Conspiracy theories are quite popular right now—everyone thinks that someone else is up to something secret and nefarious. And don’t be fooled; these conspiracies are not limited to the political realm. There are plenty of conspiracies happening in our own congregations. Here are just a few conspiracies I’m inclined to believe in:
- Bigfoot may be a myth, but I am convinced there is a Littlefoot (or two, or three) living in our church. When the building is empty, Littlefoot runs rampant, doing things like drinking the communion juice, using all the toilet paper, leaving dirty dishes in the sink, and turning on the microphone.
- A league of evil anti-pastor villains has created a mighty Crisis Cluster Generator. By monitoring church calendars, hospital admissions, email correspondence, and intercessory prayers, the villains can detect when one crisis is emerging and quickly deploy the generator to assure that multiple crises will occur at the same time. The generator is also set to automatically activate during Holy Week and the fourth Sunday of Advent.
There is an underground society dedicated to the preservation of bad art, and many of their most effective operatives serve on church decorating and hospitality committees. Those who cannot gain spots on such committees are adept at sneaking artwork into church buildings (and sometimes lawn ornaments into church gardens) under the cover of night. One key strategy they use is to create confusion and uncertainty about the origin of bad art so that everyone is afraid to get rid of it for fear of offending someone.
- I Corinthians 11:5-6 was an editorial insert by the powerful pro-veil/anti-barber lobby.
- There is an aggressive virus that affects many clergy computers. It can manifest in a number of ways including: sending emails that say “I’m attaching the pertinent information” before said information gets attached; replying to “all” instead of replying to an individual; putting files in the wrong folder so they are virtually unfindable; and replacing inspired and insightful sermon text with trite platitudes and disorganized rambling.
- Alien life forms have developed a system that allows them to take over the brains of generally reasonable people whenever key topics come up in a church committee meeting. Such topics include, but are not limited to: flags in the church, pastoral compensation, singing new hymns in worship, and the dishwasher “situation.”
- There is a cabal that somehow gets a significant amount of money for every committee created in church. They deploy members to congregations around the world to complicate simple matters and promote the necessity of more committee work. They are particularly good at turning something one person could easily do alone into a committee job; for example, you may have a name tag committee or a toilet paper committee. Another favorite tactic is to create multiple sub-committees for each committee. Does your worship committee have a communion sub-committee? And altar cloth sub-committee? A bulletin font sub-committee? If so, you have been infiltrated and are making the cabal very rich indeed.
Now before you contact my ordaining body to question my credentialed status (and you wouldn’t be the first to do so), let me assure you that I do not really believe in all of these conspiracies. I’m just saying that if they were true, it would explain a lot.
Rev. Joanna Harader serves as pastor of Peace Mennonite Church in Lawrence, KS, where there are no bad pieces of art, dishwasher “situations,” or unnecessary committees. Her blog is SpaciousFaith.com.
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