A Poet's View of Synod 2010
June 23, 2010
Updated July 10, 2018
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Ministry Associate Rod Hugen had Synod 2010 delegates in stitches when he read his poem. It was performed at the dinner honoring Calvin College and Seminary retirees including Henry DeMoor.
With Rod's permission, here's the full text for your reading pleasure. To get the full effect of Rod performing it, you'll need to imagine a guy about 9 feet tall with a deep, deep voice and a perfect sense of comedic timing.
by Rodney J. Hugen
He became a first term elder
and off to Classis was sent.
Nervous, he sat in the corner,
a decision he’d later repent.
The speeches were all long and boring.
Points of order debated, then made.
And after lasagna and bread sticks,
mind and body were beginning to fade.
The time came for choosing some people
to fly to Chicago in June,
While the rookie dozed in the back pew
his name was brought up very soon.
The chairperson looked back to the corner;
asked our elder, “Are you able to go?”
And while he was peacefully nodding,
the chair thanked him for not saying no.
Someone moved that they close nominations,
she received a chorus of “ayes.”
The slate was approved with no problem,
our elder was left high and dry.
He knew not just what had happened,
till his pastor explained how it went,
the poor man began tearfully begging
that someone else should be sent.
The clerk of the Classis assured him
that things had been properly done,
He was honored to be delegated,
besides, it would be loads of fun!
Folks shook his hand and told him
they were glad he was willing to function,
and since he’d have to confess he’d been sleeping,
there could be no remorseful compunction.
In his shame he filled out the papers,
went home to explain to his wife.
She was mad that he’d waste their vacation,
and her look could cut like a knife.
He received lots of e-mails and letters,
from some lady whose name was Dee Recker.
Then one day she sent him a package
they almost hauled in with a wrecker.
It was called the Agenda of Synod,
a book like has never been seen,
with page after page of reporting,
and a weight that would rupture your spleen.
West Michigan used to have forests,
is it true that they’ve all been cut down?
Is the deforestation so awful
that now we must meet in Chi-town?
He was told he must read this agenda,
War and Peace would have taken less time.
They should find all its writers and fine them
ten dollars a page for their crime.
If we did this we’d balance our budget,
we’d have enough money to spend,
the mission of God would go forward,
we could give Jerry a nice dividend.
He read reports on abuse and migration,
church order and subscription reform.
Though there were several appeals, he found nothing
on what he thought would create quite a storm.
As he kissed his wife “bye,” he thought of it,
he fretted the whole time he held her,
for George Vander Weit, once a pastor,
was now coming back as an elder.
“How could this be,” was his question,
“Was Classis Lake Erie in sin?”
They had once put old George out to pasture.
so why bring him back once again?
His words had filled ten agendas
back when he’d served as a pastor,
so, now, coming back as an elder,
could only end up in disaster.
Our elder left home for Chicago.
The wheels on his suitcase bent low.
The weight cost him fifty bucks extra,
airline thought he was rolling in dough.
A shuttle drove him off to the campus
and there he unloaded his stuff.
The nice folks at Trinity College
were gracious and helpful enough.
Some lady gave him a room key
and told him that he was in “South”.
It was the one dorm not air conditioned
so our elder was down in the mouth.
He knew not why he was punished,
he knew not how he had sinned.
Then, when he saw that old bunk bed,
his mind just could not comprehend.
You can bet that President Timmermans
has never slept in those dorms.
If he did he’d convene a committee
to institute major reforms.
The beds would be long and inviting,
perhaps there might be a big screen.
Though you’d have to admit that he did a fine job,
when he put in that ice cream machine.
The food at this college was stellar.
There was wonderful, top notch cuisine.
You could eat as much as you wanted,
Have I mentioned that ice cream machine?
So thank you a lot Dr. Timmermans
for being a wonderful host.
And to all of you Trinity people,
we’d sure like to raise up a toast!
Our elder, assigned to committee,
heard the delegates fight and debate.
They all seemed to make lots of good points;
he thought that both sides sounded great.
