Judy preached a sermon in which she told a story about herself, a lovely narrative that helped us connect with her on a personal level and supported the scripture lesson well. Judy was known for her preaching, and the church had grown steadily since the day she stepped in the pulpit.
I was working with a group on racial reconciliation, and I felt frustrated. I mostly listened, but then every time I spoke, the words coming out of my mouth were all wrong. And I’m a type-A, liberal, PC, white woman. I don’t like to be wrong. I like to “get it” and secretly roll my eyes at other wrong people.
I’m not sure why the pastorate produces so much anxiety. I suppose you have the performative aspects of it. After so many years, I still toss and turn until my sheets twist into a jumbled mess the night before a sermon or lecture. My mind preaches all night, figuring out how to say it better. I never seem to get to that point of deep sleep.
I hear a fearful refrain coming from church leaders, from every denominational level. They twist their fingers into knots as they say: If we don’t have our endowment, we will die. It’s our job to protect the endowment for future generations. Our future depends on a healthy endowment.
I began hearing the question in seminary. It became louder as I started writing. “Who will be the next Reinhold Niebuhr?” In 1948, Niebuhr was on the cover of Time Magazine. He commented on politics, and since his death in 1971, his voice has been missing from popular discourse.
To keep the evangelical belief system intact, a person needs to be a part of the subculture. You need to be surrounded by like-minded people who can look past scientific realities, uphold a separate role for women, and give unquestioned support to the GOP.
I would love to rant about Donald Trump. The whole GOP is like a fiery car crash right now—everything stops so we can gawk at the latest collision. We feel horrible for those involved, and a little terrified about how it all affects us.
Increasingly, people ask me, “How do you do what you do?” They want to know how to become a writer, speaker, or consultant. I wouldn’t be a speaker or a consultant if I didn’t write a book, so I’ll start with how to write a book.