John Fletcher is a Local Licensed Pastor; he currently serves Bandera United Methodist Church in Bandera, TX as the Associate Pastor. He has been married to Gloria for eleven years and they share the joy of raising three children: Brittani, Ahslei and Nathan. He is what is called, among other things, a B.O.I. (Born on the Island); the island being Galveston, TX. His family moved to Bandera from the Valley after living there for nine years. Currently, he is finishing undergraduate work at the University of Texas at San Antonio, and plans to attend Perkins School of Theology in Dallas in the Fall of 2008. He’s enjoys the calling of ministry, the people he gets to meet, and he feels rather awkward about writing a small introduction about himself.
Why do you blog?
At first it was for the fame and glory. My agent says we’re almost there, and that I just have to wait a little longer for that part of the deal. I really enjoy having a reason to write down some of what’s going on in my little brain.
What has been your best blogging experience?
There have been many times church members or others have read something on the blog and given feedback or comments. That’s what is important to me and why I really wanted to have a blog in the first place—probably the real answer to #1. Get it, The Blog That Ties
What would be your main advice to a novice blogger?
I think I still do this from time to time, but most people don’t want to know everything about your daily schedule. If they do you may want to consider a restraining order. Provide information, ideas, considerations, or angry outbursts that people will appreciate, be able to connect with or take away something from. If you decided to let me know that you asked the waiter to hold the onions there should be some significance to that. Give us something to think about.
If you only had time to read three blogs a day, what would they be?
The Methoblog (for the Methodist/spiritual discussions),
Neatorama (for some downtime)
Locusts N Honey (for a little bit of both)
Who are your spiritual heroes?
Unfortunately, I don’t have any in-law horror stories; that’s almost a pity because I know some really good in-law jokes. The truth is I’ve often wondered if my in-laws favored me a little more than their own. My father-in-law is a retired Methodist minister; he’ll be 92 this year! You will still find him reading his Bible, and has always told be there is something new to be learned from it. My mother-in-law was my pastor for a few years. She was my introduction into ministry. Between them both, I was blessed with a balance of wisdom and passion for ministry.
My father and I have been able to establish a relationship that goes way beyond my expectations. Over the last several years, whether he knew it, or not, he has taught me a quite a bit. His demonstration of faith in losing a son still speaks volumes to me and guides me. Finally, there’s an “old bird” from NY that really took me to another level spiritually. I admire his ideals and perspectives on ministry. He probably wouldn’t want me to give him his props, or even mention his name, so I won’t. Just don’t follow this link because its got his name.
What are you reading at the moment?
Textbooks! In between I just finished a book entitled Story: Recapture the Mystery. It isn’t a profound work, but there is some pretty good sermon material in there. For example:
“Frankly, I’m tired of hearing about conferences, seminars, books and DVDs that will change my life. ‘This (fill in the blank) will change your life! Attend this life-changing (fill in the blank) and you’ll never be the same again! It’ll be life changing!’
On the back of one Christian book I recently picked up were three separate quotes by Christian celebrities, all of which promised, ‘This book will change your life!’
A hernia will change your life. Swallowing two pounds of Ex-Lax will change your life. Getting bitten by a rabid dog will change your life. So will going bankrupt, joining a cult, or getting a tapeworm. All of these things are very life changing.
Change is not always a good thing. What I need isn’t change from one thing to another but transformation from who I am into who I was meant to become.”
And one of my readings for class is Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. I’m looking forward to getting to that.
What is your favorite hymn and why?
Without question—Sprit Song. If you ever had a chance to hear Mrs. Alewine sing the Spirit Song you would not have to ask. The first time I heard that song I was still not into the faith stuff, and I didn’t really understand all the implications of what that song wanted me to do. I can look back and say though that was my first experience with a “strangely warm” feeling. It was not too long after that I confessed Christ as my Lord.
Can you name a major moral, political, or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind?
My first two children have not been baptized. There was a time when I believed it wasn’t appropriate for them to be baptized because they didn’t fully understand what it meant. That presumption, by default, assumed I really had some clue what it really meant when I was baptized. I look forward to the day when we celebrate their baptism.
What philosophical thesis do you think is most important to combat?
Me. No, really. The philosophy of me is very disturbing to…um...the person that is writing this. I believe meism has the ability to break every ounce of integrity of the church and its work. Not to mention the fact that it goes against the ministry Christ gave to us.
If you could effect one major change in the governing of your country, what would it be?
This may not concern, necessarily, the governing of our country, but I wish politicians would quit playing games. For example, the idea of having a political strategist doesn’t make sense to me. The process of winning elections in our nation bugs the Air Freshener out of me. I, for one, do not treat my country’s future like an episode of American Idol.
If you could effect one major policy change in the United Methodist Church, what would it be?
I don’t know if I know enough about our policies to say I want to change them.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life?
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways…” That advice changed my life.
What, if anything, do you worry about?
I’m a simple person. That simplicity has shown me that God is good and that “all things” do work for good. Much to my wife’s frustration at times, I don’t tend to worry. My personal fear, however, is that one day I will become a pastor who has been “doing this for years” and will begin to just go through the motions. You guys can throw week old salsa at me if I do.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything that you'd do differently?
Faith would be a factor in my life. I didn’t grow up in the church. In fact, I really thought a lot of it was garbage—although I do vividly remember using a Gideon Bible to impersonate a television preacher as a young kid. Hey, three piece suits are nice. But I would ensure an emphasis on faith. However, God has done a great work this far in my life.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do now)?
Oz—I like the color green and high ceilings. Of course a beach front view is pretty nice, too.
What do you like doing in your spare time?
I like to let my kids beat me in wrestling on occasion; the rest of the time I whoop ‘em up. Spending time with my family is a joy. Also, though my skills are limited, I enjoy graphical design, web mastering, piano, guitar and playing percussion. Football season is the most wonderful time of the year. I like to let the youth beat me playing video games on occasion. The rest of the time they whoop me up.
What is your most treasured possession?
My bookshelves in the office have a bunch of miscellaneous items on their tops. These items are gifts and things members, friends and family have given me over the last several years. Most of these items probably wouldn’t mean much to anyone else. But they are a time when someone thought of me, and most of them have some kind of story behind them. That means a lot.
What talent would you most like to have?
I’m convinced that if I had had the ability to sing while I was growing up I wouldn’t be in ministry today. Not having a singing voice was the one thing that kept me from thinking I was ALL that. Now that I have a better understanding of my little place in this world (and the next) I wish my singing wouldn’t remind people of a package left at the front of a building—something to run away from, handled only by professionals willing to give their lives in service and likely to be a tragedy.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner, who would they be?
Well, seeing as how Jesus has already invited me to His dinner, I would invite the other John Fletcher (Wesley’s friend), the Apostle Paul and Martin Luther King, Jr. Oh, and I would ask Dom DeLuise to cook for us.
That’s all folks. I hope the content was worth your price of admission. Stay blessed…john