His love for God, his mother, his wife, the church, his children, and students is inspiring. His writing is always entertaining, often enthralling. But it's his honesty in these pages that most encouraged me. To hear of his struggles as a pastor--people leaving his church, people meeting to conspire against him, people asking him to resign, and so on--made me feel less alone and more hopeful as a pastor. When some of my dear brothers and sisters in Christ cast aspersions or make amazingly mistaken or arrogant or even wicked assumptions about me and others among their leaders, I take it very personally, and wonder what the heck is wrong with me. But when I read about Calvin Miller experiencing the same behavior from the flock, I think maybe there is hope yet for me as a pastor and leader. I mean, if someone could leave the church because Calvin Miller is such a crummy pastor....I can't imagine! And he manages to be insightful, honest, and yet charitable all at the same time. God, make it so in me.
Some of the passages and lines I hope to remember:
It wasn't just Jesus that appealed to me. It was what Jesus did through people, who could for brief shining moments stop thinking about themselves and turn their minds to someone else. To give up selfish concerns and think of others is a small miracle in a selfish world. This is the grand narcotic--self denial! How addictive it is in the life of anyone with the courage to put it into practice (p. 117).I must confess to deep, deep envy as he described his departure from the pastorate to become a professor. Consequently, while I highly recommend this book, and especially to pastors (and would-be pastors), I think it should come with a warning: Pastors, do not read this book on a Monday.
I had always like anonymous gifts. They force you to be nice to everyone, because you just never know (p. 119).
"Never say 'never.' God could be listening and the devil could be taking notes" (p. 219).
Bitterness is never appropriate. Hard times are never a matter of personal choice. Bitterness is (p. 284).