I miss my sons. While Diane’s pretty good, she’s not quite the same when it comes to picking up on movie quotes when I say them. She also doesn’t get into the ‘Doesn’t that person look like…..’ as much either. She humors me as best she can.
I remember when Dan Quayle famously compared himself to John F Kennedy in a vice-presidential debate with Lloyd Benson. Benson famously told Quayle, “I knew John F Kennedy….. you sir, are no John F Kennedy.”
The truth is, while people may remind us of other people, nobody else in the whole world is just like you. You are unique. So am I (and I can already hear Diane saying, Amen.) With all the people in the world, it’s amazing how we each have different traits, different mannerisms, and different gifts. Even if you consider cloning, you could clone an animal or a person 1,000 times and they would all still be different.
Our church is soon (very, very soon) going to find out who the next pastor will be at Mason UMC. She may be a woman or he may be a man. She or he may or may not be married. They may or may not have kids who may or may not live at home. They may or may not like the green color Diane has painted the kitchen in the parsonage. I can about guarantee you they won’t like the green and orange walls in what was Adam’s bedroom or the red and blue Superman walls in what is/was Matt’s room. Their tastes will be different. And some of the people in the church will like the new pastor and his/her spouse better then Diane and me. Some will not like them as much. Some liked Diane and me and will like them. Some didn’t like Diane and me and will not like the new pastor and his/her spouse, either (sadly, some people don’t even like themselves.)
It’s impossible not to sound arrogant, but it would be false humility to deny that Diane and I connected with the people here at the Mason UMC and the Bend Area. God has blessed our efforts the last six years more than we could have ever dreamed. The church has grown drastically (spiritually and numerically). The church has done and continues to do unspeakable amounts of ministry and made a tremendous difference to people from Mason to Dayton to New Orleans to Haiti. Things have ‘clicked’ thanks to the grace of God.
Most people here like Diane and me a lot and we like most people here a lot. That’s a tough situation for a new pastor to walk in to. When I came here, lots of people called me Damon for the longest time. I know it was a compliment. Damon had left here six years before I got here and the church flourished under his leadership and most people loved him and his wife Judy.
Nobody knows what the future holds for the new pastor and the Mason UMC. I know the person who the Bishop and Cabinet will send will have the same desire to change the world that I have (the Bishop made that clear when she said she wanted to put pastors who want to change the world in churches that want to change the world.)
This I know: If the church expects to get a pastor exactly like me and a spouse just like Diane, they are going to be disappointed. I am one of a kind. Diane is one of a kind. The new pastor (and spouse) are going to be different – that’s a promise. They too are each one of a kind and will be special in different ways. And the church must give them a chance and accept them for who they are, just like the church accepted Diane and me. No, I stand corrected. The church mustn’t accept them for who they are…. the church must LOVE them for who they are… I know he/she/they will love the people here… For the glory of God and the purpose of being the hands and feet and voice of Jesus Christ to every person in our neighborhood and in our world.