In conversation with… Darryl Dash

Another day, another interview. I don’t know about you but I am enjoying posting there. Today we corner fellow pastor and blogger Darryl Dash. Darryl is pastor of Richview Baptist Church, blogger-in-chief of DashHouse and The Dying Church, fair weather Maple Leafs fan (for the Canadians out there, we know that is redundent), and is working on his D.Min at Gordon-Cromwell Seminary in Boston. We decided we had better interview him before we have to call him Dr. Dash. He is married to Charlene (another blogger) and they have two kids.

Age and occupation. How long have you lived here, where did you come from, and where do you live now?

I’m 36, and pastor of Richview Baptist Church in Toronto. I’ve lived in Toronto for 16 years, most of that in the west end of Toronto (which is also the best end). Before that, I lived in Brampton, a suburb of T.O.

What’s the best part about being a pastor? What’s the worst?

The best part about being a pastor is seeing a group of people change over time. I get to witness some pretty cool changes in people. It’s exciting to see this on a macro level: to sense that the ethos or feel of the group is changing over time. When I see that, it makes my day. The worst part of being a pastor is also easy: meetings. I hate meetings, especially stupid ones. I go to far too many of them.

Every pastor talks about the best sermon they have ever preached but if there is a best, there has to be the worst. What was your worst sermon you ever preached?

I’ve preached a lot of mediocre sermons, but two stand out as the worst. One was about ten years ago. I was coasting on talent and not spending a lot of time in preparation. One day it caught up to me, and my sermon was just brutal. When a sermon’s bad, you feel naked. You know it’s bad, and everyone there knows it’s bad. You want to crawl under a rock and hide.

The other really bad sermon was just a few weeks ago. I just got back from my D.Min. course on preaching in Boston and I guess I was trying too hard. I have a friend who likes even my bad sermons, but not even he liked my sermon that day. I knew I was in trouble. [editor: I have been in the same place]

You are doing your D.Min in Boston. Which is a cooler city, Toronto or Boston?

Boston has two things going for it that Toronto doesn’t have: the ocean, and tons more history. It also has cool architecture and a good arts community. Toronto, though, has the better hockey team, which almost balances it out. I’d love to live in Boston. I’d have clam chowder every day.

Best book you have read in the last year? What made it so good?

Probably “The Present Future” by Reggie McNeal. McNeal is a Southern Baptist denominational leader, yet says things like “A growing number of people are leaving the institutional church for a new reason. They are not leaving because they have lost faith. They are leaving the church to preserve their faith.” There are better books, but I like this one because Reggie is in my world. He’s a critic of the church, but (like me) he’s neck deep in it.

Close runner up is “Bird by Bird” by Ann Lamott. Everything Lamott writes is good, but this book makes you feel like you can write and that it matters.

Monday night at 9:00 p.m., where can we find you and what might you be doing?

Probably chasing my kids to bed. Either that or falling asleep watching a DVD or reading a good book.

What’s your favorite computer gadget of all time?

I’ve never met a gadget I didn’t like. Right now I’m really enjoying my Dell Digital Jukebox: not quite as cool as an iPod but a lot cheaper. It’s got every CD I own on it.

If you could experience any moment in church history, what you choose?

My Dad lives in southeast England. One day we were driving around and, literally in the middle of a farmer’s field, we came across a marker on the spot where Augustine (not the big Augustine, the other one) preached to Ethelbert (cool name!), Anglo-Saxon King of Kent in 597 AD. Evidently things worked out, Ethelbert was baptized, and Augustine became the first archbishop of Canterbury. I would have loved to witness that sermon. Augustine was so scared of the savage islanders that he begged the Pope not to go. I imagine he was pretty scared that day.