For several years a group of laity Lutherans and a couple of ordained ministers came to our village next to the Bering Sea to teach Bible School during the month of July. It was a mission for them and there was a large Alaskan Lutheran mission organization that provided logistical support. Each member of the delegation had to raise at least half the money for the trip, their local church kicked in twenty-five percent, and the rest of the money was raised by bake sales, car washes or what ever kind of event they could come up with.
One of the pastors was named Ted. He was about 38 years old, big, tall, and friendly. He stopped by my lodging several times and we would chat about, television, football, baseball, and other things other than religion. It was sort of a break for him I guess, I mean one can only be around religious people so long.
Big Ted, as he called himself lived in Texas but grew up in Minnesota. I think he might have been a secret Treky because he could not take his eyes of Star Trek while it was playing and sort of timed his visits when it was going to be on.
I mentioned to him in a weak religious reflection moment that I was sort of friends with the local missionary and although he believed in the six day creation and the earth being no more than 6000 years old he was a nice person, practical in his approach to dealing with potential converts, and had done a lot for the community. Big Ted shook his head like he was agreeing with me and then would go back to watching Captain Kirk fight off some sort of space alien.
A couple of nights later Big Ted showed up again and we began talking about religion for some reason. I guess I needed more weak moments. He sort of got pleasure in telling me that he too believed in the six day creation and the 6000 year old earth. Oh well it wasn’t the first time I had stuck my foot in my mouth but I took admonition with ease not being the embarrassed kind. I am sure that if Ted thought I would have gotten embarrassed he would never have tweaked me that way. Religious people do have a sense of humor now and then.
Big Ted and his group only stayed a week. Cynics might say that they did very little but smile and think the native Eskimos were interesting and the kids were cute and thought that having 200 attendees at the events they held, they could go home and tell all the other parishioners what a great thing they had done. But the cynics are being cynical.
I had a group come to my classroom one day and it turned out to be a very good geography lesson and I even let them witness, but there is no need to tell the ACLU, besides I am sure the statute of limitations has kicked in my now. Besides it killed a half hour for me in the morning and afternoon classes.
As far as coming into the village and leaving thinking they did a good job, well they did. I equate them to the story about the guy throwing the star fish back into the ocean (if you don’t know that story let me know and I will relate it one to one.)
I have often thought that it was too bad that I as a teacher and was unable keep up the love and enthusiasm to my students and the villagers I came in contact with daily as did the Lutherans did for that week. It would have been great if a Big Ted would have come by my dwelling every day or so just to pump me up. I would have bought the entire three years worth of Star Trek on DVD just for him.