“Don’t tell God you don’t want to do something because that’s exactly what He’ll call you to do.”
For all of their horror at the asceticism of other Christian sects, fundamentalists are often fascinated with the idea of suffering for Jesus — and God is evidently only too happy to oblige them. If a fundy admits to hating hot weather, God will inevitably call them as a missionary to the tropics. If the hate cold, they’ll go to Alaska, and if they hate eggplant they’ll end up in New Jersey. It’s inevitable.
In fact, your only real hope of getting THE CALL™ to a place or vocation that you like is to psych God out with some reverse psychology. “No, Esther, I hate the beach and being rich and being able to process lactose!” It’s a long shot but maybe you’ll end up loving life if you pretend to hate it enough.
Some fundies are so obsessed with receiving THE CALL™ to suffer that they are not suffering enough they think they’ve missed God’s perfect will and may very well go out and find some way to inflict some pain (or at least few minor irritations) upon themselves so they can earn a martyr’s crown. Soul winning and street preaching provide ample opportunities for this. Volunteering to direct this year’s God and Country cantata provides even more.
Suffering is a good and righteous thing. As long as you’re doing it any time but during Lent, that is.
The most important day in a preacher boy’s life is the moment he receives THE CALLâ„¢. If the fledgling preacher has grown up in a fundamentalist church, this event can happen anytime from pre-school onward — although most will find it expedient to experience it sometime in junior high. If you’re not coordinated enough to make your fundy high-school basketball team (motto: “It’s a good thing we’re playing for heavenly rewards not earthly trophies”) , being a preacher boy is about your only hope of gaining any kind of status.
The date and surrounding circumstances of THE CALLâ„¢ must be carefully documented. One just can’t be too careful about remembering each detail for the sake of later sermon illustrations, pulpit committees, and parole boards. The elements of a good call story are these:
– It must happen during a sermon by either 1) a famous fundy preacher 2) A pastor who has been at the same church for over 20 years 3) Dad. If a preacher boy happens to get THE CALLâ„¢ while fishing or relaxing under a fig tree it’s best if he keeps that to himself until the next available altar call following a sermon by one of the above.
– It must include a heart-warming story about how terrible the preacher boy’s first experience with preaching was due to his ignorance and poor judgment on the part of whoever mistakenly let him into the pulpit. This should inspire the listeners to be amazed at how far the preacher boy has come since then by comparison. The worse he is now, the more tragic the story from the past must be.
– It must conclude with words that express how thankful the preacher boy is that he is not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. It would probably be best to omit references to how slim his chances at gainful employment were if he had not received THE CALLâ„¢.
Many are called but few are chosen. The rest are sure to eventually find jobs in sales.