Thursday, September 4, 2008
The Preacher’s Corner
‘If you were Gale Denley, I enjoy your column’
As I have written this column over the past 20 years, readers have been most kind in expressing their appreciation when we meet on the street or at the grocery store.
I have met many new friends through The South Reporter, and writing the column has been fun for me and I think it is an important aspect of my ministry.
I have enjoyed working with the staff at The South Reporter, and my editors, Barry Burlison and Linda Jones, are a pleasure to know and real friends in the journalistic endeavor.
Some of you are quick to remind me that I sometimes miss a week or two with the column. This is not because the paper forgot to print what I wrote, but because there are just some weeks I cannot think of anything to write about.
(This sometimes happens on Sundays, but somehow then I soldier on. It is harder, somehow, when you have to display your lack of an idea in writing.)
A minister I admire has said that he never has trouble thinking up a sermon. Indeed, he says there are never enough Sundays for all the sermons that come to mind. The trouble, says this preacher, is narrowing down which idea to develop.
There is truth in this. The difficulty is finding the quiet time to do the narrowing down and thinking to elaborate those kernels of thought that result in a sermon or a newspaper column.
Of course, I know some ministers who get their sermons from “The Preacher’s Journal,” or even the Internet.
But I could never face a congregation when I knew it had come from something called “Yahoo.”
“The relentless return of the Sabbath” (to ministers, it seems to come every three days), forces the issue in terms of the sermon; the kind forbearance of Linda Jones sometimes permits me to slide by without submitting a column.
Many tributes will appear to Gale Denley, and I will add one story to that mix.
One day several years ago, I was walking in the parking lot of a Holly Springs store, when a lady I did not know approached and said, “Pardon me, but are you Gale Denley?”
I said that I was not, and she responded, “Well you sure look familiar.”
I ventured the guess that perhaps since Mr. Denley’s and my photos appeared most weeks on adjoining pages of The South Reporter, that that was how she recognized me.
“Perhaps,” she replied. “But anyway, if you were Gale Denley, I was going to say that I enjoyed your column!”
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