Skip to content ↓

The Bone-Lazy Pastor

The Bone-Lazy Pastor

One of my relatives, a great uncle, was a pastor—a clergyman for the Church of England who served in Canada’s province of Quebec. Family lore is that he was not a particularly good pastor. My mother was recently sorting through some old family papers and came across a letter that would seem to say that the lore is based on fact. This letter was sent to him in 1942 by the Right Reverend Philip Carrington, Bishop of Quebec. I don’t know anything much about Carrington, but I admire his forthrightness!

My Dear [Name],

You asked me again about a chaplaincy when I called on you a month ago. I am going to tell you the brutal truth. I do not see that you would make a good chaplain. When I ordained you six years ago, I did so because (in spite of appearances) I believed you had qualities of energy and devotion and hard work, and certain abilities in the way of dealing with men and boys. I appointed you to Hatley because I still had the same impression. You showed certain signs of energy when you first went to Grosse Ile, but they did not appear again until your short stay at Ayers Cliff. Since then they have disappeared. The girls’ work at Ayers Cliff has disappeared, too. So has the young people’s work at Hatley. I listened to your excuses and was not convinced. I like you, as you know; but friendship must not blind the eyes to facts. If you have not convinced me that you are working, it is very unlikely that you are working. The truth, I now suspect, is that you are bone-lazy. You don’t attend deanery meetings; you failed to send a boy to our camp; you are as friendly and sociable as can be; you do some visiting. My dear Bill, it isn’t good enough. You must get down to hard, energetic methodical labour. I shall come, if possible, in the fall, and see how you are getting on.

Yours sincerely,

Philip Quebec

  • The Least of My Childrens Accomplishments

    The Least of My Children’s Accomplishments

    I know what it is to be a father and to take pride in the achievements of my children. I had not been a father for long when I learned that the least of my children’s accomplishments by far outshines the greatest of my own. Their smallest victory generates more delight than my largest and…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (June 5)

    A La Carte: 3 waves that have shaped evangelical churches (and a 4th on the way) / When is a couple considered married? / A Christian’s practical guide to reproductive technology / Don’t be half a Berean / Wisdom is work / This body is only the seed / Book and Kindle deals / and…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (June 4)

    A La Carte: The blame game / Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be / A kind invitation and lifelong friendship / Steered into error by those closest to you / Satan as “prince of the air” / Under the eaves / General market books / and more.

  • Bring Your Skills to the Missions World

    This week the blog is sponsored by TWR, also known as Trans World Radio, and is called to reach the world for Christ by mass media so that lasting fruit is produced. Pete and Debbie Lee were living the American dream. The parents of two children, the Lees lived in Greensboro, North Carolina, and were…

  • How can you mumble

    How Can You Mumble?

    Some of my most meaningful moments of public worship have been in settings where I did not speak the language. I have stood with a congregation in rural Zambia as they’ve clapped and moved and praised the Lord in Bemba, a language that is utterly unknown to me. I’ve sat with a congregation in the…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (June 3)

    A La Carte: Life doesn’t always turn out like we thought it would / Hope for fallen Christians / AI as theological babel fish / Teenagers and parental hypocrisy / Is there a preferred Bible translation Christians should use? / Logos and Kindle deals / and more.