I am the Pastor of Preaching and Worship at Left Hand Church in Longmont, Colorado. As you can see from the picture above, I am a force to be reckoned with. Therefore, church members would never think of photoshopping a dressed-up dog into a picture of me preaching, and certainly would refuse to do so if it had been suggested by one of my co-pastors. They know I am serious and in control, always, without fail. I never cry when I’m doing the communion meditation. I’m as dispassionate and dissociated as a fundamentalist church elder. After all, it’s just bread and grape juice.
At Left Hand Church, we do everything decently and in order. Whenever Jen Jepsen, our Pastor of Reconciling Ministries, begins our services with a welcome, she never gets her words tangled. Upon choking up with emotion, she would never say, “I’m not crying. You’re crying.” No, Jen is a professional through and through, always composed, reserved, serious.
Our Pastor of Executive Ministries, Aaron Bailey, would never roll his eyes when the Pastor of Preaching and Worship starts uttering curse words because she can’t figure out how to navigate through Slack or Google Docs. No, Aaron always treats her with the utmost respect, because as I said before, she is a force to be reckoned with. And oh yeah, she would never use curse words, ever, in any circumstance, and certainly not during a church service when one child is still in the auditorium. She is a professional.
Our Leadership Council operates quickly and efficiently, even if one or two people are left behind. If 10 people quickly reach a conclusion, you’d never find the 11th saying, “But I’m not sure we’ve thought about this one thing…” And you would certainly never see the group reengage the conversation and after a long and heartfelt talk, reverse their perspective to agree with the 11th member. No, they are more interested in getting stuff done fast, like a good board should.
And then there are those who do our communion meditations each week. They are, above all, people who refuse to think on their own, and only repeat the words spoken by real Christians, like Southern Baptist executives and members of Trump’s spiritual advisory team. They begin their meditations with phrases like, “God said it; I believe it; that settles it for me.” They would never say things like, “Jesus welcomed everyone to the table, even the dumb ones, the ones who were clueless, and yeah, that funky one.”
Yessiree, we are a serious church, with serious pastors, serious leadership council members, and serious attendees. Only serious Christians, who have never doubted the existence of God, come to our services. We only have attendees who know exactly how much God dislikes LGBTQ people, refugees and immigrants. Our members know it’s not how you live; it’s what doctrines you believe. A hallmark of a Left Hand attendee is making sure you are good and terrified of hell. If you say, “God is love,” our members know how to respond. We say, “Yeah, but how can you be sure.” We know to be suspicious of the notion God loves everyone, just as they are.
Yep, at Left Hand Church, we’ve got our shit stuff together. So you’ll never see a picture of an proud dog in a Cookie Monster costume photoshopped onto the stage of our auditorium behind our incredibly gifted Pastor of Preaching and Worship. And it would never have been photoshopped there by the newest member of our Leadership Council. Not ever.
And isn’t that the outfit the pastor wore at her TEDxMileHigh talk? No, our pastor would never wear the same thing twice. Because above all else, Left Hand is a very serious church.