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  • Writer's pictureRobert John Andrews

Poems: Religious Dim Sums

Religious Dim Sums

Some are prone to say the Holy Land

is over there in Israel, Galilee and Bethlehem.

Except for what happened beforehand,

what’s so special about Jerusalem?

Seems to me what becomes truly sacred

is not determined by what is historical,

but rather when hatred and fear are negated,

and wherever faith, hope, and love are practical.

For Pastors:

If pastors wish to establish credibility

It takes at least four years of stability

Pastors: working for the institution

Instead of God is prostitution

Good advice for rookie pastors newly christened,

Is to shut up for a year and really listen

Right answers aren’t as fun or as worthwhile

Than asking right questions free from guile

Staying fewer than seven years

Puts a church’s investment in arrears

You say you don’t take it personally,

Like hell you don’t, quite terminally

If you are worried about losing your position

You’re in the wrong business and forgot your mission

Never get caught in a corner

If so, you’re a goner

Altars, Bibles, crosses, sanctuaries – merely things

What alone is sacred are people, says the King of Kings

Personally, I learnt more about being a preacher

By selling paint and being a school teacher

If talking about God begins to weary you

Try talking with God in order to pull through

Fighting negatives with negatives is for fools

Fighting negatives with positives is the only rule

“Pastor, you have such a lovely church,” they say

“Yes they are,” is the better answer to convey

It is far easier to preach about the ‘what’ they know

Preaching ‘how’ is when scripture begins to glow

Be ready cherished presumptions to discard

Faith is more about discovering what is hard

Most of your parishioners really do

Work harder than you

When you’re a pastor a church serving

There is no day off, the call unswerving

You may think you are in charge

But that’s a mistake very large

We remain at the bottom of the pile

Equipping them in the midst of life’s trials

Screw those damn church squabbles and conflicts

Take care of the children instead of church politics

Yes, they’ll forgive the lousy sermon very quick

But not if you fail to visit the hospital when they are sick

You can use all those schedule planners indeed

But your calendar is determined by people’s needs

Do you really suppose over there the grass is greener and purer;

Never found a holy church yet when God is the final juror

The pastor who fails to read

Might as well concede

Running around trying to make happy my parish

I couldn’t care less because it is an effort nightmarish

It says more about your emptiness and need

Sadly, if that is your focus, you’ll never succeed

A pastor who doesn’t know how to wait

Will never get the calling straight

The pastor who thinks he or she is good at everything

Is likely to end up accomplishing nothing

Trust who you are

You’ll do better by far

Tolerance surely isn’t enough

God’s love demands tougher stuff

Even mere love isn’t enough

God’s justice-love can be rough

Since when is ordination a right?

When the call comes, the smarter take flight

Don’t get so full of yourself or puffed up neither

You probably weren’t God’s first choice either

But don’t fret, worry, or turn all grumpily

Given Peter and Paul you’re in good company

If you’re encountering at least five persons a day

You’re getting close to following he who said I am the way

Christians be warned: it really is a terrible confusion

Equating church and the institution is a bad delusion

The old pastor warned me most cautious

Never keep a couch in your office

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