It is a bit self-serving to share positive things that have been written about us, but hey, this is my blog, so I can put what I want here.
From time to time, I have saved unsolicited compliments. Two that come to mind and will be included (if I can find them) came from youth who gave me a difficult time when I was their pastor and their sense of regret, while real, was larger than they needed to make them.
Youth #1 from St. James UMC, Danville, Illinois (female) “I showed very little respect for you and what you had to say. I was a thoughtless child who cared nothing about anyone except myself…” (then she shared about her spiritual growth through camping experiences.)
Youth #2 from the UMC of Sitka, Alaska (male) He had moved away and was reflecting on his life experiences: “I wouldn’t feel comfortable talking to any of the Methodist pastors down here. That is why I’m writing to you. You were never an unapproachble pastor, but more of a friend. I really wish I had come to church to listen instead of screw around with (unnamed here) in the back.” Story by me: One Sunday this youth and the unnamed one were sitting in the back row, talking vigorously while I was preaching. I just stopped and looked at them. Eventually they realized what I was doing and they stopped. I don’t remember if I said anything, like “may I continue?” but few knew what was going on. It did “cure” them for awhile.
Here are some comments that give me more credit than I deserve, but then I didn’t write them.
Sitka Layperson whose family gave me my greatest contact with humpback whales in Sitka Sound. Up close and personal. He turned off his boat motor and we sat in the midst of several whales for several minutes. Awesome.
Dated: August 1, 2002 from Ray, Aporn, Richard and Robert Stein (Seven years after I was their pastor.)
“You are one of the straightest and most decent people I’ve ever met and you’ve had a measurable impact on my life, speech, demeanor to students and family, personal attitudes and more. We all send our very best regards to you and Barbara.”