A True Non-Celebrity Pastor Moment
August 8, 2011
There are at least two things that the world at large should know about the Rev. Dr. Trueman. First, he does not have fangs, does not make cuddly puppies run in the opposite direction, and shows signs of having smiled before. So much so is this the case, that, judging by my 4-year old daughter's reaction whenever she sees Dr. Trueman (shouts of joy, running to him after worship), I've been tempted to wonder if perhaps he isn't either (a) a celebrity pastor after all or (b) an astute American politician with a British ruse.
Second, and despite protestations to the contrary, Trueman is no celebrity pastor (Dr. Thomas's prodigious Twitter following notwithstanding). The demonstration of Dr. Trueman's non-celebrity status, however, was nowhere more on display than yesterday's morning worship service. As the good Rev. ascended the sacred desk, he pulled out the sine qua non of the celebrity pastor - the ubiquitous iPad. I know, I know - the scandal is unbearable. One can almost hear the sniggers of "hypocrite" ringing in the halls of a meagchurch somewhere.
But what happened next demonstrates that such sniggering would be unwarranted. After ably reading the text, with the glow of the fabled device illumining his countenance and a few seconds pause, the good Dr. spoke to the people, "I'm afraid I can't find my sermon. I will hand my iPad over to my son to sort it out and preach from memory."
No legions of interns to assist the hapless technological troglodyte. No iPad backup fetched whilst the cameras for the big screen cut to a shot of a stunning ocean scene while "How Great Thou Art" echoed forth from the praise band. No,in the ultimate demonstration of un-hipness (in a fashion that would make Tower of Power smile), the middle-aged man hands off the "new-fangled" device to the tech-savvy son. How uncool! And, to top it all off, Trueman was wearing a suit while doing this. A suit! The writers for an ABC family series could not have scripted it better. Indeed, with this kind of device malfunction, I couldn't help but be transported to the Stonehenge scene of This is Spinal Tap.
So, while his politics may be a study in contradiction, his celebrity pastor status is not. Despite the appearance of one who secretly wishes to join the ranks of the multi-site, it was all too clear yesterday that Trueman is like us, after all: our gadgets outdo our competence. And you can't fake that.