Sunday, April 18, 2010

News From Lake Condescension


Oh, Garrison Keillor. Must you?

Old Pastor Ingvist has been sent off to a new parish, and the kindly folks of Lake Wobegon are being tended by a new interim pastor, the Rev. Barbara Ham. We didn't hear the program, but we did read catch the Cliff's Notes version courtesy of the Indispensable Ms. Hogan, who writes that
... any joy about about Ham’s arrival was lost for many in Keillor’s a demeaning portrayal of her as a fat pig who eats three caramel rolls in one sitting.

“She fills out that whole pulpit,” he added.


Ouch. That hurts! You see, Father Anonymous has spent about half of his own ministry serving as an interim pastor. That means he's heard all the things that people whisper in church basements, when they think nobody is listening. "Watch out for those interims! They eat too many caramel rolls. They read too much Edwin Friedman! They probably like cats."

Now, like many stereotypes, there is a grain of truth to this. We at the Egg know that many of our colleagues in interim ministry do indeed fill out a pulpit quite thoroughly. More than a few, when pushed, will begin to mutter darkly about self-differentiation. We ourselves are still trying to lift the cat-hair from our funeral coat.

But still. For every pulpit-filling, roll-eating, systems-spouting interim pastor we know, there are several who are gaunt, ascetic, and utterly indifferent to Bowen theory. And a few dog people, too.

So we respectfully ask Mr. Keillor to deepen his art a little, and try to expand the public perception of interim ministers, rather than playing to outdated and offensive caricatures.

And if, by some chance, he wasn't caricaturing interim ministers so much as some other caucus within the First Estate, well, all the same things apply. But even more so.

4 comments:

Pastor Joelle said...

hahaha. Caricaturing interim pastors. Yea. THAT's what he was doing...the good thing about this is it gave me courage to come out as one who always suspected he was something of a jerk.

Father said...

It IS refreshing. And the more I think about it, the more I think you're right. His narrator in those stories, "Gary" I think, has always walked the fine line between compassionate observer and snotty little kid who left town to get rich making fun of the folks at home.

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

I suppose I could listen to the replay on the way home from church today. Not sure I want to, but I wonder what my emotional reaction would be. How does one determine if a "humorist" is making fun of a class of people (women, interim ministers) or just making up a particular character? How do the bachelor farmers react week after week? Maybe the fat pastor will turn out to be a person who really understands grace and declares it graciously.

Father, I'm guessing that you could find a live streaming rebroadcast at http://minnesota.publicradio.org/features/ at about 11:00 or 11:30 am CDT today, sunday. I have slow internet, or I'd search out the exact link for you.

mark said...

Here's a link:

http://prairiehome.publicradio.org/about/podcast/