I was wide-awake around bedtime Friday night so for the first time – I Googled myself! It was a weird mix of things; some were nice to read, some were weird and most were just informational, nothing very surprising. But pretty deep into the search pages, I came across an article about the 50th anniversary of the first church I served as a pastor for 7 1/2 years.
Being a pastor is job where you get to see some of the fruit of your labor, but probably not all. Similarly you get confront some of your bad decisions or hurtful actions but probably not all. Being a pastor is not an exact science and is hard to evaluate by numeric metrics.
This article prepared for the 50th anniversary had brief words to say about all the various pastors who had served the congregation. It was both humorous and a bit underwhelming when I read the little snippet that was written about me.
After 7 1/2 years of giving my blood, sweat and tears, and unfortunately that was along with the unnecessary and wrongful neglect of my own family because I was working so hard to be a “good pastor,” this is what they had to say for my write-up on their 50th anniversary:
“In 1991, the church celebrated its 25th anniversary, as its pastor, Rev. Mark Tidd, was about to move to Colorado. He was also a talented singer and guitar player, and liked to dress casually.”
Nailed it! I couldn’t have summed up my time there better than that!
Actually, when my office was in the basement of the parsonage owned by the church, I would wear a sport coat and tie to my “office” so I could try to have a work mindset even though I was in our house. One day a good, but particularly uptight parishioner met me in my basement office to tell me that he and his wife were going to leave our church to go to another church which had better classical music. I then heard the toilet flush upstairs in our house which had lots of plumbing issues. There was a trench on the periphery of my basement office since water would often overflow.
So there I was with this prim and proper man who was bemoaning the new-fangled guitar music in church, wearing my sport coat and tie. But after the toilet flushed I watched the trench behind him fill up with water like a little moat around my kingdom. And then a few turds floated by, I kid you not.
Maybe that was the moment I decided, “What the heck; if I live in a house where turds flow through my office maybe I should start dressing casually.”
I may never know the full extent of the damage I’ve done by choosing to dress casually. But for at least the person who wrote for the 50th Anniversary pamphlet, it seems to have eclipsed the many other good things that happened during my ministry there.
Nothing but love, albeit in casual clothing.