Jan 16, 2012

Sh*t Rectors Think (but don't say)

Talk about going viral. In 2009, a semi-employed comedy writer named Justin Halpern started a Twitter feed to record the often salty comments made by his father. Eventually this turned into a book titled "Sh*t My Dad Says" which reached number one on the New York Times Bestseller List. It was subsequently turned into a sit-com which is currently running on CBS starring William Shatner.

I never read the book nor have I seen the TV show but the concept has spawned all sorts of take-offs and parodies which I will leave you to Google since I'm not going to be responsible for endorsing any of the content. The title of this post alone will likely get me into trouble with a certain set. I guess I could have called it "Stuff Rectors Think" but that would lose the viral appeal of the coattails I'm shamelessly grabbing.

So here's an ecclesiastical take on the concept. If you have others, by all means share them. In the meantime here goes (and remember this has been filed under the 'church humor' category):

Sh*t Rectors Think (but don't say)

1. Could the organist possibly play this hymn any slower? The "grace" is rapidly losing its amazingness.

2. (During a pastoral counseling session) You think you have problems? Let me tell you about mine!

3. I wonder how many more tedious vestry meetings I'll have to endure before I retire? Is there a Golden Number for this?

4. Please stop the overly dramatic reading of the Epistle. It's not as if you wrote it yourself.

5. I hope the bishop doesn't have any spies around here.

6. I hope the bishop doesn't read my blog.

7. The homemade cookies are nice but can't someone give the rector a nice bottle of scotch for Christmas?

8. How does a twit like Joel Osteen get tens of thousands of people to show up on a Sunday morning while I'm lucky to get 200 or 300?

9. (When visiting another church on a rare Sunday off) Why would anyone possibly come to this place?

10. "What time is the Easter service?" does not qualify as a pastoral emergency. See you at Christmas.

11. (Musing at coffee hour as you can't remember any names) Why is it that all children under the age of five look alike as do all gray-haired ladies?

12. When does the Pension Fund kick in?

13. Why don't they make homiletical candle snuffers to be used when the assistant/seminarian's sermon loses its focus?

15. I wonder if we get wi-fi in the chancel?

16. Must that guy in the fourth row be a split second behind on every congregational response? I wonder if I can summon an usher using mental telepathy to have him removed before the Nicene Creed?

17. If you gave up that membership to the country club, maybe you'd be able to "afford" a pledge greater than $5 per week.

18. A monkey could have done a better job arranging those flowers on the altar.

19. It's not that the microphones "don't work as well as they did when Father XX was the rector," it's that you're going deaf.

20. This meeting better end before "Modern Family" starts.


Kelli Grace Kurtz said...

The answer to #15 is "Yes", according to the youth pastor.

Father Tim said...

If I preached off my i-pad (an impossibility since I don't have one) it would be easier to figure out. Taking out my laptop in the middle of the liturgy to surf the web might be a bit much.

Bob Chapman said...

Back in the last millennium (1990s), I watched an interim read his sermon from a laptop when he couldn't get it to print that morning at church. So, there can be an excuse for a laptop during the service.

What you use it for when you assistant is leading the Great Thanksgiving is up to your morals and piety.

Patrick Ward said...

Tim--one of your best!!!

Alan Cox said...

Very funny. Then God said, "WiFi. Why Fi?"

And I was wondering about that Domino's pizza ad. Is it pun-related? Like Domino=Dominee?

C Eric Funston said...

OMG! I've thought every single one of them (numerous times)!

moshaughnessy63 said...

This is terrific. I (a layperson) had a particularly snarky day after Christmas, in which I vented this way: www.cafepress.com/crankychristians.

I have told people I have never been interested in ordination because I would have to watch my mouth more.

Father Tim said...

If you can't be snarky amid the twelve days of Christmas, when can you?

moshaughnessy63 said...

True--and snark opportunities exceed even those offered by Bright Monday.

Wayne T. Warren said...

The organists' rebuttals will be next....good think I'm a Roman. We know how to behave (with guilt, of course)! Rome dictates!

moshaughnessy63 said...

I wish rectors could write this kind of letter:

Dear (about-to-be-ex-parishioner):

I am pleased to inform you that you have been traded to St. Swithun's-in-the-Swamp for two stoles and an aspersorium to be named later. They will be expecting you at their 11:00 service next Sunday.


The Rev. Relieved Rector

Scott Gunn said...

Really? You think this stuff? I only had pious and generous thoughts whilst serving in parish ministry.

Or maybe I've suppressed the pain.

Nice blog post.

The Rev. Rick Benson said...

Who says that parish ministry doesn't provide fodder for standup?

the Rev'd Dr. Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Terrific post. I think Fr. Matthew should do a video on this one.

James said...

You're brilliant. And I have thought No. 18 more times than I can count.

James said...

Dear Relieved Rector . . . .

Your comment made me spew the tea all over the computer keyboard and monitor. I laughed until cried. Bloody brilliant!

Beth Hilgartner said...

Good job! But you left out my favorite (thought whenever parishioners--or the organist/musicians--are acting out in unhelpful ways) "Why do I always have to be the grown up?!"

moshaughnessy63 said...

My pleasure, James. Use as you will--but be sure you are on vacation when the tradees get the letter in the mail.

moshaughnessy63 said...

Beth--I always say I love children who behave like children. Adults who behave like children, on the other hand...

Some cranky grinch was complaining to one of our clergy one day that "there were too many babies at the service." I turned to him and said, "What, you want to be the only one?"

Kyle said...

I used #20 at our Annual Parish Meeting last night (Wednesday) and it was greeted with much applause. And we were. Thanks for all these

Father Tim said...

Glad it worked out Kyle. Perhaps it should be decreed that all church meetings end before prime time!

Mary O said...

A dear friend of mine composed this collect after dealing with nonsense related to a common parish committee:

Lord God, whose Son, our Savior did overturn tables in the Temple in a fit of pique, yet exhorts us to bear his cross and turn the other cheek: Grant that we may have the wisdom to know which of the above applies when confronted with the bloody idiot who makes us crazy and keeps mucking things up; through the same Jesus Christ, your son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Father Tim said...

That's fabulous, Mary. I think I'll use it as the Collect of the Day on Sunday.

Solange De Santis said...

I think it's only fair to enlighten clergy on some possible sh*t parishioners think:

1. (As we all rise after the sermon) Well, there's 15 minutes of my life I'll never get back.

2. A monkey could have worn those vestments more gracefully.

3. That's the third time he/she has repeated what's in the gospel reading. I thought you didn't have to put your brain on hold at the door.

4. Oh dear, did my child make a noise? Hope you enjoy the silence from all the gray heads.

5. Dear rector, We are pleased to inform you that you have been traded to St. George-in-the-Village for a much jollier, less snarky model and two curates to be named later. God speed. No, seriously, God speed.

But of course, these are just a product of my weird imagination. No one would actually think those things.

Father Tim said...

These are most excellent, Solange! Of course in my case it's only 10-12 minutes you won't get back so that doesn't apply to me.

Solange De Santis said...

If nothing else, you are an efficient clergyman, Tim. Praise be.

Cat said...

I've loved your blog for years, but I might just have to throw something at you for #4. Are you really saying you prefer a reading from someone who clearly hasn't reviewed or thought about the text over someone who's just trying to more clearly convey the message at hand (and have a little fun at the same time)?

Father Tim said...

Cat, please don't throw a hard cover Bible at me -- those can really hurt. I'm all for preparation when reading Scripture, it's the over-emoting that gets to me!