Good Shepherds Wanted

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Image by Quang Nguyen vinh from Pixabay

Kevin Watson’s list of hoped for characteristics of the future pastor of his children is pretty dang good. Say the last three words of the previous sentence aloud with a twang (“purty dang gud”), and you’ll hear them as I intended you to, the way those words are meant to be spoken–every time.

The Reverend Doctor Watson names confidence in the good news message, an experience of justification and the new birth (I like it!), an ease in offering testimony, a commitment to Jesus as the only source of salvation, humility, Christian orthodoxy, a theology of discipleship, fervency in prayerfulness, “more than average” self-awareness and self-knowledge” (funny!), openness about failure and familiarity with repentance, wisdom regarding Christianity’s relationship with culture (which can be, at times, oppositional), bold, both familiar with and honest about suffering, a theological education yielding simple, plainly spoken convictions born of wrestling with complex truth claims (beautifully described as “simplicity on the far side of complexity”), skilled in fighting fair and unafraid of “healthy conflict,” winsome,  and concerned for the lost.

Watson adds that he hopes his children have a pastor who proclaims forgiveness from past sins and freedom from sin “in this life now.” That’s a Wesleyan distinctive, one I admire.

Beggars can’t be chosers, but while we’re making lists and dreaming about what could be, those closest to me might know that I would like the pastor of my children to be a lover of literature of all kinds, the outdoors, knock-knock jokes, action movies, science fiction, Patty Mills, camping, Elvis Presley, Chuck Norris, hot sauce, Hot Sauce, golden retrievers, LEGOs, the original Star Wars trilogy, PEZ, hand-written letters, hiking, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Detective Comics, Luka Doncic, Taco Tuesday, road trips, cold weather, good puns, old pick-up trucks, youth soccer, the X-Men, Kansas City BBQ, Battlestar Galactica, Jean Luc Picard, a well executed cannon-ball, building fires, kettlebells, and professional wrestling.

But if it were one list or the other, Kevin’s would be better for my kids. They’re already getting enough of the stuff on my list.

I’m praying for a both/and rather than an either/or here.

May it be so!