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Published November 07, 2011, 02:44 PM

Parenting perspectives: Suddenly, I see that I've 'arrived'

My pastor likes to tease people during Sunday services. It’s his thing. I usually describe him to others as a spiritual adviser and standup comedian.

By: Kathy Tofflemire, INFORUM

My pastor likes to tease people during Sunday services. It’s his thing. I usually describe him to others as a spiritual adviser and standup comedian.

He never preaches from the pulpit. He likes to walk back and forth in front of the congregation. He always uses visual aids on the screens in the sanctuary. Sometimes he uses props. But he never uses notes.

I always sit in the second row, and since people rarely sit in the first row, I’m directly in the line of fire, so to speak.

On a particular Sunday last month, he was on a roll, and I was the target.

During the “children’s moment,” he reminded my younger grandson about how he and his brother are usually the “stars” of my occasional column, in which, he points out, I admit to the poor job I did raising my daughter. She laughed at that. I think.

I’m the only member of the congregation who works at The Forum, so he likes to “acknowledge” me whenever he has an opinion on the content, which, of course, included the new SheSays section. He doesn’t like the name because he is the one in his family who reads the food columns.

One doesn’t have to attend many Sundays to realize food is of great interest to him. He thinks anything is better with bacon. In fact, he thinks if we again prepare sandwiches during a flood fight, we should add it to the ham/turkey and cheese.

His idea of heaven is Diet Coke and Snickers candy bars, and perhaps a rhubarb pie. Every Halloween and Easter, he tries to convince the children to bring any Snickers they receive to their pastor for “proper disposal.”

Don’t get me wrong. There are serious, Christian messages in his sermons. I often feel as if he is talking directly to me. He encourages us to go “beyond the stained-glass windows” and “be the church” by loving God and loving neighbor.

When something in the sermon nearly brings me to tears, he will lighten the mood with his self-deprecating brand of humor.

He is absolutely like no other minister I’ve ever known, and I and my family adore him.

I’ve listened to him tease his wife, his children and other members of the congregation in the years I’ve been a church member. He targets various people and occupations in particular, and Bison fans in general. (He graduated from a rival university in another state.)

I’ve always felt that if he teased you, you had advanced to some special place – an inner circle, if you will. That recent Sunday, I really “arrived.”

As he talked about my column and its subjects, he noted that I couldn’t (shouldn’t) write about my pastor. That was a challenge I couldn’t ignore.

Pastor R., this one’s for you.

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