Posted by: Pastor Terry Hagedorn | August 6, 2010



–Church member plans to call for Special Prosecutor and possible Impeachment Proceedings against Pastor–

Pastor Terry Hagedorn, Calvary Baptist Church, Reedsville, WV

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times–the way it always is! Everything had been going really well. This, of course, concerned the pastor. (Pastor, beware!–when the tragedy of things going well befalls you. Problems are just around the corner!)

All the trouble started when the pastor asked if there was any new business at the church’s monthly business meeting. Well, everyone knew that something was bothering brother Aristotle “Ari” Gannt. (That’s not his real name. Although, it should be.)

First of all, he had worn his “Philadelphia Lawyer three-piece suit”. Ari always wore that suit at funerals or business meetings–where he would make everyone feel worse than if it had been a funeral. When he wore that suit, he imagined himself in a Jimmy Stewart movie–“Mr. Smith Goes to Churchington”–or something. Evidently, he imagined that if he could just give an impassioned speech, while clutching the lapels of his suit coat, condemning all that he perceived as abuses–that he could single-handedly rescue the church from some impending doom or save the church a little money. Usually, it was the latter–a very little of the latter. A very little of the latter that was not worth the big bother to anyone–except brother Gannt.

Secondly, he had been sitting there fuming through the whole service. It distracted everyone around him. He was folding and unfolding a paper that he would–intermittently–roll up and stick in his inside coat pocket, pull it out and read again, and then fold and unfold it again. (He was as nervous as I was when I preached my first sermon–in front of real people. I had an eight page outline, twenty-three illustrations, told my testimony of salvation and call to the ministry, AND it was all over in eight minutes. The longest eight minutes of my life! Fortunately, I don’t think that anyone was paying any attention to me.)

That was not the case with Ari. As soon as the pastor asked for new business, Jimmy Stewart–I mean Ari Gannt–stood up and motioned in the affirmative with his hand and moved to the aisle for maximum dramatic effect. “W…w..well, yes! As a matter of fact, p..p..pastor, I do have something that I would like to ask you, the deacons, and the trustees of this church–those whom we AND the Lord have entrusted with the efficient operation of our church.”

He turned to address the main part of the church audience. He stared off into space and said in a perfect Jimmy Stewartesque voice and mannerism, “M…m…may I ask you? W…w..why do we have a budget? If we aren’t going to stick to it!? You and I–Mr. and Mrs. Average Joe–have to stick to a budget. Don’t we?”

He pointed to a widow woman, “M..m..mrs. Hubbard, do you have to stick to a budget?” Old mother Hubbard reluctantly nodded her head in the affirmative. She was embarrassed. But, everyone knew that you had better humor Ari Gannt. Or, he would just keep asking, “W..well, do you?”–until you did answer.

“That’s right! It the same for me and you and you and you,” he said as he pointed at various other “yous” in the flock.

“Now–here in the budget,” he pointed at a copy of this year’s budget–marked with red and yellow highlight markers–which he had in his hand, “it says that x-number of dollars is to be set aside for a certain thing. When I, we–as a church, or as the great nation that we live in, violate our budgets, then we are just asking for financial failure. Either we learn to live within our means or we die!” Ari clutched his heart and looked down in despair.

“Point of order!,” someone shouted from the back of the auditorium. The voice sounded somehow like pastor’s wife’s voice. “Where is she?”, pastor thought to himself.

Whoever said them, those Parliamentarian words shot Ari through the heart. He looked shocked and wounded.

An equally startled pastor asked, “What is your point of order?”

“Would you ask Ari to get to the point? It’s gettin’ late!,” the voice shouted. His point was seconded by numerous nods of agreement and a bevy of hearty, “Amens!”

Pastor didn’t have to ask. Ari had recovered his composure, “Okay. Okay! If that’s all that this matters to you–I will get to the point.”

“I have been doing a little research–a little investigation into the day-to-day operation of our church. Do you know how much this church spends on toilet paper every month?,” he asked as he lowered his glasses to the to the tip of his nose and looked at some notes on his paper. Thankfully, he didn’t go into his, “W..w..well do you?”-mode. Everyone was embarrassed by the topic. That was exactly why Ari had chosen the topic. “It makes folks think!,” he thought.

“Exactly–on average–twenty-three dollars and fifty-seven cents a month!,” he reported. He waited for a reaction. There was none. That’s the worst reaction to have when it comes to Ari Gannt.

“W..w..well, I found that if we used coupons and shopped where stores had specials we could save money. I could get the same toilet paper for–$19.99!,” he reported.

“, three dollars and fifty-eight cents might not be a lot of money to some people,” he said as he glanced in the pastor’s general direction, “but I remember when…”

People actually began to moan as they realized that this could take hours. Ari was starting his “I remember when…”-routine.

Again the sanctity of the moment was disrupted from the back of the auditorium when someone yelled in rapid succession, “I move that we leave things as they are!”

“I second it!”, the same voice yelled, ‘all those in favor say, ‘Aye’!”

“Aye!”, the people responded.

“I move we get out of here…I second it!”, the same voice stated.

“All those in favor say, ‘Aye!’,” the same voice said.

“Aye!”, the people quietly responded, jumped up, put their coats on, picked up their belongings, and filed out of the church–vacating the premises like it was a fire drill!

Ari Gannt–was for once in his life–speechless! Pastor, looked down from the pulpit and gave him the shrug with the palms up at his side expression, “What can I do?” He picked up his Bible and notes, then as he left the platform he said, “Ari, thanks for pointing out the toilet paper problem, I promise that I will look into making certain that we are getting the best deal possible–with the Lord’s money.”

That made Ari’s day! The people might have walked out, BUT–at least–he got his point across to the pastor! He would live to fight again. There was always next month’s business meeting.


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