I once worked in a place where the director hired a man named James to take over a successful program in the company. James came in like gangbusters. He had new ideas, and energy, and a strong desire to share what he believed with others. In addition to thoughts on his own projects, some of what James said implied dissatisfaction with programs that others led.
I was walking past a schoolyard yesterday and the kids were hanging out waiting for the bell to ring to start the school day. As kids will, some little third grader was taunting another one. She said, “Why should I listen to you? You’re just a dork.”
One of the earliest pictures my brother took was of me back in 1955, a half century ago, dressed in my Hopalong Cassidy outfit with hat and six shooter and holster. I was kneeling as my brother Tony, an Indian, shoved a lance through my body. For a while I really wanted to be a cowboy. That was before I wanted to be a priest and after I wanted to be Captain Video.
In 1989, in the months leading up to the 40th anniversary of the communist regime in East Germany, a Lutheran pastor in the city of Leipzig began preaching at a peace vigil in the city’s Nicolaikirche. With every passing week, more people came to the vigil, and eventually attendance reached into the thousands.
Many of us experienced being overwhelmed in school by the number of papers we had to write, tests we needed to study for, and books we needed to read. Who among us didn’t at one time or another fall back on “Cliff’s Notes” to get us around reading Pride and Prejudice or Wuthering Heights or some other lengthy tome?
I used to feel guilty I wasn’t like the first apostles, ready to drop everything and run after Jesus. I know how many attachments I tend to hang onto, even when I think I’m “letting go and letting God.”
A common reaction after hearing the story of the first disciples—fishermen who are told to come follow Christ and become fishers of men—is to try to imagine ourselves in a similar situation. There we are on the job, and Jesus walks up and tells us to drop what we’re doing and come follow him. Could we do it?
“Why do you want to get a cat?” people asked me and then rattled off all the reasons not to. I didn’t really know why. The best reason I could give is that I had never had a pet before, because I have allergies, and I wanted to find out what it was like.
It is fashionable for some people to complain about all of the messages that they receive and how busy they are. Usually they bring it on themselves.