Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Do You Understand What I Am Saying?

This past Sunday, my sister-in-law and I visited yet another local church. This church is situated on a large amount of land. As you drive into the church property there is a beautiful structure that looks like it could be the pastor's home.

So I ask her "Do you think that that is the pastorium?"
She starts to answer something that sounds like a yes but stops in her tracks and says "What did you call it?"
And I said "The pastorium."
She said "What's THAT?"
I said "Where the pastor lives!"
She said "Do you mean the parsonage?"
I said "Well you can call it that too."
She said "I've never heard it called a pastorium."

We go into the church, have a great time of worship, then meet up with her parents for lunch. Being that my in-laws are all life-long church going Baptist, I ask them...
"Are you familiar with the term pastorium?"
Father-in-law: "Nope"
Mother-in-law: "I think so"

So I explain that where I grew up, the non-Baptist preachers (Methodist, Lutheran, etc) lived in parsonages and the Baptist preachers lived in pastoriums. They all kind of thought I was out of my mind! This is a family with deep, deep Baptist roots! If anyone would know what the house a Baptist preacher lives in is called, it would be them.

So I started second guessing myself.

Then that night when my dear hubby got home, I asked him: "Do you know what a pastorium is?" To my shock and shame, my hubby of almost 25 years said: "No." How sad that I had failed to educate him. With that I decided it was time to find out if I was truly out of my mind or what...

Off to dictionary.com I went...

And this is what I found...

pas·to·ri·um /pæˈstɔriəm, –noun Southern U.S.
a Baptist parsonage.


Exactly as I had explained it! It is a 'parsonage' for Baptist!!!

Whew... I wasn't completely out of my mind after all!

So the next test came on Monday afternoon...

On my daily drive home phone call with Mom I asked: "Mom, that house that was behind the church at Providence Village where the preacher lived, what did we call that house?" Confident that the woman that taught me so much about my faith would surely say the right word, I listended for her response...

She said "The parsonage."


Then I sadly repeated the whole story from above without the definition. And she said: "Well, yeah we did call it that. I guess the preachers that weren't Baptist had parsonages. Our preachers lived in pastoriums." SO then I said "YES!" and told her about the dictionary.com part.

So here's what I have thought about with respect to all of the above...

If those of us within the church get confused with our terminology, how much more will the world be confused with our "church talk"? How much more effective could we be if we shared simply instead of as the Pharisee's using big words and fancy speech? What if I had just said to my sister-in-law "I wonder if that is where the pastor lives?" Simple, straight-forward, no confusion.

Will share the love of our Loving Lord as simply as possible today? Will you find someone that needs His love and instead of 'preaching' to them, will you simply say "I want you to know that Jesus loves YOU!"?

Psalm 19:14 (New International Version) May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

1 comment:

Connie Barris said...

OK Girl.. I would have said the Pastor's house...but I did know what it was...

You are too funny.