In Undaunted Courage, Stephen Ambrose describes the pivotal day when Meriwether Lewis, William Clark and their tiny band of explorers sent their large keel boat back down the river to St. Louis. The boat had carried all of their supplies, weapons and ammunition. It had served as a secure refuge from attack. Now it was gone and they were headed west, toward the Pacific Ocean, alone.
I love the story of the four men who carry their paralyzed friend to see Jesus and can’t get close because of the crowd. Undeterred, they carry him to the roof and lower him right into the middle of the crowd to the feet of Jesus.
When I think of the people who have had a special impact on my life, who were catalysts in my formation, I think especially of Joseph Sittler. Sittler was professor of theology on the Federated Theological Faculty and at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago. Before I got there, I had never heard of him.
Recently I made my third trip to Rome. My purpose this time was to participate in the Presbyterians’ ongoing conversation with the Vatican on the subject of the papacy—a conversation that grew out of Pope John Paul II’s 1995 encyclical, Ut Unum Sint, which invited Protestants to discuss how the bishop of Rome might exercise his position to serveChristian unity.