You have no idea the number of pastors who tell me that their unique gift is to teach the Bible from a practical perspective. They focus on helping their congregation understand the Bible in practical ways. I assume they mean like the owner’s manual of a car, or the instructions for operating a computer. But the problem is – the Bible may be the least practical book ever written. In fact, I wonder if
Many people didn’t realize that 2007 marked the 80th anniversary of “Elmer Gantry” – Sinclair Lewis’s 1927 fictional portrait of a bogus evangelist. The novel itself wasn’t great as a written work, and as the Wall Street Journal points out, even it’s admirers found little to praise as a work of literature. But the image of the con-artist, scamming preacher lives on in our collective memory. The novel was so controversial that it was literally banned in Boston, even though it sold 175,000 copies in it’s first few weeks. The story has given us not only a list of powerful archetypes for this kind of character, but an almost endless list of clichés as well.
We may have discovered the world’s first transgendered evangelist. “Sister Paula” is now on Portland cable TV and podcasting. Who says this business isn’t interesting?