Most pastors have heard Fred Craddock’s phrase, “almost Bible.” He coined it after learning early in his ministry that some things people believe to be in the Bible just aren’t there. Craddock’s favorite example is the three wise men, heralded in hymn and Hallmark card across the years, but missing from Matthew. The Evangelist mentions three gifts, but leaves the number of the Magi mysterious. That number three? Almost Bible. Add a fourth wise person next time you plan a children’s Christmas pageant and you can be sure everyone will read Matthew’s text afresh.
The PPRC -- Pastor-Parish Relations Committee -- plays an important role in the United Methodist Church, including annually advising the Bishop whether or not the appointed pastor should remain at their church or itinerate to a new congregation. While the PPRC is instructed to "engage in biblical and theological reflection on the mission of the church" (Book of Discipline: 180), it is not asked to undertake its work in remembrance of baptism.
Such remembering could make a significant difference in the ways a PPRC functions.
Our health coaches at Davidson Clergy Center are beginning to advise us that we should talk about “The Wall” – that phenomenon that occurs about three months into making a planned behavior change. Suddenly, the great plan doesn’t seem so great and workable any more, and with the change of time, weather, season, workload, suddenly “back-sliding” ( a medical term) can occur. This is a normal, expected stage in making long-term change.