Why does ministry in the church so often resemble dull prose rather than sparkling poetry?
How do we handle always getting top billing and being at center stage in the drama of parish life?
What is the truth in Flannery O'Connor's observation that ministers should go about their work like "experienced crooks"?
Can we really carry the treasure of the gospel in the always fragile, sometimes broken clay pots that are our lives?
How do we get through the "night duty," both literal and figurative, that is inevitable in ministry?
These are among the questions Stuempfle addresses in these reflections on a series of arresting images for public ministry in the church. Among them are such fresh metaphors for ministry as "poets," "spies," "stars," "nightwatchers," and "thieves." They are offered as a lens through which pastors and others in church vocations can gain a new perspective on their complex and demanding calling.
Herman G. Stuempfle Jr. former president of Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, has spent most of a lifetime reflecting on ministry. Reared in a parsonage, he prepared for his own ministry at the same seminary. After more than a decade in parish ministry, he returned to Gettysburg where he taught preaching, served as dean and, for fourteen years, as its president. Among his many publications are "Preaching The Law And Gospel," a widely used textbook for homiletics, and "Theological And Biblical Perspectives On The Laity." He recently published a volume of hymn texts with GIA Publications titled "Your World Goes Forth."