Living Under the Shadow of Idealization

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[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] W [/dropcap]ith this issue of Compass, you will experience a little bit of the past summer’s Quiet Waters Leadership Couples Retreat. It would be great if the wonderful, romantic dinner where we learned how each gentleman “popped the question” to his future wife. You would have enjoyed the wonderful Sunday morning service as Rev. Dave Reck led each couple in renewing their vows. What I can provide is a glimpse into the learning experienced by those who attended. This year’s Retreat speaker, Dr. Ron Nydam, writes in this issue of Compass about the important role of “Idealization” in a pastor’s life and family. He shared this concept at the Leadership Couples Retreat. In his article, “Living under the Shadow of Idealization” Nydam writes, “This experience of being idealized is both a usual and necessary part of parish ministry, not something to be somehow ‘corrected’ or seen in a negative light.” As pastors and spouses, we often lament the idealization we experience, but Nydam challenges us to recognize it as something necessary for us to live out our role as pastor or pastor’s spouse. This summer’s Retreat also provided time for spouses to spend time together, and leading that time was our other contributor to this issue, author and speaker, Ruth Van Zee.

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Done with Darkness

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[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] I [/dropcap]n the deep jungles of Africa, a traveler was making a long trek. Coolies had been engaged from a tribe to carry the loads. The first day they marched rapidly and went far. The traveler had high hopes of a speedy journey. But the second morning these jungle tribesmen refused to move. For some strange reason they just sat and rested. On inquiry as to the reason for this strange behavior, the traveler was informed that they had gone too fast the first day, and that they were now waiting for their souls to catch up with their bodies. (From the book, Springs in the Valley by Mrs. Lettie Cowman) Too many pastors, missionaries, and other Christian leaders are not taking enough time to wait for their souls to catch up. Has your soul caught up with your fast pace? The spiritual strength of many pastors, missionaries and other Christian leaders is very low. How can they preach with power without their souls and the strength of God within? How can they sustain a strong witness without their souls and the strength of God within? In this issue of Compass we look at Spiritual Formation. Pastor Ron Klok tells of his spiritual journey, Elizabeth Walter gives us an excellent understanding of spiritual formation, and Fred Walz looks at a current event that brings us face to face with what may happen when our souls don’t catch up.

As you read, you will learn what Klok’s reaction was when he saw a small leafless tree. How would you react today to a similar experience and what old shirt are you wearing? He takes us through his journey to a rewarding result. Is your journey making you feel a loss that is like the death of a close friend? I hope that you will learn from Klok how to make a successful journey. Walter answers four frequently asked questions about the nature of spiritual formation. Is spiritual formation possible? What is spiritual formation? What does the Bible tell us about spiritual formation? And, what can I do to respond to the work of God within me? She gives comprehensive answers to each question and then challenges us to take practical actions in our own spiritual formation.

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