Friday, October 16, 2009

We aren't hearing from the Ladies...

The new (and excellent) ELCA News blog "Pretty Good Lutherans" has a new post with dismaying news as to how little we are hearing from lay people in general but in particular women about church stuff.

I'm very wary of talking to the press myself. Many years ago I found myself in the odd and unusual position of having a growing congregation in a small town. I was hot stuff in the synod in those days. Truth be told it probably had more to do with the Missouri Lutheran pastor in town who was offending people in his congregation right and left and then one day just didn't show up in church and turned out he left his wife and moved in with another man in another town. But at the time we thought it was because I was so clever.

So a well known since passed on to the church triumphant religion writer from Minneapolis, Clark Morphew, interviewed me for a story about a pastor of a growing church. This is what I told him "Well first I wanted to build them up, so they could feel good about what we were doing already so we could feel like we like we had something of value to new people to the church"

And some how or other the quote got changed to how I lectured them in the pulpit about how they needed to shape up so they could have something of value to offer to new people. It was insulting the the congregation and it made me sound like somebody who preached from the pulpit that they had nothing of value to offer. I was so ashamed I didn't even show the article to anybody. It was easy to hide since we were in a small town in Wisconsin and this was published in St. Paul.

Since then the only thing I say to the press is "Yes, our chicken dinner is on Sunday night at 4 pm" I had an interesting Twitter debate with Pretty Good Lutheran blog writer Susan Hogan about that stance. She thinks I should just get more savy about the media. She's probably right.

Oh yea and before you think I'm a hotshot with regard to growing a small town church. Yea the older members got alarmed at the influx of all the new people and their newfangled ideas and things got kind of ugly, and pretty much drove the new and creative folks with their new newfangled ideas out. And I was no longer a hot shot in the synod. And I learned an important lesson. Growing or dying... it's not about me. Which is probably another reason I'm not all that interested in putting myself in front of a reporter's mike.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe lots of the mainline pastors recognize this. I'm really tired of the same ol' same ol' "pastors" being the "expert commentators" or whatever on the so-called news networks. Do those pastors even have churches? What doctrine do they even represent?

    Locally, there WAS a pastor in a two point rural (NO towns, even) parish who went to a local hangout, which was a bar/restaurant, and invited patrons to one of the churches. They came. Old timers got testy, new timers left [told to me by the pastor himself.] At the other church, the people decided they didn't like the episcopal laying on of hands thing, so they left the ELCA. He left.