Sometimes humor conveys heavy truths in a gentle way. Consider this tongue-in-cheek example of a letter from a modern mission board to St. Paul:
We recently considered a recommendation that you serve under our mission board. We have completed an extensive background check on your ministry. You will find it enclosed in the spiral binding.
To be frank, we wonder how you were able to pass as a bona-fide missionary. We require 20-20 vision.
We note also that you are making tents on the side and that the congregation at Philippi is currently the only one sending you financial support. We wonder why.
Is it true that you have a prison record? Certain brethren report that you did two years at Caesarea and were imprisoned at Rome.
You made so much trouble for the business men at Ephesus that they refer to you as “the man who turned the world upside-down.” Sensationalism has no place in missions. We also deplore your “over-the-wall-in-a-basket” episode at Damascus.
We are appalled at your obvious lack of conciliatory behavior. Diplomatic men are not stoned, or dragged out of the city gate, or assaulted by angry mobs. Have you ever suspected that gentler words might gain you more friends? I enclose a copy of Dalius Carnegius’ book, “How To Win Jews And Influence Greeks.”
In one of your letters you refer to yourself as “Paul, the aged.” Our pension plan is hard pressed already.
We hear also that you recently dropped everything to run off on a wild goose chase into Europe because some “man of Macedonia” asked you to come over and help them. We are inclined to think that more practical minds are needed in the world mission field.
In a recent sermon you said: “God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of Christ Jesus.” It seems to us you ought also to glory in our heritage, in the latest church growth programs and in our cutting-edge consultants.
Your sermons are too long. At one place you rambled on till a sleepy guy named Eutychus fell out the window and broke his neck. Nobody is saved after the first 20 minutes. “Stand up, speak up and shut up!” is our advice.
It pains me to tell you this, brother Paul, but in all my 25 years on the board, I have never met a man so opposite our requirements and so unqualified to be a missionary.