My wife and I are visiting a couple we dearly love but only get to see occasionally. The men are in one room; the women in another. I am listening as my friend speaks of some ideas that have been of paramount importance to him in his conduct of pastoral ministry. I find myself marveling at his wisdom and spiritual depth. Suddenly, almost impulsively, I say to him, "Do you think it's possible that God is laying the tracks for you to become a bishop some day? You'd be a great pastor to pastors."

He gasps and calls out to his wife in the other room. "You have to hear what Gordon just said." The women join us, and he asks me to repeat myself, which I do. Now, both friends seem incredulous, and he finally asks. "How could you know that in the past two weeks I have been asked to stand for election to a bishopric? We haven't shared this with anyone."

What follows is a long discussion that assists our two friends in clarifying those issues that are ...

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