Dear Mr. Paul (a.k.a. “The Aged” or “The Apostle”),
We recently received your application for service under the direction of our Missions Board. As with all applicants, it is our policy to be as frank and open-minded as possible. We have made an exhaustive study of your case, and at the risk of offense, are surprised you have been able to serve anywhere as a bona fide missionary.
We note that you engage in part-time secular work to support yourself and your missions work. In a letter to the Church at Phillipi, you admit they were the only church supporting you…and we are forced to ask “Why?”
Is it true that you have a police record? It has been reported that you did two years at Caesarea, were imprisoned at Rome and arrested and incarcerated on numerous occasions. Furthermore, you caused so much trouble for businessmen at Ephesus, they refer to you as “the man who turned the world upside down.” Sensationalism has no place in missions. Our Missions Board is appalled at your apparent lack of conciliatory behavior. We denounce your “showy” over-the-wall episode at Damascus as well.
Men of diplomacy are not stoned and dragged out of the city gate nor assaulted by furious mobs. It is our experience that gentle words gain more adherents. Enclosed please find a copy of the new ministerial best-seller by Dalus Carnegious – “How to Win Jews and Influence Greeks.”.
In another of your letters, you refer to yourself as “Paul the Aged.” Our missionary society seeks younger candidates. We understand that you are given to visions and dreams. At Troas, you reportedly saw “a Man of Macedonia” – and on another occasion were “caught up into the third heaven.” More realistic and practical individuals are needed for the task of world evangelism.
We now have in our possession a number of letters, signed by you, written to churches you have formerly pastored. This practice is considered unethical. In one letter, you accuse a parishioner of incest and caused the poor man to be excommunicated. In accordance with current state and federal law, you must have proof before making such accusations – lest you – and your denomination – be liable for lawsuits.
You recently wrote to a young man you have mentored that you have “fought a good fight”. Fighting is not tolerated on the Mission Field. No fight can be a “good” fight. Remember that Jesus Himself said He came “not to bring a sword – but peace.”
In addition, your sermons are far too long for the era in which we live. At one church you spoke until midnight and a youth became so tired he fell out of the window. Our advice is to gravitate to the length of sermons people most enjoy: short and sweet.
Concerning your physical condition, Dr. Luke’s report lists you as thin, frail, and frequently sick, with festering lacerations all over your back. Your over-concern for your churches robs you of needed sleep. Praying half the night will not help. A healthy mind and a robust body is the standard for our applicants. A good night’s rest may help you to develop a more positive attitude. In addition, we understand you are afflicted with a severe eye disorder, causing you to “write with large letters”. As we require all candidates to be computer-literate, this would be a serious impediment to effective ministry.
In conclusion, we feel your ministry has been far too diversified to be classified as “successful.” First you served in Asia Minor, then Macedonia, then Greece, then Italy – now we find you are considering Spain. You must bear in mind that you are just one individual and cannot win the whole world by yourself. This sounds to us like a martyr complex.
The combined expertise of our Missions Board concludes that you have few, if any, of the characteristics we demand in our applicants. If you were to be considered for our denomination’s foreign program, it would violate every rule of modern missionary methods and practice.
We are sorry to be the ones to tell you this, Mr. Paul, but you’d be better off to stick to tent-making and forget the mission field.
Rev. Julius Half-Baked