Eligible, but not ready

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I checked my mail the other morning, and had my interest piqued by a letter from the First Baptist Church of Opelika.

Inside, a letter addressed “Dear Friend” informed me I was allegedly now eligible to serve as a member of the church’s deacon board, should I choose to stand for election.

I in no way wish to sound disrespectful when I say this, but receiving that letter made me laugh for a solid three to four minutes.

According to church bylaws, I may, in fact, be “eligible” to serve, but I certainly am not “qualified.”

When I think of the men qualified to be deacons at that church, my name does not appear among the ranks, even in my own mind.

Men like my father spring to mind, temperate, seasoned veterans of the church – the calm, cool considerate set. Maybe this letter was meant for him – the reigning Cliff McCollum – and was only sent to me by accident.

I state my lack of qualifications not to be vicious or mischievous, but to show how wrong I am as a candidate, demonstrating absurdity perhaps by being absurd.

I am not “the husband of one wife,” “sensible,” or “dignified”; I don’t think I fit the quality of “not quarrelsome,” either (1 Tim. 3:2-3).

I’m fairly certain I don’t “manage [my] own household well” and I have no children to keep “submissive” or “respectful in every way” (and having met kids these days, I’m not sure I want that unenviable task. I’m still at that point in life where children seem to be an incurable form of STD.)

I concede I do fit the qualities about not being a “recent convert,” and I imagine I’m “well thought of by outsiders” (honestly, it’s the insiders I’d really be more worried about).

I admit freely that my attendance has been … lax … and I’ve always felt deacons, like the Lord, should be omnipresent (at least within the church).

I have been known to, on occasion, write in women on my deacon ballot, a decided Southern Baptist faux pas. I maintain I only submitted the names of people I knew to be serious, well-thought of candidates, but it was not meant to be.

Also included inside of the envelope from the church was a small postcard with some writing on it.

I, the potential deacon candidate, was supposed to check my intention to run in a pre-printed box.

If I can offer no better proof that I do not belong on such an august body, may I point to this: I seem to have misplaced the card.

Church office, please consider this my official notice that I do not wish to be a candidate for deacon.

Thank you kindly for the offer, but we both know it wouldn’t be the best idea.

I’m eligible, but I’m far from ready.

Author’s note: Since history has shown me my words have an odd way of being misinterpreted, let me state here and now that this column was meant to be seen as a light-hearted, jovial column.

In no way do I wish to demean or attack First Baptist Church Opelika or its deacon board filled with compassionate, caring Christian men – many of whom I’ve known and looked up to for most of my life.

My purpose with this piece was more an act of self-deprecation, or, to paraphrase an old Groucho Marx line – I just don’t want to belong to any club that would have someone like me as a member.

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