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Archive for June 17th, 2007

I’ve had a perfectly beautiful summer, Marilla, and now I’m rejoicing as a strong man to run a race, as Mr. Allan said last Sunday. Doesn’t Mr. Allan preach magnificent sermons? Mrs. Lynde says he is improving every day and the first thing we know some city church will gobble him up and then we’ll be left and have to turn to and break in another green preacher. But I don’t see the use of meeting trouble halfway, do you, Marilla? I think it would be better just to enjoy Mr. Allan while we have him. If I were a man I think I’d be a minister. They can have such an influence for good, if their theology is sound; and it must be thrilling to preach splendid sermons and stir your hearers’ hearts. Why can’t women be ministers, Marilla?

Old Mr. Bentley, the minister whom Anne had found lacking in imagination, had been pastor of Avonlea for eighteen years. He was a widower when he came, and a widower he remained, despite the fact that gossip regularly married him to this, that, or the other one, every year of his sojourn. In the preceding February he had resigned his charge and departed amid the regrets of his people, most of whom had the affection born of long intercourse for their good old minister in spite of his shortcomings as an orator.

Since then the Avonlea church had enjoyed a variety of religious dissipation in listening to the many and various candidates and “supplies” who came Sunday after Sunday to preach on trial. These stood or fell by the judgment of the fathers and mothers in Israel; but a certain small, red-haired girl who sat meekly in the corner of the old Cuthbert pew also had her opinions about them and discussed the same in full with Matthew, Marilla always declining from principle to criticize ministers in any shape or form.

“I don’t think Mr. Smith would have done, Matthew” was Anne’s final summing up. “Mrs. Lynde says his delivery was so poor, but I think his worst fault was just like Mr. Bentley’s–he had no imagination. And Mr. Terry had too much; he let it run away with him just as I did mine in the matter of the Haunted Wood. Besides, Mrs. Lynde says his theology wasn’t sound. Mr. Gresham was a very good man and a very religious man, but he told too many funny stories and made the people laugh in church; he was undignified, and you must have some dignity about a minister, mustn’t you, Matthew? I thought Mr. Marshall was decidedly attractive; but Mrs. Lynde says he isn’t married, or even engaged, because she made special inquiries about him, and she says it would never do to have a young unmarried minister in Avonlea, because he might marry in the congregation and that would make trouble. Mrs. Lynde is a very farseeing woman, isn’t she, Matthew? I’m very glad they’ve called Mr. Allan. I liked him because his sermon was interesting and he prayed as if he meant it and not just as if he did it because he was in the habit of it. Mrs. Lynde says he isn’t perfect, but she says she supposes we couldn’t expect a perfect minister for seven hundred and fifty dollars a year, and anyhow his theology is sound because she questioned him thoroughly on all the points of doctrine. And she knows his wife’s people and they are most respectable and the women are all good housekeepers. Mrs. Lynde says that sound doctrine in the man and good housekeeping in the woman make an ideal combination for a minister’s family.”

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“I sat just as still as I could and the text was Revelations, third chapter, second and third verses. It was a very long text. If I was a minister I’d pick the short, snappy ones. The sermon was awfully long, too. I suppose the minister had to match it to the text. I didn’t think he was a bit interesting. The trouble with him seems to be that he hasn’t enough imagination. I didn’t listen to him very much. I just let my thoughts run and I thought of the most surprising things.”

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