One of the worst feelings that can happen to a writer is the feeling you have nothing left to say. Fortunately that has never happened to me because I have been a gifted prevaricator since childhood.1 As a Baptist Preacher’s Kid (BPK) I learned to polish my prevarication skills as one of the four most important rites of childhood.
The other three rites are answering the invitation to get salvation, baptism, and rededicating your faith once you discover cigarettes, beer, girls, playing doctor with girls, vandalism, first base with girls, second base with girls, dating more than one girl at once, hard liquor and all the other events that constitute the important rites of childhood for other boys. (I can’t answer for girls even though they can be BPKs as well.) The more traditional rites can be experienced but not celebrated or someone will rat out to your minister dad if word gets around.
When you’re BPK, word always gets around to your minister dad. It seems there is someone waiting to rat you out, whether maliciously or inadvertently, and sooner or later that word gets to the deacons who can’t wait to spring it on him during salary negotiations. In case you haven’t guessed, Baptists don’t let moms be ministers because the Bible tells women to keep their mouths shut in church. 2
The bright side of getting busted is that you get to repeat the rededicating your faith ritual more than once and, if you really have connections, multiple declarations of rededication can earn you a second baptism. I had the honor of three.
No, four. I forgot about Patty Kelso from Houston whom I met at church camp. At the end of a service one warm summer evening, the choir sang “Oh, why not tonight?” and she said the same. How could any boy resist an invitation like that?
I intended to keep that fact between me and Patty, but she told a friend who had a friend at my church and a few weeks later I felt compelled to rededicate my faith. This one earned me another baptism because Dad wanted to make sure the deacons couldn’t use it as leverage during the next salary negotiation.
It may seem to readers with no experience as fundamentalists or evangelicals that learning to prevaricate shouldn’t be included with the other three rituals of the BPK childhood. Especially since it breaks one of the ten commandments.
This is because they weren’t raised as fundamentalists or evangelicals. Prevarication isn’t lying if you do it for Jesus. In fact, it is important for BPKs to learn to prevaricate so that their BP dads (BPDs) don’t have meltdowns when they confront BPKs about certain stories they heard from the deacons during salary negotiations and become so angry they jeopardize their immortal souls.
Baptists believe once saved always saved, so technically BPDs couldn’t lose it so badly they jeopardize their souls. But, out of Christian love, their BPKs should do everything possible not to put God to the test.
Besides, BPKs need to learn to prevaricate so they can learn to embellish their sermons when they become BPDs themselves. Once you accept the call from God, not only is it perfectly acceptable to incorporate the stories that once upset your BPD into your own sermons, you have to make your deeds sound even more dastardly to prove how much you needed the grace of God.
Every time you and a buddy snuck a beer from his his dad’s refrigerator will become a drunken binge with the Hell’s Angels while carrying heroin over the border. Every trip to second base with a girl on the debate team became a night spent in a drunken stupor surrounded by hookers in Mexico. The pool game you won from a hustler by clearing the table for the only time in your life and without knowing how you did it becomes a gambling career spent on the run from the Mafia.
So lying is not only Christian, it’s essential to the ministry. And that ministry includes reminding Americans how much they disappointed God by electing Moslem presidents and letting homosexuals marry. I don’t have any such excuse because I am neither minister nor Republican. But, ironically, nothing in today’s post is a prevarication.
I did repurpose this from another blog (if you don’t understand, maybe you should read footnotes). But early Christians repurposed the Gospels four times so I hope you’ll forgive me.