Summer is in full swing in Florida. Heat. Humidity. Afternoon showers followed by even more humidity. it's summer! I have been working as Organizing Pastor for a new church start near Amelia Island, Florida. We recently made the decision that this work will not continue, so I am seeking another call and wondering what's next. In the meantime, I am doing some interim work for a congregation that has just begun to search for a new pastor.
Just finished Greg Garrett's The Other Jesus. Everyone probably ought to read it.
In fiction, couldn't put down Welcome to the Fallen Paradise by Dayne Sherman. Read it in almost one sitting. Good southern stuff.
John S. Kloppenborg's Q The Earliest Gospel. Interesting, especially the connections between Q and James.
Douglas Ottati's Theology for Liberal Presbyterians and Other Endangered Species, which I heartily recommend, even for those who will need help getting past that word in the title. I'm with him: either we believe and trust grace, or we don't!
Martin Thielen's What's the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian? Turned out to be less than I had hoped it would be, but still helpful. Would be fun to do a short term discussion with a group.
Right now, I'm indulging myself (Yes, I know it's Lent.) by reading the first four years of New Stories from the South, a collection of stories I've been reading at Christmas for years. Finally got the first four years I didn't have and and treating myself.
Deanna and I had fun this past weekend. We went back to Elizabethtown, KY, the first place we called home together so that I could perform a wedding for the son of our oldest friends. We've known Jesse since before he was born, and it was a special privilege to be invited to preach for his wedding (a Protestant/Catholic event that will likely generate another post). Deanna and I were teachers when we lived in E-town in the '70's. I taught high school English; she elementary music at St. James School, the school connected to the church where Jesse and Kelly were married on Saturday, so the event gave us plenty of opportunity for strolling down memory lane. The children at St. James who were receiving their first communion on Sunday were the children of the elementary school children Deanna taught to sing way back when. We also saw a few of my former students who have various connections to Jesse and Kelly. Some of them I remembered, and some I had to have some help remembering. I was doing fine when they told me how they remembered hating to read Billy Budd and when they still complained about how hard my tests were. I puffed up a bit when they told me how much they remembered learning when I was their teacher, and how different it had been when their kids went to the same high school. They could have stopped talking then and we'd have been fine. But they went on to talk about having kids in college! My students! Their kids in college. We left E-town in 1980. Intellectually, I know that that's twenty-nine graduating classes ago, but at some other level, I still think of my students as they were when I left them. I was only twenty-one when I started teaching, so my earliest students are nearly as old as I am. I wasn't altogether sure that some of them were going to make it to college, and now they're sending their kids. One of them is assistant principal at an area school. Another one is an investment broker. Another manages a local business. But they have kids in college! Time stands still for none of us, I know, but I was pretty shaken by that one. They were gracious and didn't say much about how much older I am. They were polite and didn't shout, assuming that someone of my advancing years must be hard of hearing by now. It was fun to be back at one of the many places I have called home for a brief visit, but, as much as I love that place, I think I'm glad I don't have to live there and see former students all the time. When they discovered that I live in Florida, they all promised to come and visit. I suspect they won't, but if they do, I hope they hurry before my memory of them is gone forever.