so, part 1 gave my mindset before the service. it pretty much dropped from my mind as the service started.
the service was back with the main pastor, the first one since the new year that i can remember.
every year in the summer for a month, some of the lay leaders in the church do the service to give him a break… and they fill in when he has to be gone. but this round he’d been here and introducing them… following a series on using gifts… so it seemed related to that.
actually, it was kind of a nice change of pace. last fall involved a 17 part series that overstayed its welcome a bit.
and at one point he even jokingly made the comment “im still here, you aren’t getting rid of me that easily!”
which made it all the more weird that this sermon started with the regular palm sunday readings, and somehow worked its way into an announcement that he’s leaving on what he called a paid sabbatical.
but, he made it fairly clear that he doesnt know what direction its going from here or if he’ll even be coming back. normally sabbatical to me generally means a break for a certain length of time or to complete a certain project…. with expectation of a return.
but this got weirder still… with explanations of his opting out of social security, details of losing lots of money in a previous business… mentioning the church having approved a retirement plan back when it was at peak growth and looking to expand, but not being able to fund it now… then to his intentions to work on his new business and see where it goes as to whether or not he’s returning.
or whether or not to be looking for a replacement among the current leaders, or to be looking at someone new for short term, or to stay entirely.
he’s been the pastor of this church since he started it over 25 years ago… after a split from another church he had started about 10 years before that. (and he thanked everyone for toughing it out through the last 3 1/2 years as the roughest spell… which sort of amused me that of course that starts right about the time we became official members…) his wife and son in law are 2 of the 3 non-pastor paid staff.
i suppose at this point is where i should mention one of my other annoyance incidents. one of the times when he came over and was speaking with me, it came up that i’m job searching right now. to which he started telling me about a multilevel marketing program thing he was involved in… your typical thing where you recruit people then you get a share of their profits without doing the hard part of the work. he dropped it when i told him i wasnt really looking for that sort of thing.
the recruiting seemed a bit inappropriate… but, i didnt really think too much of it. he’s human, he has a life outside of the church, and whatever works for him.
so thats what i was expecting this was about.
but later that afternoon, i googled him. i’d done it before back when we started attending, and found your regular sorts of stuff. random newspaper quotes, links from other church sites, etc.
not anymore. the church pages barely made an appearance. but, neither did the original multilevel thing he’d mentioned to me the one time.
all of the new stuff is related to a couple of different business things.
one is a thing with reverse auctions… the sort where you pay 50 cents for every time you check the price, and it drops in price every time someone checks it, until someone gives up and buys it at that price and everyone else is just out the money they have spent. the ones i’ve always heard referred to as a form of gambling, working on the principal that people feel like they are losing the money they have already spent on the bids if they dont keep bidding, so they lose even more.
the other… seems to be the new business project. its filled with so much backtalk, its hard to tell what in the world its about from its pages.
fortunately, other people have helped… and one explains it as basically buying reputation. the example given was that if you have something you want voted up higher on a site like digg to get more attention, you can buy 80 votes of the next 3 days, and your item will be voted on by 80 different computers in that time frame.
from one of the other question and answer pages, it seems that the computers of the people buying are the ones voting for the other peoples. also theres a mention of limiting the number of the same type of businesses involved in it, as there can only be so many people seen as the top expert.
if you were really the top expert, would you need to be buying attention? if you were that good in the first place, wouldnt you be able to earn your votes on your own?
so, neither of these seem to be illegal… but i cant say i’m impressed with the ethics of either one.
but i guess i’m just sort of stunned.
sad, both for him and for the church… but also sort of baffled.
im not even sure really what direction id hope to see this go in. not that my hoping has anything to do with outcomes… but still. while i think the lay leaders will do fine and several of them would have no problem taking up the role, its still a difficult limbo to put them in.
and sort of wondering exactly whats up with this that we arent seeing. has this been his intention the past three months? were there others pushing him towards making the choice between these odd seeming business choices and his role as pastor? not that any of that is any of my business.. but just feeling sort of ambushed out of the blue and like the rest of us have missed something here.
the disconnected feeling from before? massively amplified.
still not really sure what to do with it.