Jump directly to the Content

Sometimes You Just Need to Disappear

The best pastoring doesn't happen in the office.

Often I think of an inn-keeper my wife, Gail, and I met in Vermont. Everything about him seemed unusual: his dress, his use of language, the ambience of his inn. He aroused my curiosity, and I began asking questions. I learned that Jack Coleman had been the president of Haverford, a well-known college. Later on, he had headed a prestigious educational foundation. Now, in semi-retirement, he ran an inn. Then I learned that he had acquired the life-long habit of regularly disappearing for short periods of time. He simply dropped out of sight. Presumably some assistant (or relative) knew where to find him, but the rest of the people in his world didn't.

When he resurfaced (perhaps ten days later), he would tell how he'd worked as a shoe-shine man at a railroad station or as a worker on a garbage collection team. Once he bussed tables at a fast-food location. Why?

"Because," he said, "in my line of executive work, it's easy to lose touch with the larger, very real world of common people. And ...

April
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
Dangers of Missionalism
Dangers of Missionalism
Even the best causes can become cold, prideful, and all-consuming.
From the Magazine
I Wanted a Bigger God Than My Hindu Guru Offered
I Wanted a Bigger God Than My Hindu Guru Offered
As my doubts about his teachings grew, so did a secret fascination with Jesus.
Editor's Pick
What Christians Miss When They Dismiss Imagination
What Christians Miss When They Dismiss Imagination
Understanding God and our world needs more than bare reason and experience.
close