Monday, April 21, 2008

When the tongue makes a typo...

During my years as a youth pastor/minister/slave, I had my share of triumphs: Plenty of moments when everything fell into place in a way that only God could have orchestrated. But then there were times when my mouth had a mind of its own...and didn't use it.

The incident I'm thinking of today, and winner of my personal Most Embarrassing Moment in Ministry Award, took place at a church camp in Southern Indiana in the latter part of the previous century. The senior high youth group to which I was youth pastor/minister/slave had spent all weekend at the camp...had it all to ourselves...having a great time growing in our relationships with each other and with God.

It was early Sunday afternoon. We'd had a great lunch and were ready to pack up and go home, but first we gathered in a large room for a closing prayer circle. Normal procedure for prayer circles is to stand in a---um---circle, holding hands. One person starts by saying a short prayer, gently squeezing the hand of the person next in the circle when done. There is also the option of not praying and just squeezing the next hand to let that person know it's his/her turn. This non-praying option usually results in a wave of hand-squeezing quickly passing around the circle until it gets back to the adult-type person designated to be the final pray-er.

This time was different, though. Almost every one of the students had at least a sentence or two of thanks or praise or supplication, and the emotional level of the room kept increasing as we prayed our way around the circle.

It finally came around to me, the beloved leader of the pack, to offer the final prayer of our weekend of spiritual retreat and rejuvenation. I was wanting to thank God that we had a faith that was worth passing on to others...but what actually came out of my mouth was, "Thank you that we have a faith worth pissing on--"

I stopped cold, thinking, "Um...that didn't sound right." All was quiet until one student to my left made that half-gagging nose-noise of trying to stifle a laugh. That's all it took for the whole room to start rolling on the floor. I tried to spit out some lame concluding sentence to my prayer, said amen, and promptly gasped for air between guffaws.

No matter what kind of Scriptural insights were discovered and shared that weekend, guess what the kids went home and told their parents?

1 comment:

Tina said...

I feel for you. At a strategic planning session for our crisis pregnancy ministry, I was in charge of writing everyone's ideas on a large piece of paper attached to an easel. I think I was distracted by trying to quickly move past the notes and drawings from a recent childbirth class. At the top of the page, I wrote the topic heading, "Public Image"...well...I almost did. I left out the letter "l".