Destroying the Divide Between Pulpit and Pew

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My older brother, Brandon, serves as principal of the public high school from which we both graduated. He recently told me a story about a kid we’ll call Cory who was in and out of Brandon’s office for reasons mostly related to drug possession. As Brandon questioned Cory about the situation, he discovered Cory’s problem wasn’t drug use — it was his family.

Cory’s parents were using him to deliver drugs to another kid at school, who then delivered them to his own parents. Their logic was that if Cory got caught, his punishment, as a minor, would be minimal. If they got caught, it would likely entail jail time. In other words, lower risk for him than for them.

In one emotional conversation with Cory, Brandon asked, “Do you want out of this?” With teary eyes, Cory said, “Show me how! There ain’t no way out of this!”

After Brandon shared this story with me, he asked about my job as a college and seminary professor: “What do you do every day?” I told him about various theology courses and students preparing for pastoral ministry and mission work. I also expressed my great delight in my work despite its challenges.

Less than three minutes after telling me about Cory, Brandon said, with all sincerity, “I just don’t see how what I do is as important as what pastors, missionaries or seminary professors do.”

My jaw dropped, and my heart broke. How could Brandon conclude that his work is less valuable than mine? The question was a turning point. …Read More.