But the chairperson and the reporter
said, “You must all make your final decisions!”
Then, of course, they met several more times
to approve the countless revisions.
At last, Synod met in the chapel
where they all sat shoulder to shoulder.
Nice folks around tried to help him
find the papers he’d lost in his folder.
All his thoughts, as he’d read the agenda,
on the floor of Synod were shaken,
‘cause by the time he had finally caught up,
the vote had already been taken.
He heard amendments and motions,
That sometimes the chair disallowed.
He heard the executive director
confess that he’d been awfully proud.
He heard that the state of the church
should cause CRC folks to smile,
but though we have made some good progress,
we can’t say that we’ve gone the whole mile.
They approved Dr. Jul Medenblik
to run the church seminary.
The man had once been a lawyer
so that made folks just a little bit wary.
He once left the practice of law
for the lucrative field of church planting,
so he may not be as smart as we think,
nonetheless he was wonderfully enchanting.
Way back at the synod of Dordtrecht,
Henry De Moor was just a young child,
there he fell in love with church order
and ever since he’s gone wild.
God’s grace is our church’s great doctrine.
It’s bestowed on lawyers and fools.
So why, when God’s law is fulfilled,
would you became an expert at rules?
But Dr. De Moor is a rule guy.
“Point of Order” is his favorite phrase.
He’ll stand up and wave his church order,
and wipe away all the haze.
But now he’s so old, he’s retiring.
will we find some adjudicator?
Will there be some other professor
who can squelch a longwinded debater?
The truth is, we all have loved Henry.
He is prudent, gentle, and sweet.
When you don’t know what you’re doing,
a call to him can’t be beat.
He gives good advice and wise counsel;
he has saved us from all kinds of shame.
He has truly been God’s faithful servant,
and for him God’s blessings we claim.
The Cubs have not won a pennant
since Henry De Moor wore a diaper.
The White Sox also are losers,
so what made Chicago so hyper?
After forty-nine years of despairing,
in a city that everyone mocks,
even Canadians are cheering
the Stanley Cup winning Black Hawks.
Our elder heard after meetings
the Canadians held Bible studies.
He thought them all pretty righteous,
as they walked away with their buddies.
He noticed they all seemed much happier
when they finally returned to the school.
He wished that he’d been invited
to something so virtuous and cool.
In the end, our first time elder
enjoyed the church gathered together.
He discovered the beauty that happens
when we are not all of the same feather.
He took joy in the mission and work
that we do together in love,
and as he returned on the airplane,
he gave thanks to our great God above.
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Sigh, I probably should have flagged this as inappropriate. :)
For the record, I am not nine feet tall. I'm only 6'8" which I have always believed is a normal height, though I have noticed that there are an enormous number of people who are well below average. This 'poem' was intended to be deadly serious and I am stunned that it produced any laughter at all at the Synod banquet. It was quite painful to be laughed at when one is trying to offer their best work and then find out that I also get mis-described by the communications folks of the CRC. It is beyond comprehension. I imagine this will give me something to process with my counselor in the days ahead...
Rod, may our good Lord multiply your kind! Thanks for your seriously creative piece for such a great work to honor the best of God's servants in our midst. Upon reading your poem, am sure your counselor will give you a hefty discount!
Thanks and best wishes from a fellow ministry associate half your size,
Aaah...new photographic evidence just in from an anonymous source. See, he's up in the rafters and way taller than that wall in the back.
This, of course, was taken just as he warmed up. By the end, all the delegates were ROTFL (rolling on the floor laughing). Well, pretty close.
Wish I could have been there!
On another note: Prof De Moor is retiring? This can only spell anarchy and chaos in the CRC... It's the end of the world as we know it!
I second the motion and call for the question. Choking back the tears. Thank you Rod! :-)
I'm sure the picture was photo shopped. The CRC media folks have all kinds of tricks up their sleeves. Who could possibly be that tall? I do wish that the photo shoppers would have removed some of those pounds that the camera, umm, added...
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