Sunday, May 3, 2009

Fined by the Police for a Sermon Illustration!

I smiled when I read in the current Preaching magazine of a pastor who was fined by the police for a sermon illustration!image

SHEBOYGAN FALLS, Wis. (AP) - A pastor and church member have been ticketed by police for shooting an arrow during a church service in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin.

Rev. John Putnam had Jason Wilke shoot the arrow across the front of the church during a recent service at Pentecostals of Sheboygan County. Putnam says it was a "teaching tool" used during his sermon.

As Wilke prepared to shoot the arrow with his bow, one man stood up and objected, telling Putnam it was unsafe and illegal. Others at the service say Putnam told the man to be quiet and sit down.

When the man objected a second time, Putnam asked him to leave. He did and called police. (The Preaching magazine article said he was forcibly removed from the church).

Wilke received a citation for using a missile indoors. The Rev. Putnam was cited for aiding and abetting. Both were fined $109. (March 23, 2009)

I feel a little sorry for the pastor, because I have been the subject of vigilante worry-warts in church as well.  But part of my smile is because of what happened yesterday.

I was performing the wedding of a young man who used to attend the church I served here in Portland.  He had left our church to go to an area mega-church “because there weren’t enough eligible females” in our church. (At least he was honest about why he was leaving our church).  He found his bride, but still considered me his pastor and so asked me to do the ceremony.


Towards the end of our premarital counseling I found that the wedding was to be a middle-ages or “Renaissance” wedding. Again, fine.  The groom was in “princely garb” including an elaborate velvet cape and the bride was in a princess-maiden sort of dress carrying lilacs.  (Three days before the wedding they asked me to wear a monk’s robe, which is another hilarious story all in itself).

But as we prepared to walk into the sanctuary of the church (they had found an old castle-looking church in downtown Portland—Grace Bible Church—who would host the wedding) the groom (nameless to protect the guilty) showed that he had a 12-14” sword at his side, under his cape.  The best man cried out, “Dude! you could be arrested for carrying that thing!”  Which is true. In Portland, you cannot carry a knife with a blade longer than the width of your hand (appx. 4”). This “knife” well exceeded that.  PLUS having it under his cape made the offense “carrying a concealed weapon.”  I could see (jokingly) the bride & groom stepping out of the church to waiting police.  (I later asked the bride how she would like to go on her honeymoon alone while her husband sat in jail!).  The groom finally agreed to lock the sword up in the trunk of his car as soon as the service was done and before they went to the reception. 

The laws make perfect sense and I agree with them.  I just found it funny.  Just like a preacher being fined for a sermon illustration, so a groom could be arrested for his creative costume!

Who says church is boring!


Loretta said...

it's really too bad we don't have a picture of you in the "monk" garb to post here with this....

Cal Habig said...

Thank God for grace!

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