Most Saturdays, Joe and I have a Facetime conversation about the week’s meditations from Richard Rohr. Joe didn’t have time for me today. He was born on July 31, 1931. As part of his 90th birthday celebration, Joe’s having a pedicure with his daughters and granddaughters. He made them promise “No pictures,” but he didn’t tell me not to mention it.

Joe begins his mornings with coffee at a nearby fast-food restaurant. It’s not a group thing. It’s just Joe. Some days he drinks his coffee alone. Some days he sits with one of his many friends there. He speaks to everyone. He talks to anyone–customers and staff, reminding me of Nick Herman’s “unusual and practical ability to focus himself….”

Joe was my boss from 1973-1976 when he was a superintendent and I was a pastor in seminary, and from 1991-1994, when he was a senior pastor and I was a staff member. For several years, I was Joe’s “boss” when he served as pastor emeritus. He is more consistent about what is right than anyone I know. He has grown more than anyone I know.

Joe is a mover and shaker, a barrier-breaker, a prophetic voice of conscience, a pastor who cries and laughs with you, and a visionary about what really matters and why. With a quiet, gentle, engaging, contagious, unassuming clarity of purpose, Joe lives daily into his life’s major themes: Grace and Love,

Detail of Michelangelo’s famous statue of an apparently non-pedicured Moses, from Sirin Caliskan’s blog, Sabanci University

2 thoughts on “Joe”

  1. Thanks for the uplifting and heart-warming story, Ted. A bright spot among so many dark images to deal with these days.


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