There is nothing more both hilarious and pathetic at times than to watch ministers inflict themselves upon the sheep and public. These men, and they are mostly men, aren't pastors, but rather are Preeeeechers. These men are usually self appointed and thus accountable to no one or are approved of by those who also have something to gain by being in their magnificient shadow.
They have little or no real theological training having only attended a fundamentalist school where they learned not theology, but conformity to some already established guru. It is there job merely to let others drill a hole in their head, insert the funnel and pour predetermined, never changing, never updated information into their heads. After a few years, they are "ordained" to go and repeat everything they were taught by the denomination, or risk getting fired.
They are the kind of men, and I know not just a few, who will say "I know you are right, but if I try to teach that, I'll lose my job." That's the pathetic part. On the other hand, many Preechers also will quickly tell you how off base you are since he disagrees with you, and you are going to hell with that attitude or perspective. Judging the human heart is an art form with Preechers, and getting defensive when questioned is what they do best.
Preechers, as opposed to Pastors, are easy to spot, as are their specially selected Elders and Deacons. Here are the sure fire things you will find when you have indeed run across a Preecher instead of a Pastor.
1. When they enter the room, they just look like a preecher. They wear suits when everyone else is casual. They look serious, when everyone else is happy and glance around often to see if everyone notices "they" are here. When they speak, it's loud and draws attention to their having entered the room.
2. They have great hair. Preechers don't have brush cuts. They have meticulously coifered hair. If it is shorter, it is reminicient of the 5o's and if long, it is swept back on the sides and top, perfect and almost helmet like.
3. They always carry a really big Bible under the arm or grasped tightly in one hand like you'd hold a gun. The pocket editions never seems to occur to them.
4. No matter the occasion, someone's wedding, funeral or party, they want the attention. They can't just be there, they HAVE to speak.
5. Preechers get upset when there is no ministerial parking at the hospital. They have busy fifteen hour weeks and can't just park with the masses. In such cases, simply ask them where would Jesus park, and the problem usually resolves itself.
6. They drive really spiffy cars. No used chariots here. It has to be a preecher car. Usually a large car which he "needs" for all the visiting he says he does. The car is usually dark to give the appropriate serious feeling as in "Mom, the preecher's here." A hip preecher might opt for yellow or red, but he'd have to be preeeeching at a yuppie break away church that prides itself in authenticity of spirit. You know the kind of place where no one dresses up and come as you as is the rule.
7. They talk loud when normal will do. A preecher goes nuts in the pulpit speaking. His voice changes, he bounces in a funny way on his heels and adopts a cadence that only the preeecher could come up with. He's usually angry and uses scriptures to let you have it. You can spot a preecher by the one fact that he speaks from the pulpit in a way that would get him fired in the real world of work or sent to a mental hospital or the circus. A preecher can also give opinions and say things behind the pulpit, as long as he sounds religious or proof texts his way through the harangue, in ways that would get you sued, fired, or scored. He can also come up with some of the most amazing foolishness right out of the Bible for you to try to apply in your real life.
8. A Preecher usually just can't stand you not knowing who he is. When he calls a store or professional office, he usually will say, "This is Pastor Bobby Bouncy, of the Grace International Baptist Church in Pumpkintown..." They can't stand either on the phone or in public for you not to know how important they are and how much you need to pay attention to what they are about to say or ask for.
9. Every third sermon is on tithing and if you want to have really successful Christian finances, you will give more as God loves a cheerful giver, good measure, pressed down and overflowing. If you don't tithe...
10. The Preeeeecher won't let you have your dad's funeral in the church or your niece's wedding if he has no record of your tithing. He might show up at the funeral home or someone else's hall to do a ceremony, but he will want to be paid.
