While Monty and I are having breakfast and reading the newspaper we often interrupt each other to share a funny story.While glancing through the paper this morning I ran across a  paragraph written by a University president.  (Not ours, but from up north, no, farther north.)

She is not going to renew her contract for 2022, but touted the growth in research funding enrollment, and student retention and diversity since she began overseeing the university in 2014. All  commendable pursuits, I’m glad she has been successful. 

Then she pulled out the ‘Administrator’s Playbook’, this chapter entitled “Buzzwords for Today’  and said  ‘While there is still a long road ahead, our planning and response to the pandemic – keeping our eyes totally focused on our academic mission and strategic priorities while engaging in the hard work necessary to keep us on a firm, sustainable financial footing – fills me with pride. ‘ 

I’m sure she has been a wonderful administrator, I’m not doubting that, but couldn’t she just say the university has done a bang up job during these tough times? The string of buzz words is a bit cringe worthy.  

Speaking of Playbooks – Years ago when I was a young married person with small children our family spent a lot of pew time in a small Baptist church. It was a great place to meet other young families, crack the Good Book, attend ice cream socials and pot lucks. 

There is an old saying in Baptist circles.  Those who attend church on Sunday morning love the people, those who attend on Sunday night love the preacher, those who show up on Wednesday night love the Lord.  You get the picture here, there is a lot of church.  

Baptists are big on revivals and at least once, if not twice, a year preachers came to visit and proceeded to bring fire and brimstone to the flock. The idea was to bring folks from the surrounding community into the church but they usually just spoke to the very same people who were there every Sunday. (what you might call preaching to the choir) Revivals typically consisted of a week set aside for evening services every night.  We would all gather to listen to a stranger tell us how we should be better folks. Think of it like Vacation Bible School without the crafts and fun stuff.   

Some of the visiting preachers were pretty good, others not so much, but one thing they all had in common was ‘The Story Playbook’.  It was my contention, when these guys graduated from seminary they were handed ‘The Story Playbook’.  (This idea was not received well by the church group but then again I was never a conformist.)  These heart wrenching stories  were intended to moved the flock to repent from a sinful life.   Most of the stories were awkward to say the least and I clenched my teeth when they started with ‘This reminds me of a story’. 

I remember one service when a young man was gallantly presenting the Word in his best orators voice.  He was getting wound up about the young people of the day and the terrible things they were doing.  Pulling out the Story Playbook he started talking about social functions. Not only did these young people want to attend their senior prom, (now there was a sin the preachers could get into), but the girls wanted to wear gown-less evening straps!  WHAT! WHAT! There were a few titters from the back pews but I laughed until the tears ran down my cheeks,  I just could not contain myself.  The young preacher didn’t realized his mistake and never missed a beat.   

I will always remember this preacher fondly, it may have been unintentional, but his Playbook really brought some humor to the evening.   


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