The best gift I ever received was something I never wanted. A few days before I finished my 12th and final year as pastor of a church I loved deeply, the congregation’s lay leader shuffled into my office. Nobody had bothered to vote James Alexander in as lay leader; he just was the leader of the laity, the godfather of a sprawling church family united largely by their love for this giant of a man. James was 89, but he seemed as if he had centuries on him. Wise, solid, very southern, with a gravelly voice and surprisingly undiminished physical vigor, he wore overalls in a pretty dressy community.