A friend of mine is in the habit of calling his wife, “mother.” He will say things like, “Well I think mother and I need to get home and relieve the babysitter.” I find that a little creepy, despite the fact that she is the mother of his kids. And for years I vowed that I would never do that. I didn’t swear on a stone or thrust a sword deep into the cold, dark earth, but I really tried not to say it. But when your four-year old says that it’s completely fine that she wear brightly striped leg warmers, a black plaid dress and a polka dotted ski hat to school, you can’t help but say, “Did mom say that was cool?” I mean, I can’t ask, “Did Jenny say that was cool?” We’re just not that postmodern of a family. But even as I break that vow, I want to swear a new one, right here, right now:
I will never refer to my pastor as simply “pastor.”
Do you know anyone that does this? Instead of saying, “Andy Stanley” or “Pastor Louie,” they just say pastor. Instead of using their name they say sentences like, “Well pastor said it wasn’t a good thing to do that at work, so I’m not going to.” Or, “Pastor and his wife are coming over for dinner tonight.”
Something about that just makes me feel a little “banjo.” (I am of course using banjo as a synonym for backwoods, which I can do right now because I don’t have a very large banjo population reading this site. When I eventually do however, I will use “moonshine jug” instead of “banjo.” Just a heads up.)
The bigger thing is that we don’t do that in any other relationships in our lives. We recently had some people paint our house, because I have the tender un-callused hands of a writer, and my wife didn’t say, “I saw painter today and he said they should be finished tomorrow.” When you go to the doctor you don’t say, “Doctor gave me medicine so I need to go to the drug store.” Or “I talked with accountant and she said my taxes are done.” It’s a very uniquely church thing to do, but I think we should all vow to stop it. Today, actually.