After the service she waited until I was alone. I had noticed her and assumed this dear Christian lady had a problem that needed to be mentioned in privacy. I was partially right.

"Joel," she ventured, "I have something to say to you, but I'm not sure I should." Not knowing whether to encourage or discourage her, I simply nodded my head and waited. Finally, she said, "I just have not been getting the kind of depth from your sermons that I need."


Thankfully I did not respond with my first few impulses:

(a) to explain my entire philosophy of preaching, using words like esoteric and broad-band transmission and avoiding the gnostic heresy,

(b) to discredit the plaintiff, or

(c) to say, "Well, the Lord tells me what to preach. If you don't like it, I guess we both know whom you are fighting against."

After making an appointment to talk further with her about it, I left the sanctuary. My confidence was shaken, my fears in full bloom. And my anger drove me to consider the matter further.

The phrase ...

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From Issue:Spring 1987: Emotions
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