Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity
“The Minister’s Cabinet” first appeared in the June 2007 issue of Touchstone.
The Minister’s Cabinet
Christopher Bailey reports the Minutes of the April Council Meeting at St. Barnabas Lutheran Church, Blandville
Mrs. Woodstock called the meeting to order at 7:12 P.M., Pastor Hamilton having been delayed by an unusually long line at Starbucks. The meeting began with the reading of the minutes from the March meeting. Mrs. Woodstock asked for a motion to accept the minutes.
Mrs. Blickensderfer pointed out that “blithering” is spelled with only one r.
Mrs. Woodstock asked for a motion to accept the minutes as amended. The motion was made by Mrs. Voss and seconded by Mr. Fox, and carried by a vote of 7 to 1.
Under Old Business, Pastor Hamilton mentioned that the light bulb in his pulpit reading lamp is still burned out. Mrs. Woodstock asked him whether that was the reason he had embarrassed the whole congregation during the Psalm last Sunday. Pastor Hamilton answered that it was.
Mrs. Blickensderfer said she thought the light-bulb problem had been remanded to the Building Committee.
Mr. Sholes said that no record of any such remandment appeared in the minutes of the March meeting.
Mrs. Blickensderfer said she didn’t think “remandment” was a word.
Mr. Fox thought that the pulpit was under the jurisdiction of the Worship and Music Committee.
Mrs. Yost thought that the lighting was the responsibility of the Evangelism Committee.
Mr. Fox wanted to know what sort of dunderhead thought lighting had anything to do with evangelism.
Mrs. Woodstock pointed out that it made no difference, since the Building Committee, the Worship and Music Committee, and the Evangelism Committee were all Mrs. Voss.
Mrs. Voss answered that she didn’t know anything about electricity, and if people wanted her to take care of something they should tell her about it instead of expecting her to read their minds.
Mr. Dhiatensor said something in the language he speaks, which we think might be Portuguese.
Pastor Hamilton said that the replacement of a light bulb was really a very simple matter, and that he would have taken care of it himself except that the last time he bought something for the church he was informed that he could not be reimbursed unless the expense had the prior approval of Council.
Mrs. Woodstock asked him whether he really believed that Council would have given its prior approval for an espresso machine.
Pastor Hamilton thought Council would have, since the machine was essential to his continued effectiveness as a minister of the Word.
Mrs. Woodstock asked him whether he believed in the Tooth Fairy as well.
Mr. Sholes said that the matter under discussion was the light bulb, and not the espresso machine, which had already been discussed at length at the January meeting.
Mrs. Voss was of the opinion that someone should just go out and get a light bulb and be done with it.
Mrs. Woodstock asked her whether she was volunteering.
Mrs. Voss repeated that she didn’t know anything about electricity.
Mrs. Blickensderfer asked whether the church didn’t have any spare light bulbs sitting around in the closet.
Pastor Hamilton reminded Council that the lamp in the pulpit uses a halogen bulb, and thus ordinary spare light bulbs are of no use.
Mrs. Woodstock thought that the next time the church bought a lamp, someone ought to make sure it took regular light bulbs like normal people use.
Pastor Hamilton said that there were many advantages to halogen bulbs.
Mr. Dhiatensor became very agitated and spoke rapidly about something, then stomped out of the room.
Mrs. Voss wondered whether “halogen” meant something obscene in Spanish.
Mrs. Yost said that she had always thought he was speaking Romanian.
Mrs. Blickensderfer said that at any rate someone ought to apologize to him, because Mr. Dhiatensor seemed like such a nice man.
Mr. Fox moved that Council convey its apologies to Mr. Dhiatensor for inadvertently offending him. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Blickensderfer, and carried by a vote of 7 to 1.
Mr. Sholes asked who was going to write the letter.
Mrs. Woodstock thought that would be the responsibility of the Worship and Music Committee.
Mrs. Voss said that she didn’t know Spanish, and anyway she couldn’t type.
Mrs. Woodstock said, fine, she would write the letter herself.
Mrs. Yost moved that Council authorize Mrs. Woodstock to write a letter of apology to Mr. Dhiatensor on behalf of Council. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Voss and carried by a vote of 7 to 1.
Mrs. Woodstock asked Mrs. Underwood if she would mind explaining, purely for Council’s information, why she had to vote no on every damn motion.
Mrs. Underwood said that it was quite clear that no one else on Council cared about the health of the congregation, which was threatened daily by an onslaught of communicable diseases.
Mrs. Woodstock said that the vote on a new hand dryer for the women’s restroom had been taken in February, and most of Council had decided that paper towels were good enough for them.
Mrs. Underwood said that was fine, but they shouldn’t expect her to cooperate with a Council that didn’t care if the entire congregation died of bird flu.
Pastor Hamilton asked whether any decision had been reached in the matter of the light bulb.
Mr. Fox said he didn’t think so.
Mr. Sholes said that the problem was figuring out what sort of bulb the lamp used.
Mrs. Voss suggested that someone could just take the old bulb to a store and find one like it, although she added that she herself didn’t know anything about electricity.
Mrs. Woodstock asked for a motion to authorize someone to go to the hardware store with the bulb, and come back with a new one.
Mr. Sholes said the problem with that was that no one knew how much a new bulb would cost, and until Council knew the cost it would be impossible to authorize the expense.
Mrs. Woodstock asked him what he would suggest.
Mr. Sholes suggested that an ad hoc committee could take the bulb to the hardware store, obtain the information about how much it would cost to replace, and report the cost to the next meeting of Council. Otherwise he didn’t see how it would be possible to authorize the expense.
Mrs. Woodstock asked him whether he would be willing to be part of the ad hoc committee. Mr. Sholes said that he would, and suggested that Mr. Fox would be a good second member.
Mr. Fox explained that, for reasons he would rather not discuss, he was no longer welcome at Blandville Hardware.
Mrs. Yost volunteered to go with Mr. Sholes to the hardware store, if he promised not to exceed the speed limit on State Street.
Mrs. Woodstock asked for a motion to form an ad hoc exploratory committee consisting of Mr. Sholes and Mrs. Yost for the purpose of taking the burnt-out light bulb to Blandville Hardware and finding out how much it would cost to replace, the cost to be reported to Council at the May meeting, at which time Council would be in a position to be able to authorize the expense of a new light bulb.
The motion was made by Mrs. Voss and seconded by Mr. Fox, and carried by a vote of 7 to 1.
Christopher Bailey , a Lutheran, writes about everything from Arthurian mythology to wireless networking. He spent a decade on the Upward Path in corporate America, but now must be counted among the backsliders.
“The Minister’s Cabinet” first appeared in the June 2007 issue of Touchstone. If you enjoyed this article, you'll find more of the same in every issue.
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