Dear Ministerial Superstars and Lesser Lights:

As much as we love evangelical pastors, honesty compels us to admit that their roosts contain a certain number of cocksure bumblers who love to crow. Baptist minister Richard Milham holds a funhouse magnifying mirror up to this fowl breed in a new satirical work, Brother Fred Chicken, Superpastor (Broadman, $1.75). His book may ruffle the feathers of a few cocks of the walk, but it will delight all who have to laugh so they won’t cry over the foibles of some pastors.

Brother Fred Chicken (and it’s always Brother Fred) is long on palaver and short on sensitivity, square in his pietism but a corner-cutter in his personal ethics. When a young man seeks him out one night to learn how he can become a Christian, the Superpastor bombards him with a pamphlet against evolution but overlooks his real need. At a ministerial meeting the next day, Brother Chicken eagerly tries to tell of the midnight dialogue but is repeatedly thwarted. Finally, he closes in prayer: “Bless that young man that called me in the middle of the night and got me out of my warm bed. You know how I sought to.…”

Fred is a man with forceful convictions. He’s a master of dispensational charts for bold eschatological preaching; he campaigns vigorously against tobacco (until an acre of it is planted for him as a love gift); he strenuously opposes dancing at his church’s college. In his witness to a Jewish merchant, the Superpastor implores him to “cling to that cross—that same cross that you and your people murdered our Saviour on,” finally leaves him with the reminder not to forget “my preacher’s discount” on a pair of shoes, and then wonders, “Why is it so hard to reach some people with the good news about our riches ...

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