Publication date: May 20, 2013
These volumes of Clergy Tales reveal the roller coaster life that clergy experience in responding to God’s call. Imagine being engaged in research for a sermon for the coming Sunday when you get a phone call from a terrified parent whose child has been in an accident. You rush to the family’s side to offer comfort. There is no answer to the “why” they are asking but you offer presence. Back at the church you talk to the custodian about some complaints regarding the cleanliness of the church and respond to a phone call from a reporter wanting a response to a controversial issue that is affecting the community. No matter how you respond, someone in the church will not be pleased. You leave for lunch with a couple interested in joining the church. As you leave the restaurant, a member calls to tell you of a rumor that some members are upset by what they heard a speaker said at last Sunday’s youth fellowship meeting. You have a budget meeting that evening and you know a very generous contributor has died affecting the financial stability of the church. At 5:30, as you leave the church for a quick bite before the budget meeting, you are stopped by a smiling couple who stopped to tell you that your wise counsel over the last several weeks has helped heal their marriage.
My intention is sharing these tales is to help people, clergy and lay, to recognize that pastors who continually confront events that stir emotions, both good and bad, in both the clergy and lay people are engaged in a profession that is taxing of their physical, emotional, and spiritual health. The critical challenge of ministry is learning how to see the presence of God in the midst of the hopes and fears, generosity and self-centeredness, kindness and cruelty of ordinary humans.
Each volume introduces new tales, fictional but true, of the dynamic character of ministry.