Not for the Churches
● Writing in The Christian Century of April 30, 1958, Simeon Stylites tells of a speech once given by Methodist bishop Francis J. McConnell: “His subject was what would happen if the prophet Amos came up for appointment at a Methodist annual conference. . . . He staged . . . a conference cabinet meeting with the district superintendents. . . . One by one they shed bitter tears, vowing undying admiration for the prophet Amos, and explaining why they could not give him a church in their districts.
● “The superintendent of the North district said in a faltering voice . . . : ‘You all know how I love and admire Brother Amos. . . . But he doesn’t have enough tact for Grace Church. He just blurts out his ideas with no suavity at all, and Grace Church folks need a lot of suavity. They are in a building campaign. If only Brother Amos would raise fewer controversial issues and more money he would get on better. . . . ’
● “Then the superintendent of the West district opened up. ‘I too have loved Brother Amos,’ he said. ‘I have been deeply moved by many of his sermons. I would love to put him at Trinity Church. But he is just not eloquent enough. It has been a great preaching place. . . . Brother Amos is a plain blunt man who speaks straight on. He doesn’t have the literary touch or the oratorical lift the people of Trinity are used to. I’m sorry.”’