Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Saturday, May 28, 2016


CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith for the Years of Winter… ©

My Academy of Parish Clergy buddy, Suzanne Schaefer-Coates, is the pastor of a retirement community. She responded to my column about the hymn, “In the Garden.”

Suz herself is sort of neutral about “In the Garden.” Neither likes it nor dislikes it. Not so with her congregation. She says it is by far the most popular religious song with those old folks.

Part of that popularity is because it was a part of our soundtrack when we were young, recorded by Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Perry Como, and even Elvis.

Feelings are much more powerful than ideas. That is why music in general is so powerful. It brings up feelings.

Suz says that even though she carries no water for “In the Garden,” and even though she is about 20 years younger than those in her congregation, she “gets it,” why it is so popular with her people. They aren’t trying to be exclusive, to say “none other” in a way that leaves out everyone else. But in a world where old people are the ones so often left out, it’s comforting to know that someone WANTS to be with them. That’s a powerful feeling.


I tweet as yooper1721.

THE STRANGE CALLING, is sort of a memoir, a collection of stories from my ministry. When I first felt I was being “called” by God to be a preacher, the ministry was known as “the high calling.” In my experience, it seemed more like a strange calling. You can get it from the publisher, Smyth&Helwys, or lots of places on the web, including Amazon, B&N, etc.

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