Posted tagged ‘Hoarders’

The Problem With A Pastor’s Library

December 28, 2015

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                 December 28, 2015


Retirement for a pastor means a lot of things…some good and some bad. One of the bad things is that I have to move everything out of my office at church and bring it home.

That’s where the problem starts!

My personal library is in excess of a thousand books. The bookshelves in my study at home were packed out…before I brought books from the office! Now the floor of my study is featuring towers. It looks like multiple games of “Book Jenga” are being played! How high can I build the tower, and now can I take out that copy of Church Dogmatics; Volume 1.1 located two-thirds of the way down the tower without toppling the whole thing? Challenges and problem-solving!

My wife Carol’s frequently asked question is not “Is this all you’ve got?” Flip to the opposite side of that question and you would be accurate.

“You aren’t going to keep all these books are you?”

“Ahhh…no,” I  say weakly and without conviction.

I feel like a pastor whose cat has just had a litter of kittens, and now I must find good homes for Pannenberg, Barth, and Kung. The problem is that there are very few people who are interested in Latourette’s two-volume A History of Christianity. It resembles a Saint Bernard in size and effort. I have even less potential homes for Torbet’s A History of The Baptists. there are an abundance of people who wonder about Baptists, but very few who are interested in them.

I accomplished a little bit of clearance Saturday night when I removed four books from one of the towers…and snuck them to the basement…just in case I need one of them.

The mindset of a book addict is like that. I may not have even dusted a book for three decades and yet I still think we might use it next week. That’s how my brain works.

So now my home study is being considered for an episode of Extreme Hoarders. As I stand by in obvious mental and emotional anguish Rudolf Bultmann’s Jesus Christ and Mythology is carted out. Leonard Sweet’s books are in the process of being carefully removed when I scream “Can’t you leave me at least one?”


I am, however, getting better. I moved all of my Chicken Soup… books out last week. They are hiding behind the stack of jigsaw puzzle boxes in the basement…just in case I might need them!

Church Hoarders

September 24, 2012

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                             September 25, 2012


The church is over-flowing with people of grace. Because of that churches have a hard time throwing anything away. It may have been donated, or it may be a part of someone’s comfort zone. If I went into closets of our church right now I guarantee you I could find Sunday School curriculum that was written when Moby Dick was a minnow, music from when Elvis was singing Gospel, and cleaning tools so worn that they might be confused with giant toothbrushes (Not that I’ve seen many giant toothbrushes!).

Forget Extreme Hoarders! There should be a TV series called “Church Hoarders.” It would be compelling, and tense. There might be a scene in even episode where the Church Council has to grapple with Jesus’ statement to the rich ruler, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” I can imagine the agony of letting go of the accumulation of years of “stuff.” Grief counseling might have to accompany the intervention.

Perhaps part of a church’s problem with hoarding is the fear that cleaning out will just be an excuse for trashier trash to move in. It’s that statement of Jesus about an evil spirit coming back to a house after it has been cleaned and bringing seven other spirits more wicked than itself (Matthew 14:43-45).

Keep the clutter we have now, because we at least know it’s been here a while, and used to have a purpose.

I opened up a closet at church recently and had a computer fall out that was made by Methuselah! It had outlived it’s usefulness, but seven spiders had moved in.

Of course, churches also get cast-offs. If it doesn’t sell at a garage sale, it may end up in the donated box at church. Churches get used coloring books, cassette tapes made by The Imperials, half-eaten boxes of donuts, and King Arthur silverware.

Some Gospel people reword Jesus’ statement in Matthew 11 about coming to him, all who are heavy-burdened as an excuse to clean out the garage and lay the results at the feet of Jesus.

Thus my first statement. We practice grace so much that we’ll take anything from anyone…and keep it!