One thing I am certain of is that I am a sinner. I struggle as a dad, husband, christian and certainly as a pastor. I think a lot of folks do. I don’t live up to my own expectations, much less anyone else’s. The only thing that keeps me sane is a proper understanding of justification by faith through the finished work of Christ on the cross. Romans 5 changed my life.
I am not a very intelligent person but I do have a quick wit of sorts. I can think very quickly. I can express those thoughts in pithy ways. That’s not necessarily a good thing or a bad thing. That brings me to my blog thought today. Is my parody account “The Unappreciated Pastor” a good or a bad thing.
As I mentioned before, I understand my own sinfulness. I also take sin seriously. I don’t want to live in it. I get rebuked on a regular basis for my parody account. When I do I always consider if the rebuke is legitimate. I have removed posts as a result. So there are times when I wonder “Is this whole thing sinful?” Perhaps I shouldn’t do it at all. Then there are the bloggers that post their thoughts about sarcasm and how terrible it is. I read them. I consider them. I usually come away thinking “You know, they’re right.”
I could get into the debate about sarcasm and the Bible. I do think there is a lot of sarcasm in the Bible. That argument has been made already by lots of other folks so I will leave it alone. I am concerned about sarcasm/parody in my life. I come from a long line of sarcastic people. My granny was great at it. My mom and sister are hilarious with it. We use it all the time. We use it on one another. And honestly, we don’t get upset about it. My wife does it & my kids do it. I truly think I am a part of one of the funniest families around. We like to laugh and we like to pick on one another.
There are times we cross the line. Not with one another so much, but with others. I have to check myself. I have to tell my children at times that what they are saying isn’t appropriate because it’s coming from anger, jealousy or bitterness. So there are times that I know it is sin. To me those times are easily recognizable. The Holy Spirit reveals my sin to me. And He is pretty busy in my life.
I started the Unappreciated Pastor about 8 months ago. It started as a joke. I had no intention of keeping the twitter account going. I was going to say some dumb things and just quit. Amazingly folks started following. All I was going to do was make fun of myself and the struggles that most pastors of small churches face. I’ve been in ministry a while. If I didn’t laugh at myself there is no way I could still be doing it. I know if I need laughter there are others that do as well. 13,000 + followers proves to me that people in ministry like to laugh. I think it’s a coping mechanism. And I don’t mind if folks laugh at me. Some of the posts I put are actual situations I’ve endured with maybe just a little exaggeration.
Sometimes I poke fun at people. Usually a successful pastor. That doesn’t mean I don’t like that person. The truth is that as pastors we get jealous sometimes. We see folks with big ministries doing great things and wonder “Why can’t that be me?” Now I know that’s wrong. I should be content with God’s calling in my life. But the fact is many times I am not. So a tweet poking fun at a successful pastor shows me how silly I am. And I think it helps other pastors see how silly it is too. The joke is really more of a criticism against myself than anything else.
Deacon jokes. Wow I make so many of them. They show me that I am blaming someone else for my “failures”. They show me that I am holding on to unforgiveness. They show me I am impatient. They show me I am not willing to train folks in the Lord.
Mega-church jokes. It amazes me that no one ever rebukes me for poking fun at small traditional churches. But some folks just will not put up with your poking fun at mega churches. I know there are good churches that are large. I poke fun at them because once again I see a lack of content in my heart. I see myself saying “They are only big because they are worldly.” That is a terrible attitude. Now it may be true in some cases. But it’s not true in all situations. So I see that in my heart, recognize it as a sin and then laugh at myself about it. A tweet poking fun at a mega-church reminds me of how judgmental I can be. And that is the point of the tweet. I want others to see how silly I am being and avoid that sin in their life.
Youth minister tweets. I know I give them a hard time. But as pastors grow older sometimes we feel like we aren’t so cool anymore. Jealousy can creep in. We have to battle that. Youth minister tweets remind me that ministry isn’t a one man show. I need help. Senior Pastors can look down their noses at Youth Ministers. I know. I was a Youth Minister. There is often tension between the Pastor and Youth Minister. I’m not encouraging that when I poke fun at Youth Minsters. I’m revealing my pride for others to see and learn from it.
The point of the account isn’t to be judgmental or critical. The point is to lay myself bare and reveal the sins and attitudes that Pastors of small churches battle against. Perhaps I’m not so clear sometimes. My motive is not to hurt anyone’s feelings. If I have, I certainly apologize for that. I just like to have fun. I like to laugh. More than anything I like to laugh at myself. And just because I’m laughing that doesn’t mean I’m not thinking. Laughing isn’t simply for entertainment. It can also be for edification.
There are some parody accounts I will not follow. I don’t like mean spirited tweeting. But I follow a lot of parody accounts. And I think lots of them are great and helpful to the kingdom. We learn in different ways. I think humor and sarcasm are included in those ways. So please give the Unappreciated Pastor the benefit of the doubt. I am a jerk in progress.