Unsportsmanlike Conduct…

Have you ever encountered an individual who was so obtuse, so obnoxious, and so demeaning that each time encountered a feeling of physical discomfort arose? 

Every time I was in this gentleman’s presence he found reason to dismiss my mere existence.  He made me feel small and insignificant.  My opinions were minimized and made to obliterate any sense of self-worth I may have possessed.  He would rally those around to join in his parade of humiliation.  He created a cadre of of yesmen laughing in concert at his continued exploitation.

Some background.  He was a pastor of a large church and considered a wonderful Godly man by those in his church.  He was recognized as a mantle of truth bringing lifechanging hope to the masses.  To me he was nothing short of a bully.  He was not a bully by stature he was a bully by status.  I thought he was a punk.

Each week my church held an open gym for the local clergy to play basketball.  I considered myself an above average basketball player having played a couple of years in college.  I was the lowest staff member on a multi-staff church and as such subject to much grunt work and minimization of my value.  When I approached my pastor about this hazing he told me to suck it up and act like a man.  In my youth when my manhood was questioned my ability to rise up and succeed increased.  This time was to be no different.

Each week this pastor would pick me out and find ways to administer cheap shots and talk poorly about my skills.  To someone not far removed from his pagan roots these were actions that previously led to a fight.  But as a brainwashed servant right out of seminary trying to find his place in the world, instead I kept myself in check.  I imagined this ongoing period of testing would conclude if I just acted with class and kept my composure while showing respect where it certainly wasn’t earned.

Damn if this guy wouldn’t relent.  Week after week he continued with his harassment.  I prayed and prayed for relief and yet somehow this pastor avoided hearing God ask him to knock it off.  I had to regularly deal with this guy and I was stuck.

Inspiration comes to us in strange ways and at strange times.  It’s often difficult to determine the source of such wisdom and even more challenging to act upon this given direction.  I can’t say for sure it was God who told me to do what I did, realistically it was probably derived from a wayward portion of my youth. 

This one day the pastor was just too aggressive with me.  He hit me in the mouth with his elbow and seemed to look at me with contempt instead of sorrow.  I began feeling my anger rise and my body began to shake.  I knew if I punched this pastor my job would end before he left the building.  With no recourse available I just left and said nothing.

I waited in the locker room considering my options.  As I sat there it occurred to me what I should do and nothing was going to stop this from happening.  I quickly showered and went across the hall and hid in a classroom.  I knew these basketball games had a pre-determined ending so I waited.  My mission was now in front of me. 

I watched the pastor as he entered the locker room.  He was the last the enter so I allowed him to get into the shower then my time for revenge was to begin.  I quietly slipped into the locker room and removed his clothes, all the towels, washcloths, and paper towels.  Game on preacherboy!

I took all my found booty and hid it in a nearby room then retreated to my office at the other end of the church.  The gym area was at the far end of the church and allowed no access to the rest of the building without marching down a well lit hallway.  Preacherboy had a real problem.  He was left to stand in all the glory that God had blessed him at his birth.  His newfound shortcoming (excuse the pun) left him with very few options.  Who’s laughing now?  I failed to mention that the church employed two female housekeepers at that time.  This to me was an added bonus.

I went to work in my office thinking preacherboy had been down there now for over 30 minutes.  By now he had plenty of time to study himself (another senseless pun) and his behavior towards me.  I had to make a decision soon as this event was rapidly reaching a point of no return.  My decision was made…leave the ****hole to rot down there.  I smiled feeling somewhat vindicated.

Then my phone rang…It was one of the housekeepers saying these was a man screaming out of the locker room for me.  Busted!  I handled it like a true man of honor.  I told the housekeeper that the music minister hid preacherboys clothes in the classroom by the locker room.  I sat at my desk grinning like an idiot when I soon heard stomping coming down the office hallway.  I heard something about my ass and a reference about my mother.  What a mouth on this preacher.  Oh crap! he is yelling for me to come out and face the music.  So once again bolstered by a boost of adrenaline I…I hid under my desk.

After what seemed like forever he finally agreed to leave.  I heard my pastor and staff try to calm him down and tell him they will deal with me.  Oh well I thought “this had been a good job while I had it.” 

I then heard my pastor and the staff enter the office.  I’m now instructed to come out.  I reluctenly crawl out to see huge grins on each face.  They tell me they are proud of me and what I did was the funniest thing they’ve seen happen in church.  Relief fills my heart.  I’m now one of the guys.

People would be suprised at what happens behind the hallowed doors of the church.  It reminds us all that each one of us faces the same trials and temptations no matter how perfect they appear on Sunday morning.  Church is full of imperfect individuals even it’s leaders.  There is no need to hide behind your imperfections either.  Come join us as we celebrate the life of wacky humanity.  Just the way God made it.  Rejoice!  We are all honorary members of  humanity’s wack pack.

And yes, preacherboy stopped his taunts and found a new person which to prove his toughness.  Clay feet and all.


1 Comment

  1. Old guy said,

    September 10, 2008 at 11:41 am

    Nice ‘game’. Enjoyed the outcome.

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