So, now I'm basically done with being a Circuit Visitor. My last Sunday in Oklahoma was this past one, and now it is on to Illinois, where I will be the new guy.
It's been interesting here because my circuit was able to call four guys out of the Seminary - count them, four. And in two years. And I got to help teach and advise. And you know what that really boiled down to?
I got to tell stories of when I was stupid and messed up. I got to say, "Oh, you don't want to do X -- I did that, and here's what happened, here's why that was wrong and a bad idea." It was a passing on of experience - I took the hard knocks... here, listen. This is a softer style of learning.
Of course, this is what almost all practical teaching is. The theoretical teaching can tell you what is good and laudable - practical says, "here's where the rubber meets the road." And it's not just for a pastor to another pastor.
It's the father teaching his children about the dangers of the world.
It's the sergeant taking the Lieutenant under his wing.
It's the man who has failed warning others how they too might fail.
It's Augustine and Patrick's Confessions.
It's the Holy Spirit recording the faults and sins of the Fathers, so that we might learn from their example.
Part of being a mature Christian, confident in God's forgiveness and not trusting in your own works and merits, is the freedom, out of love for your neighbor, to warn them. To warn them without fear of just what can go wrong when you mess up.
And that is a kind and loving thing. That is something with a rich, Christian tradition. And it is our duty - to warn folks from falling into error, and to point out to those trapped in guilt from similar errors that God is merciful - that He even has forgiven me, the chief of sinners, and thus there is forgiveness for you.
A fine Christian thing.