The parable of the preacher who made up parables 6

Once upon a time, a blogger made up a parable to illustrate the dangers of pastors who’d rather preach about themselves than Scripture. It went something like this:

One Sunday a popular preacher, finding no good verses to use, told his congregation the parable of the house with the closed doors. It went something like this:

I live in big house where my son puts signs on the doors to my many upstairs rooms forbidding penguins from entering. He sometimes even gets me to help him write the signs, though I don’t always know what he’s putting on the signs.

The moral of the story, according to the preacher, was that his congregation should put “No Doubters and Haters Allowed” signs on the rooms of their spirit and on the rooms of their faith.

The blogger, wanting to make the point that this preacher was training his congregation to scratch their itching ears, had the preacher advocate this strategy as the spiritual discipline of selective hearing. The blogger wanted to just call it itchy hearing, but he thought that would be too obvious.

Stretching credulity a little bit, the blogger also imagined that the preacher took a bunch of verses out of context and ignored other verses that shouldn’t be let into the rooms of faith. For example, the preacher told his congregation that Jesus said they could do all things, though the blogger assumed that his readers would know that Paul said it, and that the all things referred to all tribulations, as in: We can go through all kinds of troubles with the help of Christ who strengthens us.

The pastor in the parable also forgot to quote other verses with the kind of negativity that isn’t allowed in the rooms of faith. He could never refer to passages that refer to our hearts as wicked and deceptive. Thoughts like that must be kept out and have no place in the rooms of a faithful heart.

If this insistence on only listening to nice things God and others have to say about us seems a little childish, the blogger gilded the lily a little bit by imagining that the preacher would brand his parable with a graphic like this:

No Grownups Allowed

No Grownups Allowed

The blogger also tried to add a few layers of meaning into the preacher’s parable, providing the key lesson in the middle of the tale. The pastor, apparently oblivious to what he was preaching, laughed about how his son asked him to make a sign that kept him – the father – out of the rooms.

Selective hearing blocks out the Father.

Yep, that’ll preach.

UPDATE: Steven Furtick really did preach this parable. What are the odds?

6 thoughts on “The parable of the preacher who made up parables

  1. Whozep68 Feb 7, 2013 10:29 am

    I love the point but this post is a little too “meta” for me. I’m lost in the layers. Did someone actually create a parable once and then Furtick preached it or this was done after the fact?

  2. concernedparent Feb 7, 2013 11:26 am

    Speaking of childish, my impression of the preacher/pastor is that he never lost the more self-centered perspective of a child, or perhaps a rebellious teen. The wikipedia entry on narcissistic personality disorder ( and what it says about child development seems relevant. Cognitive dissonance theory also seems relevant in this case (

  3. James Duncan Feb 7, 2013 3:11 pm

    Whozep68, Sorry for the meta-ness. Here’s the decoding key:

    The parable of the rooms and signs is all Furtick’s.

    The wrapper parable about the preacher is mine. What struck me about Furtick’s story was how I could not have crafted it any better myself to make a point about pastors who preach about themselves.

    The “Update” note at the end was intended to point readers to the original source material, even though it was what prompted the whole thing in the first place.

  4. David Strickland Feb 7, 2013 9:15 pm

    Good ol’ Steven Furtick.

    As they say down here in the south: “bless his heart”.

  5. JT Feb 9, 2013 9:15 am

    Did you just watch Inception?

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