Something’s gone wrong at my church. Sunday was the 60th anniversary of Emmanuel Baptist. Morning worship filled the auditorium with raucous worshippers. All that handshaking and hugging—no one mad at anyone. That was the first affront to the true faith. Baptists, like young roosters, test their metal by mock battles; some not so mock.
And don’t come at me with that’s not necessarily so. I was a Baptist before most of you were born; a preacher to boot. I survived five decades and seven churches and never got kicked out of one. Must be a record. Came close a couple times. Baptist practice field goals with their pastors. Some got it coming.
Pastor Dave preached a fine sermon—he always does. But then, he hasn’t been Baptist that long. We’ll probably keep him. He wraps up ten years with us in October. Best thing he’s got going for him: he’s a pastor as well as a preacher. But I’m beginning to question his Baptist loyalty.
After morning worship, pot luck, thoroughly Baptist. Then the annual business meeting. That’s where things got out of hand. First off, it consumed hardly an hour, and there wasn’t even an afternoon football game. (We have a few Packer fans whom we generously tolerate—a foreign mission thing.) In the good old days, we could consume an hour debating the color of baptistery drapes. This flaunting of tradition has to stop. It just ain’t right.
Reports (mostly printed), budget, and ballot were unanimously accepted. No one nominated Cousin Ben from the floor. He’s 92 and stone deaf and in the nursing home, but he’s been a deacon for all those years. Show some respect.
Most alarming was new business: replacing pews with chairs. What’s wrong with pews? They served fine for 50 years. So the cushions are worn; the Ladies Aid could fix them, or make pillows for the fussy. And what about the kitchen? Well, they put up some fancy power point and allowed civil pro-con discussion then called for a voice vote! No proper Baptist secret ballot so we could hide our affiliation. Nary a nay was heard. That flies in the face of tradition.
Sure, all bills are paid with a handsome balance in the bank. Yes, the budget went up five percent to $228,170; the mission budget up by $6,000. Debt retirement is ahead of schedule. We welcomed eight new members, bringing the total to about 95. But what happened to old-fashioned Baptist spunk when one ounce of grumpy outweighed a ton of progress?
I’d leave the church if the people weren’t so good to me (they sent me home with a care package from the pot luck) and if I didn’t love Pastor Dave so much. As you can see, my Baptist spirit has grown flabby.
Old Grandpa Lloyd