Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Pastor and the Politicians

I served for several years as pastor of the First Baptist Church of Adel, Georgia.

Adel is a fine South Georgia county seat town of some 6000 people. It’s located on I-75 midway between Tifton and Valdosta.

One year we were having a mayoral election. There were four candidates.

All four of them were members of our church. Not only that, but all four of them were faithful and participating members. None of them was the type that showed up during the campaign and then disappeared. They came before the campaign, during the campaign, and after the campaign. They were all good men.

None of them were desperate enough for the two or three votes that I could have swung their way to ask for my endorsement. I hope that I had been clear enough in my articulation of my beliefs about church and state that they knew that they would not have received it had they asked.

One of the candidates said to me, “Mike, on the night of the primary, win or lose, we’re having some folks over to our house. We’d like for you and Debra to come.” I told him that we’d be there.

We got there and began to mill around and to enjoy the refreshments.

A kind lady of the community who was also a member of our church came up to me and said, “Well, I guess we know who you voted for today!”

I replied, “No, ma’am, you don’t know that. All you know is that this candidate invited me to his party. I don’t know if any of the other candidates are having such a gathering but if they are, I was not invited. I assure you that had I been invited to four parties I would have made an appearance at four parties.”

Oh, one more thing…none of the Adel media seemed to care what I had been saying in the sermons to which the candidates had been listening.

Imagine that.

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