Home > Uncategorized > In A Room In A Corner

In A Room In A Corner

I know that guy.  I went to seminary with that guy.  Man, I haven’t seen him since I left Holland for Iowa.  Wonder what he’s up to.  Coffee with a young gal…must be his daughter.  Yah, they’re sitting like father and daughter.  How come he still has the same hair he graduated with?  Same build, too.  Dang!

I walk by and put my hand on his shoulder to gather his attention, “Hey, don’t leave until you say hi to me.  I haven’t seen you in a decade.”

After his daughter left to head back to some college class, he stopped by my table and I saw his eyes.  Hollow.  He looked the same, but he was empty.  I remember the vivacious 40 year old who was ready to spread good news, ready to open the Word and walk with people through trials and joys.  Trials and joys.  I expected to hear about his trials and joys, but since I’d seen him he’d only had half of those – the trials half.

Some God-forgetting church chewed him up and spit him out.  Told him he was too average.  “Too average?” I didn’t understand what that meant.  What were they looking for?  Billy Graham, Bill Hybels, Billy Sunday?  I know this guy.  He loves people and has always had one desire – to walk with people toward the cross in the way of Christ.  That’s not too average.  That’s not too simple.  That’s not too anything, but difficult – especially if you ask him – especially right now.

“So now I sit in a room in a corner as an accountant for a small company.  I don’t get to see anyone…shoot, I don’t get interaction with people but for maybe an hour a day.  My wife told me I could go and be a pastor somewhere, but that she would be staying here.  She said she might come and join me if it worked out.  Can’t say I blame her.  I don’t want to go through that again.”

We said our goodbyes.  I remember the man who graduated seminary – he was 6 foot 2.  The man who left the coffee shop cast a much smaller shadow, and his eyes had seen the dirty underbelly of a church that had forgotten that “average” is nothing to be dismissed.  The sight of that underbelly burned his retinas and gave him a blindness to all that’s good, and all that God wants to do in the world.

I pray for the healing of his hollow eyes, for the church that will some day draw him out of the room and the corner, and, though I’m not proud of it…I pray for the closing of the doors of the church that thought he was too “average.”

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Dave
    September 13, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    Praying for your friend.

    I know how he feels. I’m grateful for those praying for me.

  2. September 13, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    Wow. That is sad. Praying for him and others like him…. and on the verge of being hollowed out by a church with too many expectations. *sigh*

  3. September 13, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    So sad… and SUCH a familiar story. 😦

  4. Erin Sikes
    September 13, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    I am thankful for the kindness and grace that our church shows our imperfect family. I wish you would write a blog post about the Christian culture that applies worldly metrics of success to church success (e.g. bigger is better, richer is better, “better” is better). People are constantly implying that Ken is too gifted to be serving in a small struggling church, and that he has “done his time” (eight years) and could move on to bigger and “better” things. Presumably, many of these people are on pastor search committees and personnel committees in their own congregations, and are aversive to average. Unless, in some cases, not average means distracting. See example below:


  5. Kathy Dunn
    September 13, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    Jim, know all too well what he is going through. No longer in ministry myself because I too was chewed on and spit out. It has been a God thing for me to be brought to where I am today-teaching ms and hs science. May God bless our former classmate and I will pray for his healing-and for the healing of his wife.

  6. Judi Seegert
    September 14, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    What a tragic story, James. I, too, will pray for your friend and his wife.

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