each call took on a harsher tone as he stressed that he did not like being ignored and how I ought to be ashamed of myself to not have the compassion to help out a struggling family to make sure their children had a good Christmas. His last two messages were, shall we say, "harsh" as he went into a tirade, screaming obscenities and making threats toward me personally, even threatening to burn my house to the ground. In the last call, he said that he knew that I was a hypocrite, that the entire church was a bunch of money sucking hypocrites that did not care about anyone but themselves and that this was why he no longer went to church because he did not believe in the church nor God and that we would all burn in Hell. Quite a turn around, huh?

So, I called this guy on Monday. Before he could really say anything, I told him that I'd been out of town and had just gotten his message that he'd called. He turned on the charm again, reverting back to how his family had been a part of my church for years and years and how close he and the previous pastor had been and how he had not been able to attend regular "for the past few months" due to illness in his family. So I asked him if he had any idea how long I'd been here. He replied that he did not not, but that he promised to start attending again. I let him pour out his syrupy dribble for a couple of minutes and then I said, "Sir, perhaps you should know that I've listened to all of your messages, and frankly, I'm about perplexed at how you could love me, love this church and love God the way you say you do after the things you said about us in your last two messages."  First he tried telling me that he had not made those calls, that it must have been someone else calling pretending to be him. When I told him that I was not stupid, he again launched into a tirade against me, the church (as a whole, not just Harvest Church) and how that the church was a place for losers and crooks and a lot of other things that I will not repeat. 

Isn't it amazing how someone who feels that way about the people who comprise the Body of Christ, and yet have the gall to ask for money from those same people?

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