These are letters I’ve written to pastors as I’ve had questions I can’t answer with the single visit, and that are itching at the back of my skull enough to sit down and write them. I notice I’ve begun to use the same introduction . . . I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not.

Letter to Rev. Taylor of East Valley Presbyterian Church
On the topic of Detached Steeples

Letter to Pastor Wittwer of Life Center Foursquare Church
On the topic of Communion

Letter to Pastor Tervo of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church
On the topic of Altar Calls and Baptism

I got my first letter back today (21 Feb 2008)!
Pastor Tervo wrote a very lovely letter back, explaining that the altar call is a regular part of their service, and that in their tradition, it’s also for those who are already saved, and to those who would like prayer. As to the question of baptism, he wrote that generally they schedule baptisms for the following week, because they practice full immersion, and it takes at least overnight to heat the water. But, he said, if someone called by Sat. evening, they would be ready for them Sunday. He also invited us back to BBMC.

Letter to Pastor Kennedy of Foothills Community Church
On the topic of sermon originality.

I got my second letter back today ( 22 Feb 2008)!

Pastor Kennedy wrote an very graceful and honest letter exploring the issues I raised in mine. In it, he explores some of the rational pastors use (demands of time, being touched by the original and wanting to share with the congregation, the problems of reference in public speaking, the question of what is left to be original that hasn’t been preached, the other components of the job that take time). He mentions the media and academia, and the standards we hold them to, and concludes that pastors ought to meet or exceed those standards, because “we must remember that He is the One to whom we are ultimately responsible, no matter what the common practice may be.”

I cannot imagine him writing a better, more graceful response to me.

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