Pastors will keep this book--its hints, its chuckles, its struggles--close at hand. You never know when you'll get one of those dreaded questions.
They are always just around the corner. Even when things are going swimmingly for the pastor, a these dreaded questions are waiting in the wings. They might come from a tear-stained child , a gruff, "You'll have to show me" member, or from a desperate Sunday School teacher. The zinger comes and the pastor, aware that two thousand years of Christian thought have not generated a simple "I'm glad you asked" answer, most respond.
The dreaded ten:
(1) Is my Jewish neighbor going to hell?
(2) Why did God let my kitten, Fluffy, die?
(3) What do you mean, you changed the light bulb that Grandma gave the church?
(4) Why doesn't your wife sing in the choir?
(5) Who are you going to vote for, Reverend?
(6) Why are you leaving us for another church? Don't you like us?
(7) Why do you pick hymns no one knows?
(8) Why do we keep sending off money for missions?
(9) Why can't we use Christmas red on the altar table during December?
(10) Are all "acts of God" acts of God?
F. Belton Joyner Jr. is a retired United Methodist pastor and author of The Unofficial UM Handbooks and Being Methodist in the Bible Belt: A Theological Survival Guide for Youth, Parents, and Other Confused Methodists and many other books. Currently, he is a visiting lecturer at Duke Divinity School and member of Judicial Council of The United Methodist Church. He lives in Bahama, North Carolina.