The Rev. Silmarillion Pendarvis hunched over his coffee and his iPad. After an hour I realized that he practiced a rhythm of sipping, looking at the device, putting it on the table, and then sipping again. Then he would look at the ceiling or out the window and start the process anew. Whenever the Rev is around, I discover a miracle. The miracle today was that it only took me an hour to recognize what he was doing. Sip, look, sip.
“Rev, I can’t help noticing that you’re sitting here with your sixteenth cup of coffee and looking at the iPad. Something you want to talk about?”
“Yes. No. Nothing.” Nervous laugh then.
“Rev, I’m not busy. You’ve listened to my problems.”
“I don’t have a problem. Well, I do have a problem of sorts. I need to do the annual reports for the church. Here’s the problem: I don’t have all the officers that the church is supposed to have because the congregation is old and tired and they’ve been doing it for years.”
“So leave the spaces blank. What’s the problem?”
“I’m resisting filling out the reports. The church functions. It knows what it can do in ministry, and it knows the limitations of age and size. I keep trying to do the reports, but I’m not getting anywhere because I don’t see the point. I fill out the reports and what happens to them? Someone looks to make sure the data is there. Names and addresses are pulled and sent to different places in the system. That’s it. And it gets done every year. I’m as tired of it as my church is tired. “
“Sort of like cleaning the kitchen every night. It’s work that needs to be done, but nobody likes it.”
“That’s it. I know the price of being a pastor in my denomination. Reports are due next week. Give me another day to vent and then I’ll do the reports.”