11. The Preecher's wife looks absolutely beat down. You sense that there used to be a really nice woman in there somewhere, but she has long since died in service to the family,church and of course...the Preecher. If she is a hottie, then you know he married her to enhance his status as Preecher with the guys. It may also be if she is frumpy and outdated, the Preecher has read her every idea the unmarried, no kids Apostle Paul could dream up with regard to marriage, sex and child rearing. She lost her true self long ago. The Preecher's wife misses a lot of church and is sick a lot.
12. The Preecher's kids are "beautiful" no matter what. A real preecher will humiliate them with stories from the pulpit of how HE had to discipline them and what they will and won't be doing or believing. Their chance at being an authentic human being is slim unless they break away and resist being groomed for the same school mom and dad went to. This would be the only true school where Jesus attended and taught and where the only true God made weekly appearances. The Preecher just knows all other schools are where Satan goes.
13. A Preecher will mind your own business for you.
14. People will say "did you see Preecher Bobby was even cutting wood with us", or "The Preecher was right in there helping the rest of us (peasants)." A preecher gets extra credit for doing what most people normally do and for helping out where most would help out without being noticed. This is because, in fact, the Preecher is special and when a special person does mundane things, it's...well special.
15. A true Preecher has special places where he sits at public functions. He usually surrounds himself with the elders and deacons he personally ordained, as they think the most like himself and know how to provide his narcissistic supply.
16. Preechers just give the impression they ain't like us. Some over came some human foible in the past and just know that's why they are supposed to preach. Being a Preecher is still one the few remaining lucrative jobs a man can get with little education, few credentials and no common sense. As long as the man can read, tell stories and keep his personality in tact, he qualifies in Preecher land. He only needs to know what the Bible says. The grasp of the history, background, intent and meaning of scripture is not a necessary trait. He's a master at quoting what benefits him from the Old Testament and skipping the embarrassing or obviously outdated and irrelevant parts. A Preecher hates a smart ass kid asking sound theological questions of him that he can't answer.
17. A real Preecher expects "professional courtesy" to be extended to him and his family. You know, discounts from local merchants, though now more a thing of the past in most places, and free help to put a new room or roof on his home because he is "The Preecher." His catatonic wife will supply the "free" lunch to the workers, who can't believe that the Preecher's wife actually made lunch for THEM. Wow!
18. When a member needs a free roof put on their home, the Preecher will check the tithing records before dispatching the work party. He might show up the first hour, but then has to go about the Lord's business.
19. A Preecher makes work for himself by offending half the congregation every week and keeping the political pot well stirred so he has sermon topics and reasons for visits. He makes up projects that don't need doing and has meetings on topics he wants the Sheep bullied into. If you don't participate in his make work projects, you'll never be a deacon or elder.
20. A true Preecher has no tolerance for anyone missing church or a Bible study, and numbers are VERY important to him. If your dad, who was not a member of his Church, dies, you feel a bit guilty for missing Preecher Bobby's sermon and of course, 'ol Bobby won't be doing the funeral.
21. Finally, You can tell you have a Preecher, as opposed to an authentic, nicely educated and compassionate Pastor, when the man can never look you or a congregation in the eye and say "I'm sorry, I was wrong." A Preecher is NEVER wrong.
Oh wait, wait!
22. You know you're in trouble when the Preecher decides that he is not JUST a Preecher. He convinces you he is an Evangelist, Apostle, The Apostle or maybe even one of the Two Witnesses, if not both.
23. Lastly you can tell if a man is a preecher if, when he dies unexpectedly or messes up morally, the whole church tanks as he has made no plans for the future beyond his own future, which is now in the past. He has held it together by force of personality, and when he is gone, it's all gone.
How can you spot a Preecher's deacon's and elders?
1. The deacon's ordained by the Preecher now want their friends to call them Mr. and stop the serving they were doing previous to ordination and order you to do it.
2. The Elder ordained by the Preecher can't remember your name and makes you feel funny asking him over anymore, sensing he is now some sort of Jesus Land Security employee.
There are many dedicated, loving and compassionate Pastors in Christianity, it is not of these men I speak.