Pharyngula

All is well!

For everyone writing to me concerned about the status of the stranded Trophy Wife™: she’s fine. She was going to be stuck in a gas station in Hancock, Minnesota for a night, and a local minister stepped up and offered her a place to stay…and when the weather cleared a bit, helped her get back home to Morris. So she has survived the storm, is doing fine, and is even going to work today.

Comments

  1. #1 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 26, 2010

    LOCAL MINISTER!????!

    Think of the quotemining and other nefarious things that will come of this.

  2. #2 Cleon
    January 26, 2010

    Minister? Really?

    Hah. Too funny. :)

  3. #3 Ol'Greg
    January 26, 2010

    Oh this story will be funny in the right hands.

  4. #4 daveau
    January 26, 2010

    What did TW and the minister talk about, I wonder?

  5. #5 Celtic_Evolution
    January 26, 2010

    Before the religiobots come in here and start overtaking the thread regarding the fact that it was a minister that helped PZ’s wife out… just stop it… stop it now.

    Yes, he was a minister, yes it was a good deed. The two are unrelated. It could have been a policeman, or the clerk behind the counter. This was a good man who did a good deed.

    Personally, I’m more impressed that PZ simply stated that the man was a minister, rather matter-of-factly, with no hint of surprise, scorn, or snark of any kind.

    Phil Donohue will probably keel over upon reading that.

  6. #6 PZ Myers
    January 26, 2010

    Apparently, on hearing my wife’s name and town of residence, the minister asked if she knew PZ.

    I’ll have to wait until I get home to learn the details of that conversation, unfortunately.

  7. #7 PaleGreenPants
    January 26, 2010

    Celtic_evolution….seems you’re trying too hard here. There’s no reason to be afraid of a nice guy that believes in God.

  8. #8 Michelle R
    January 26, 2010

    HEEE. Are you serious? He knew you?

    Oh please tell us when you know details if there was anything nice.

    Though of course, the most important part is that the guy was a nice and helpful guy! Great fellow. Kudos to him.

  9. #9 Michelle R
    January 26, 2010

    HEEE. Are you serious? He knew you?

    Oh please tell us when you know details if there was anything nice.

    Though of course, the most important part is that the guy was a nice and helpful guy! Great fellow. Kudos to him.

  10. #10 Legion
    January 26, 2010

    Praise Jeebus. We’ll bet the posters at that web site that was praying for PZ’s conversion have practically gone orgasmic over this bit of news.

    “We’re on a mission from God.”

    – Elwood Blues, The Blues Brothers

  11. #11 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 26, 2010

    Apparently, on hearing my wife’s name and town of residence, the minister asked if she knew PZ.

    This should be good.

  12. #12 ButchKitties
    January 26, 2010

    Hooray for nice people!

  13. #13 Brownian, OM
    January 26, 2010

    “See?” say the accommodationists, “The truth value of religion may be forever beyond the reach of our dirty, dirty secular science, but how can you criticise something that makes people do such good things?”

    Apparently, on hearing my wife’s name and town of residence, the minister asked if she knew PZ.

    So he knew he had the Antichrist’s Trophy Wife™ in his car and he let her get away?

    I trust she’s busy scrubbing the stench of good off of her while soaking in a nice tub of brimstone?

  14. #14 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 26, 2010

    Good to hear everybody is safe and sound. Wasn’t Hancock where PZ was an election judge a while back?

  15. #15 Brownian, OM
    January 26, 2010

    Since this fellow is so helpful, is there any chance you might get him to give SciBorgs’ “IT” folks a hand?

  16. #16 Ray Moscow
    January 26, 2010

    Yay!

    Theists are often good people, too. (I was one for a long time.)

  17. #17 Desert Son, OM
    January 26, 2010

    Glad to hear she’s alright!

    Still learning,

    Robert

  18. #18 wscottjones.wsj
    January 26, 2010

    Glad to hear a minister is actually acting like Jesus tells him to.

  19. #19 Ol'Greg
    January 26, 2010

    I trust she’s busy scrubbing the stench of good off of her while soaking in a nice tub of brimstone?

    Ever since I went to that site I imagine quotes like this without any humor, sarcasm, or irony for just a second. It is quite funny actually.

  20. #20 Celtic_Evolution
    January 26, 2010

    Celtic_evolution….seems you’re trying too hard here. There’s no reason to be afraid of a nice guy that believes in God.

    Was that not my very point?

  21. #21 charley
    January 26, 2010

    a local minister stepped up and offered her a place to stay

    Maybe he’s a closet Pharyngulite, read about TW’s plight here and went to pick her up. That would explain how he knew about PZ.

  22. #22 Qwerty
    January 26, 2010

    There are three churches in Hancock. Two are Lutheran and the other is a Congregationist church. This means that the Trophy Wife probably got stranded with a Lutheran minister who I am sure made no attempt to convert her.

