“Being jilted is a blow to one’s pride. You must do your best to forget it but if you cannot, then at least, pretend to.”
Moliere,Tartuffe, 1664

Frankly, I have had a hard time being jilted and pretending to forget such blows didn’t help.

For some reason clergy don’t go out of their way to get to know each other. So, one lonely day I decided to make a cold call and asked a pastor nearby if he would like to go to lunch. Right off the bat we opened up and revealed how we dealt with intimacy in our ministries. He admitted he was shy and had a hard time chatting on the patio after the services. Me, I could never get enough affection on the job. I figured he would give me a call. I waited six years and never got an invite. Forty years later I was in his area so I called and asked if he would like to go to lunch. He eagerly replied “I would love to!” What’s with that?

Another colleague with whom I asked to go to lunch never called me back after our time together but fourteen years later he sent me a note stating he would never forget the time we had that lunch time together.

I followed a pastor who was often referred to as a Saint. He was known throughout the denomination for his ability to make those in the pews feel good all over. When I was appointed to that church I received sympathy cards from my colleagues. A week after my start a woman said she liked my sermons but “the saint made me feel really good inside and sometimes he made me cry.”
“I’ll make you cry,” I assured her.

On Christmas day during my pastorate there I got a call from a swat team leader who told me that a member of my church was on a five-story crane threatening to jump off it. He handed me the bull horn and before I spoke she said “Hey, you’re not the saint!” We got her down but there was a part of me that wanted to leave her up there for a little longer. Not really.

I figured there were about a dozen church members who obviously disliked me and one woman continued to make the point that the saint was a great preacher. I assumed she felt that way during the eleven years I served there. Fifteen years after retiring she rang our doorbell. We talked for a time about the church and when she was about to leave she said to me “You may not know it but we loved you as our pastor more than you ever knew.

I wanted to shout as she walked out the door, “Hey, lady, why didn’t you let me know that a couple of decades ago?” OK, I get it but what’s with the delayed affection?



  1. Joel Huffman

    Good stuff, Buzz. Your sense of humor has always been one of my favorite things about you. I can’t say your inhibitions or hesitancy to express yourself have ever been too obvious to me.


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