I am privileged to have a close relationship with my son. He has remarked to me on several occasions after reading one of my blogs concerning the kinds of things that get me into trouble with his mother that ours is a common path. Actually, he didn’t actually use the term “common path”, but that was my interpretation of what he said.
At the core of his being, my son is a Texas Aggie. There is something about the senior ring from Texas A&M that defuse any self-awareness of “common”. They are an elite group and they wisely adhere to one of the principles found in: “All I Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten”. Figuratively speaking they intuitively know: “No matter how old you are – when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together”.
Of course, the wisest man who ever lived basically said the same thing: “Two are better than one. They have a good return for their labor.” Actually, the concept goes all the way back to creation. God himself said: “It is better for man not to be alone.
Craig is a people person. I don’t know where he finds the time to be as actively involved in life as he is and maintain the energy to keep on keeping on. The pivotal part of his life centers on his children. He is an amazing dad and there is never a doubt regarding the priority he devotes to his children. Despite his work hours and the daily grind of traffic, he normally catches their games and is always affirming of their strengths.
In addition, he is actively involved in everything. Talk about a guy who needs to read the book: “How To Say No”. Somehow he’s energized by the involvement and he naturally falls into a leadership role in lots of arenas including his church.
Did I mention that he also has a great sense of humor? He knew that it would “rattle my chain” when he sent me the picture of a shirt he thought I needed to get. There was no mistaking the words on the front: “I tried to RETIRE but now I work for MY WIFE.” He thought the shirt was hilarious, but I failed to see the humor. I will at least give him honorable mention for trying.
Yesterday, Craig invited me to join him and his pastor for lunch. In the process, I learned some things about Craig that I probably should have known, but failed to realize. It wasn’t until the waitress walked up to our table at Fajita Willies to take our order that I realized Craig was a regular in the place. The waitress looked at Craig and asked: “Do you want anything besides the enchilada plate?” I guess I had a startled look on my face. She explained: “He always orders the enchilada plate.”
About that time, both Craig and his pastor quickly took out their wallets and retrieved some kind of punch card and handed it to the waitress. They wanted to get credit for having another meal at Fajita Willies. I didn’t ask what was the prize? Who knows, it may have been another basket of chips. Obviously these two guys frequent the place often and they like Mexican food. They also like each other’s company.
I have met Craig’s pastor several times and I’m always impressed with his sense of knowledge and his level of wisdom. He comes across as genuine and authentic. Truthfully, I really like the guy. That’s not true of all preachers.
In the course of conversation, Craig’s pastor shared that historically he has served as interim pastor at several churches. By nature he is a caretaker and he intuitively knows how to facilitate recovery for a church and for a pastor. He made the statement that a “hurting pastor” and a “hurting church” are a great combination for someone beginning a new pastorate. As both move in the direction of meeting the other’s needs, they discover in the process that their own lives are full and enriched.
Actually, that was a new revelation for me. From a social work background, I would have maintained that,“hurt people hurt people.” Perhaps the variable that makes a difference is the desire to meet the other’s needs. I guess the caveat is the hope that moving forward life won’t replicate the disappointment and heartache previously experienced.
“Knock on wood”, I don’t have any personal knowledge of ever being beaten up by a church. The folks where I attend have a lifetime achievement award for being patient and longsuffering. Consequently, some would say that I’m living on easy street and have a bird’s nest on the ground.
One of my closest friends is now serving as interim pastor for First Baptist Church in Dripping Springs. He loves the experience and the congregation loves him. He has been there many more months than he initially was led to believe it would take for the church to find a new pastor, but the process has worked well for both he and them.
Of course, the interim pastor is not at all involved in the selection process for the new pastor. Two things are a given. First of all the interim pastor is someone who absolutely has no interest or desire to serve as the church’s pastor. Secondly, the interim pastor generally has a very full life elsewhere and his involvement as interim is a stretch for him until he can return to his regular routine.
Craig’s pastor, Robby, mentioned yesterday, that only one time as interim pastor has he ever rendered an opinion concerning a church’s selection of a new pastor. Like I said, this guy is a care taker and he doesn’t want to watch the inevitable when he intuitively knows the inevitable isn’t going to work. His wisdom really does exceed his years.
I was a little startled by the two variables Robby intuitively knew were a deal breaker, but who can argue with his logic? He had been serving as interim long enough that he knew the congregation like he knew the back of his hand. “What were they thinking?” had to be the question on his mind.
The chairman of the pulpit committee was probably surprised when Robby said point blank: “This isn’t going to work”. Robby went on to explain his logic. For one thing, the guy they selected was a Yankee and he was going to standout like a sore thumb. Most folks in the congregation had a bias against Yankees whether it was Christ-like or not. Trust me, it wasn’t going to play wellf or the crowd. Secondly, he drove a BMW. Park that thing in a parking lot filled with pickup trucks and see how long it takes for someone to figure out that all is not well in Denmark?
After connecting the dots for the church, the lights came on in their heads and they decided the contrast in lifestyles was not the best formula for a marriage made in heaven.
Needless to say the lunch shared with my son and his pastor gave me much to think about. I even got Robbie’s permission to share his story.
All My Best!