Friday, December 19, 2014

The Popeye Preacher

"I yam what I yam, and that's all that I yam"-Popeye
  Trust me, this will all make sense by the time that I'm done. Maybe.
  I recently made a trip to the Philippines to help out a  dear friend and  mentor of mine. While I was there I  fell in love with what is going on over there, and it is my hearts desire to return with my family and minister there indefinitely. That sort of work requires outside funding and as an independent Baptist, the way those funds are usually procured is a  process by which the  missionary-wanna-be travels around to various churches asking for a financial commitment towards the ministry.  were I  to join some sort of denomination or convention this process  might be easier, but at a cost of autonomy or doctrinal compromise.
  It has been made clear to me that, in the minds of some, I am horribly inadequate for this task, and they are probably right. I have been told that I don't have the personality for such an endeavor. I have been told that nobody will like me, and nobody will support me.  I , in the minds of some, am unqualified, anti-social, uncouth, and  too dogmatic.
  I also have no knack for self-promotion, and on this point I must agree with my critics.  I know of a  younger fellow in the ministry that  has a rather dominant (at least in my estimation) social media presence.  He is on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, and he literally has thousands of followers.  As he travels and does his thing he puts up pictures and  what-not.  Hundreds of people comment on his activities and he is booked  for meetings years in advance.  It's really  quite remarkable to me how he has achieved near-celebrity status in our circles and how he makes it look easy.  This is not a criticism; I genuinely wish I had a 'feel' for such things.
  But as my favorite one-eyed sailor would say "I ain't no tailor but I know what suits me".  I am , as much as anybody can be, exactly what I appear to be. I'm not smooth-talking or glib. I say stuff I shouldn't on occasion and  unfortunately, way too often I do things I shouldn't. I am gruff sometimes and  rude from time to time. I consider  brutal honesty a sign of respect. I have no 'sugar-coat' button  in my head. I'd rather go through something than go around it. I don't have  bulgy arms ( but not from lack of trying)  or tattoos and I don't smoke a pipe but I do want to hit people from time to time.
  I preach the Bible with very little fanfare. I am  a laborer in word and doctrine, and in the ministry. I may not be  as smooth as you or as handsome as you or as glib as you, but I will work you into the ground trying to keep up with me. I  adore doctrine , and I believe public ministry is the highest form of evangelism.  I will preach what I think is right, even if it costs me, and I've proven that. I'm sure there are ways to explain things  and ways to present things that would make me more effective, and in that area I am still learning, but  I cannot change the core of who I am. You will never have to worry what version of Michael Alford you're dealing with, and as much as  you would think  such genuineness would be an asset, it doesn't appear to be.
  I  am told that I need to  'market' myself, but I don't even know where to start.  Obviously  going to a group of strangers and  telling them what I just told you  probably isn't the best tactic.  Though I have no doubt that my honesty would resound with some people (us knuckleheads can always spot our own), many Christians have never seen anything like me come down the pike.
  If on the off chance you are looking for exactly that sort of guy to send out, I present myself to you as someone willing to  go in your stead and minister in a foreign land.  I'm Popeye the Preacher man.
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