In the South, these four words often precede the most events that qualify for Darwin Awards (Google if you don't know about these gems). Things like irritating an alligator by touching your nose to its snout, stripping the old paint off your trailer with the gallons of high octane grain alcohol left over from your bachelor party, or bungee jumping off the roof of your high school with the rope you found in the back of your pick up. Around these parts, not-so-well thought out ideas like this almost always begin with too much beer and too few brain cells. One bad idea, a, "Hey y'all, watch this," and seven minutes later, someone's gravely injured, dead, or a trailer has burned to the ground.
Most clergy I know utter some form of those words, maybe after consuming one chalice too many of consecrated wine or a too-long vestry meeting or just because we, too, are human and have a nice collection of bad thoughts and ideas trolling around our brains. Thoughts and ideas that will lead to no good, a gravely injured priest, and perhaps a church burned to the ground. "Not me," you say? Well, read on.
I think I'll tell the altar guild how it really ought to be done. Clergy suicide statement, if one has ever been uttered. Do not take on the altar guild. Really, don't. Irritating the alligator is a better idea. These ladies were around when Moses and the priesthood of Aaron thought they ran the temple. You will not convince them, charm them, or educate them on how it ought to be done. You will just make them hate you. Let it go, fix it yourself, and live.
No one will notice if I get rid of these old vestments. Somehow, somewhere, the great-great-great grandchild of the person whose neighbor's brother's wife designed and sewed those vestments will find out what you did, hunt you down, and regale you with stories about how the love of each parishioner went into every stitch and lime green and orange chasubles will come back in style, you'll see, and how could you be so heartless. And they'll do it at your home on the night that you and your significant other were just about to get busy.
I think I'll tell the ECW how to run their annual rummage sale. Yeah. They haven't found his body yet.
But in seminary, THIS is how we learned it's supposed to be done.Say this to a parishioner, and you might get away with your wet-behind-the-ears moment. Say this to a seasoned priest, and you might as well know that s/he will talk about you the minute you leave and we'll also make fun of your seminary. First, we've all been stupid enough to think that the way we learned in seminary was the only way. Second, living in the trenches of the church gives you something called experience. And third, the nifty new approach you learned at your last continuing education class also isn't the only way.
Why am I doing this? Don't ask. You won't get a valid answer, and someone will ask you about the old vestments you threw away.