    I am sure, at most, he just shared coffee and doughtnuts instead of Jesus and said, “So, it’s a shame about them Vikings losing there, then?”

  23. #23 PaleGreenPants
    January 26, 2010

    @20, seems you’re going out of your way to recognize something that need to be seen.

  24. #24 PaleGreenPants
    January 26, 2010

    —but it’s no big deal.

  25. #25 mattand08
    January 26, 2010

    Glad she’s okay. It is kind of ironic, although you can make the argument that odds were that whoever stopped to help would have been Christian, just based sheer numbers.

    And no, it wasn’t God’s will. I’m half anticipating and half dreading how the more, shall we say, enthusiastic believers are going to run with this. Must get popcorn now!

  26. #26 mazement
    January 26, 2010

    OK, here are my back-of-the-envelope calculations.

    We can take it as axiomatic that the STW wants to leave the gas station as soon as possible, so she would have accepted a ride from the first non-creepy person who offered one.

    Of the set of non-creepy people who are willing to offer rides to strangers in blizzards, I’d guess that about 1% are ministers.

    So the probability of this happening by random chance is 1%. There’s therefore a 99% chance that it didn’t happen due to random chance.

    My best guess is that the 99% breaks down as follows: 49% chance that it’s due to intervention from some non-divine source (space aliens, CIA, collective subconsciousness). 49% chance for intervention from the deity that the minister follows. 1% chance for intervention from some competing deity.

    QED

  27. #27 Sili
    January 26, 2010

    Oh, they shall know that we are Christians by …

    our kindness to strangers, even when they may be Hellbound atheists.

    Hooray for nice people! indeed!

  28. #28 ultim8fury
    January 26, 2010

    Don’t forget to check for signs if conversion. I believe they leave a mark on the back of the neck. Or maybe that was invaders from mars. Similar outcome though.

  29. #29 Celtic_Evolution
    January 26, 2010

    @20, seems you’re going out of your way to recognize something that need to be seen.

    Been coming here too long to think that’s the case… but hey, maybe you’re right… we’ll certainly see, and I reserve the right to return to your post with a hearty “HAH!”. ;^)

  30. #30 truthspeaker
    January 26, 2010

    Glad to hear it! On the news this morning they said several people had been stranded overnight.

  31. #31 brotheratombombofmoderation
    January 26, 2010

    I wonder if this helpful stranger minister is one of the “closet atheist ministers” that Daniel Dennett is now studying.

  32. #32 PaleGreenPants
    January 26, 2010

    @29

    I hope you’re not right…but I do know the mentality of the horde…so you might be.

  33. #33 alysonmiers
    January 26, 2010

    Apparently, on hearing my wife’s name and town of residence, the minister asked if she knew PZ.

    Oh, dear. I see two major possibilities here: the minister was either

    1. hoping for The Conversion to End All Conversions, which would have meant Jesus Cred Times Infinity,

    OR

    2. interested in biology.

  34. #34 daveau
    January 26, 2010

    Qwerty@22-

    I am sure, at most, he just shared coffee and doughnuts instead of Jesus and said, “So, it’s a shame about them Vikings losing there, then?”

    You hit the nail on the head right there.

    And just about anybody in that part of the county would offer to help someone in that situation. I bet even a godless heathen like PZ would. Maybe even share a bit of BBQ’d baby.

  35. #35 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 26, 2010

    Oh, dear. I see two major possibilities here: the minister was either

    1. hoping for The Conversion to End All Conversions, which would have meant Jesus Cred Times Infinity,

    OR

    2. interested in biology.

    Or just being nice.

  36. #36 Hekuni Cat
    January 26, 2010

    I’m glad to hear the Trophy Wife

  37. #37 Dave
    January 26, 2010

    Glad to hear all is well!

    One of my friends has a theory that having severe winters makes for nicer people, since not helping someone in need in wintertime can be a death sentence in some conditions.

    Here’s hoping that anyone else who was stuck in yesterday’s blizzard managed to get home safely as well.

  38. #38 BdN
    January 26, 2010

    Praise Jeebus. We’ll bet the posters at that web site that was praying for PZ’s conversion have practically gone orgasmic over this bit of news

    Speaking of which : results of the poll are out and PZ won. So they now want to know if he agrees that they pray for him and want to know when to do it (I guess they think they must do it simultaneously or the all-powerful god won’t listen…) :

    http://www.pray4healing.com/2010/01/25/miracle-poll-we-have-a-winner/

  39. #39 destlund
    January 26, 2010

    Thanks Dave,

    I’ll keep that in mind as I head out into the warm sunshine to grab lunch. I’ll do my best to snarl at someone and knock over an old lady.

