Many modern preachers have discontinued the use of a pulpit, preferring instead to roam the stage freely sporting headset mics and using slide presentations. Fundamentalists, however, remain big fans of the old-fashioned pulpit and continue to put flowers in front of it and bestow upon it the title of the “sacred desk.”
The pulpit itself is no mere common piece of furniture for it has countless uses to the fundamentalist preacher. Among these are…
- Holder for the microphone for those churches where holding the mic in one’s hands is forbidden as a Freudian no-no.
- Resting spot for the ubiquitous cup of water that sits on it in testament to the fact that the preacher is no lightweight who will only be preaching for twenty minutes. He plans to preach until he is dry then preach some more.
- Place for the speaker to set his wide margin preaching Bible (KJV), his watch (a completely pointless gesture), his ream of sermon notes (if he is of the note-using school), and all of his source material (consisting of a single volume of Sword of the Lord illustrations and a book of Great Poems For Sermons.)
- Solid surface on which to pound while making dubious points. The rule is the thinner the argument the louder the preacher must yell and pound.
- Line of demarcation between an official speaker and someone just giving a talk. Women or divorced men, for example may be asked to speak from the floor instead of from the place of authority lest they profane that hallowed spot.
So synonymous is this wooden box with the pastor himself that the search for a new pastor is carried out by a “pulpit committee.” Beware to those who would handle it carelessly lest they be struck down.