Today we had a Preacher's Luncheon at 29th and Yale. Daryl Hayes is one of the best guys in town to keep this thing going. He schedules it just right. I'm usually not a fan of such gatherings. Today I was still workshop weary (nearly ill) and didn't feel like attending. But, I didn't want to miss as I need to be near these men. My earlier experiences with such fellowship left me preferring root canals. It wasn't fellowship; for me it was disfellowship nearly every time I attended.....as I was often the disfellowshipee.
But what a very great group of area guys in neighboring congregations. We eat. We talk. We go home. No jarring. No griping. Maybe slight bantering. I mean Marvin does attend! But just a group of appreciative-for-their-job men who understand the wrinkles around the aging eyes and the greying of hair noticeably creeping into view.
I yelled down my table at noon and said, Wayne Pope.....I like you! He gave me that rolling-of- the-eyes look and went on with his meal. It's just nice to be around peers we love and respect with the greatest of ease.
I sat at that gathering wondering about the pain each carries for his church, for his work, for his dream that finds refuge at least for an hour among sheltering friends. It feels good to be a part of ministers' gatherings that have authentic life in them. Some of these soldiers have fought great battles. Others have endured breaking points. All have dealt with a handful of members who act as if they own us. But none of them are quitters. None of them are giving up.
They have my admiration. I like these men. I like right now.