    Something tells me that human society ought to make for nicer people, since not helping someone in need can be a death sentence. Something tells me that doesn’t necessarily bear out, though.

  40. #40 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawk2Xt_ci2IMcjbRErnvDqx2xkKuOJj7KLU
    January 26, 2010

    First, what are the odds that the minister discovered her plight by reading about it here? (I’m just curious…)

    Second, why does my sign-in get hacked up by the Servers of the Pharyngugods? They don’t like Google signatures?

    Nameless Cynic

  41. #41 PZ Myers
    January 26, 2010

    I think Rev BDC probably has the right answer.

  42. #42 Dusty5150
    January 26, 2010

    Technically, can’t anyone become a “minister”? Hell, I saw Homer Simpson do it once. Ordained ministers perform weddings all the time. I don’t think they have to be associated with any religion.

  43. #43 epicureanparadox
    January 26, 2010

    I agree with Rev. BDC, He was just being nice. However, I cannot wait to hear what the convo was like with the TW and the Minister; wow, does that sound like a sitcom or what?

  44. #44 IaMoL
    January 26, 2010

    I would love to be a fly on the wall when the minister tells his congregation that his simple act of goodwill brought him within a degree of the most notorious atheist in Minnesota. There’s going to be a collective “oooooh” with that revelation and water cooler fodder for weeks.

  45. #45 nigelTheBold
    January 26, 2010

    I think it’s the influence of Ayn Rand that makes us suspicious of other’s behaviors. I think, “Just being nice,” makes perfect sense, and defeats the fucking libertarians all in one fell swoop.

    Or maybe I just think too highly of my fellow man.

  46. #46 Louis
    January 26, 2010

    I think it’s fantastic that there are some helpful, decent, nice people in this world. Good on that minister bloke for helping a Trophy Wife in distress.

    Of course the fact that the chap was a minister is hilarious under the circumstances, but still, good on the bloke!

    Louis

  47. #47 IaMoL
    January 26, 2010

    I have found that most ministers who are not bent on being MegaChurch&trade or TV salesmen for God are very altruistic & helpful – they just attribute it to a higher nonexistent power.

  48. #48 nigelTheBold
    January 26, 2010

    @Dusty,

    Sure. For $25, you can be a minister of the Church of the Subgenius. I highly recommend it.

    Also, in Alaska at least, *anyone* can perform the marriage ceremony. My good friend Wade married my wife & me. I think some other states also allow non-ordained folks to perform the ceremony. I highly recommend a non-conventional ceremony. Wade’s 10-year-old daughter had a speech: “I think it’s good that Tony and Aliesha get married. They are always hanging out together.”

  49. #49 llewelly
    January 26, 2010

    Theists are often good people, too. (I was one for a long time.)

    It’s unfortunate that decent, honest folk get misled.

  50. #50 ralfnausk
    January 26, 2010

    if it would have happened in Iowa, i would have picked Pastor Deacon Fred of the Landover Baptist Church :-)

    Anyway, it’s a good message that everything is ok. Thank [Please insert name of Deity You may believe in here].

  51. #51 Dave
    January 26, 2010

    You’re welcome, Destlund. Sorry to offend by badly paraphrasing a late-night conversation from several years ago. The core of the argument wasn’t that fair-climed people were evil, but that hostile environments might force a higher degree of cooperation – or human society, as you say – than more forgiving ones. In any case, sociology is not my fort, and I fear that even delving this far is getting in over my head. Hope everyone is safe and warm.

  52. #52 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 26, 2010

    Also, in Alaska at least, *anyone* can perform the marriage ceremony. My good friend Wade married my wife & me. I think some other states also allow non-ordained folks to perform the ceremony. I highly recommend a non-conventional ceremony. Wade’s 10-year-old daughter had a speech: “I think it’s good that Tony and Aliesha get married. They are always hanging out together.”

    I’m actually an ordained minister and can perform ceremonies.

    Seriously. That’s where the Rev. comes from.

  53. #53 Electric Monk's Horse
    January 26, 2010

    For 1700 years, Europeans and their descendants have said that all nice people have to become Christians, and if you don’t, it means you’re not a nice person. They even believe that the extra-nice people should become priests or ministers. The majority of people still believe that. We may think that they are foolish for believing that, but it doesn’t mean that the majority of them aren’t nice.

    Good for the minister.

  54. #54 Cardinal Shrew
    January 26, 2010

    Just a thought, maybe you could have the minister and his or her wife over for dinner as thanks at some point? Show them the big mean atheist that was out of town is actually a nice guy too.

    It might even be fun.

  55. #55 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawncr0FDc8gdl7yJBz0SJ15D0etcTIOtL0s
    January 26, 2010

    Thanks, and good on the minister.

