Hatch, Match, and Dispatch
The not too reverent memoirs of The Rev. Dr. Geoffrey Schmitt
After reading Billy Graham’s latest and most likely last book, Nearing Home, I decided it might be time to share some of my own memories and reflections of three plus decades of ministry. In his book, Billy suggests that sometimes our most significant contributions come in old age. Maybe amid the holy, humbling, horrifying and humorous events of thirty nine years among the faithful, and not so, there might be a few edifying or at least entertaining, stories to share.
The title refers to those big events of our lives most filled with emotion, awe, and guffaws: birth, marriage, and death. We experience them in the church in the celebrations of Baptism, Matrimony, and Funerals. In addition, there are stories to tell of Retreats, Missionary Journeys, Holy Land Adventures, Healing and Prison Ministry. If I am brave enough to recall, I might just add reflections upon the challenges of church politics, the meandering mess of the search process, and to keep perspective, the joy and drama of Clown Worship.
Names have not been changed protect the saints nor the sinners. (Accept in those many instances in which my memory fails me.) If the pew fits, you can still sit in it. Those who didn’t know your names before will recognize your portrait anyway. Chances are, many others will recognize themselves even though we have never met.
In this “Post Christian” era it is all too easy to find fault with organized religion. My own dismay at the multitude of decidedly un-Christ like behavior of various denominations, congregations, clergy, and members is a great temptation to use these pages to harangue, and harass. It is my prayer at the outset that my recollections will be salted with forgiveness and grace. I hope, in the telling, rancor, can be replaced by redemption. May He who called this one time atheist to be His priest, let us laugh at our foibles, forgive one another, and by His grace become better witnesses of his love.