Remember Gomer Pyle, the hapless and saintly TV marine? His philosophical lexicon was limited, but it included two all-purpose expressions: Surprise, surprise, surprise! and Shame, shame, shame! The first of these expressions, along with Golly! and Shazam! expressed Gomer’s childlike sense of wonder.
Like long-distance swimmers, those of us who count our Sundays by the rhythm of the lectionary need to occasionally pop our heads out of the water and get our bearings. We know the month, the day and the liturgical date. We may also know where we are in our congregational programming, especially with regard to the season of harvest and stewardship. But where are we textually?
It's one thing to profess; another to do. Christians put a lot of
emphasis on professing—belief, repentance—but we also know that without
doing, those words are just so much hot air. Still, how do you know how
to be what you believe? Paul says, "Work out your own salvation with
fear and trembling.” This suggests to me that Paul didn't have an easy
Is leadership, specifically pastoral leadership, a spiritual practice? Dorothy Bass has defined practices as “those shared activities that address fundamental human needs and that, woven together, form a way of life.” Does leadership address a fundamental human need?
A missionary friend was scheduled to speak about his mission work at a distant church. He got up before daybreak that Sunday morning and drove 300 miles, preached at two services and spent the afternoon speaking with members of the congregation. As he was leaving that evening, the treasurer of the church gave him an envelope, which he tucked in his pocket for the ride home. It was very late when he returned home. As he undressed, he remembered the envelope. He turned on the light in the bathroom and opened it. Out fell a check with his name written on it in bold letters. Under his name were the words: A million thanks! It was signed by the treasurer.