    Did she recruit him to volunteer at Camp Quest?

  56. #56 nejishiki
    January 26, 2010

    Good. The minister remembered Matthew 25:34-40 .
    And really, no one should be surprised. Ministers often do things like this.

  57. #57 chgo_liz
    January 26, 2010

    I take it he was a Samaritan minister?

  58. #58 Jeanette Garcia
    January 26, 2010

    Wife home safe, that is good news.
    As for ministers, I don’t know what I would do without my neighbor, who is not only a church pastor, he is a Mac nerd who helps me with all my computer questions. Religion rarely comes up.

  59. #59 Carlie
    January 26, 2010

    Wonderful news! What a nice person.

  60. #60 'Tis Himself, OM
    January 26, 2010

    No Midwesterner would be surprised at the story. The natives often will help a stranger in trouble.

  61. #61 Miki Z
    January 26, 2010

    In California, any adult can become a “deputy Justice of the Peace” for the purpose of performing marriages. The license lasts for a day. When my wife and I got married, this is the route we went.

    I would have been more surprised if the minister didn’t help out. Growing up in Alaska may have influenced this thinking, but anyone stranded in a snowstorm gets help when it can be given.

  62. #62 Blind Squirrel FCD
    January 26, 2010

    No Midwesterner would be surprised at the story. The natives often will help a stranger in trouble.

    In point of fact, it is unthinkable to drive past an automobile stopped on the side of the road in northern Minnesota without checking to see if anyone needs help. I lived up there several years and did that and was done to.

    BS

  63. #63 Caine
    January 27, 2010

    I’m glad TW is safe. The minister, he was being nice and doing what is done ’round these parts. In ND, it’s common for people to stop if you’re pulled over to the side of the road, no matter the weather and see if you’re okay or need help. Everyone helps everyone else in the winter, it’s just what ya do.

  64. #64 jrsutter
    January 27, 2010

    Come on now, I wouldn’t be suprised that the majority of ministers are good people. If the situation was reversed, and I came upon a minister in that situation and I felt safe doing so (and to be honest, the fact they are a minister would make me less hesitant to), I would offer him/her a place to stay for the night.

    I’d snap a picture of a snow-covered pope mobile and move along though.

  65. #65 John Morales
    January 27, 2010

    jrsutter,

    (and to be honest, the fact they are a minister would make me less hesitant to)

    I guess you don’t read Mojoey’s blog, Deep Thoughts.

  66. #66 Killer Bud
    January 27, 2010

    When I read this blog I almost had my morning coffee spewing out on my monitor.:P
    I would like to bring some levity to your wife’s situation though. I got to thinking how popular your blog is, religious people read it too. I would not put it past some religious psycho opportunist to happen to read your blog in that area and seek her out. Example: Dennis Rader aka “BTK” was a serial killer and president of his church. Consider the Scarlet A you strongly defend as also being a big red X, PZ. Posting her circumstances and location here could of had bad consequences. Especially since you have received threats against you for your non-belief.
    I am truly glad that she did not end up in an even worse situation, but call me cynical, I would not put it past someone to read this here and seek her out.

  67. #67 jrsutter
    January 27, 2010

    @65

    I think, outside the catholic church, your chances of encountering a rapist pastor is no greater than with the community at large.

    I was speaking from the standpoint that ministers tend to be community leaders and well respected. While I wouldn’t trust one around my wallet, I think I’d feel safer than with just a general stranger, but this could very well be the result of the undeserved respect given to religion in our nation. So, while I would feel safer its very true I might not be.

    @66

    BTK’s serial killing had nothing to do with religion. I think he was a church leader because he belonged to a church and obviously had a thing about control.

    I will concede one point, the abortion doctor murderer is getting lots of support from the religious right. I expected he would’ve been completely ostracized in public (revered in private), but that is turning out to not be the case.

  68. #68 xunatz
    January 27, 2010

    PZ having mentioned that a minister helped is wife, is a testament that he isn’t a raging Atheist whose incapable of giving credit, where credit is due.

    Had the good Samaritan been an insurance salesman, a web designer or a trucker, I highly doubt PZ would have even mentioned the occupation of the good samaritan.

    It was super nice of the minister, the vast majority of anyone would never put a stranger up in their home and it was a class act from PZ to have mentioned it.

  69. #69 Susan Silberstein
    January 28, 2010

    #28, the mark on the back of the neck happens when one is taken over by a Goa’ould. Snakey, power hungry aliens who try to convince humans that they, the Gs, are gods.

  70. #70 John Morales
    January 28, 2010

    Susan, bah. Goa’uld are derivative — Heinlein wrote much the same in 1951 — cf. The Puppet Masters.

  71. #71 Gordy
    January 28, 2010

    That was very kind of the local minister. A good example to us all.

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