ANGEL'S SHARE NOW FEATURES THE 13 CHAPTER [ESTHER] OF MY SEASONS FOR EVERYTHING: TALES OF A RELUCTANT PASTOR.
Today's Blurb from Bob: It has useful tuning out the news while taking care of mom's funeral, celebrating Penny's engagement, preparing for Janie's wedding, plotting some Cunard trips we'd like to take, redecorating the house, and mapping out my new library --- been clearing out the utlility room and the old bookcases to make way for the new. As Ray Bradbury reminds us, you really shouldn't save up toenail clippings or snakeskins.
The Danville News
Robert John Andrews
Friday, August 26, 2016
“Behind the Curtain”
Word Count: 750
A pastor who was ill prepared for retirement after decades of ministry asked me if I’m prepared for life in retirement. “No,” said I, then joked: “But then these nearly forty years of pastoring have interrupted my ministry. I’m getting back to what I first intended to do.”
Lord knows, I’ve never behaved like a pastor anyway. I’ve rebelled against the collar, chaffing at how some parishioners view pastors as employees or mascots. Any pastor desperate to please his congregation rather than pleasing God isn’t much of a pastor. Still, I value those who judged me too irreverent, too often a twit. I’ve tried to learn from those who disliked my style, mindful that you can listen without agreeing.
Principally, my retirement is best for them. The trick in leadership is knowing when to let go lest you strangle change and growth. Confession: the word ‘retirement’ is disingenuous. I’m hardly leaving town to enter a retirement village or monastery. A smart way to plan the last stage of your life is by tailoring down one career to increase another, letting go to grab something you want. You mustn’t fan negativity. You must make things positive. Besides, I fancy Social Security as meaning more than gulping coffee with the old guard griping about government (arthritic!) but as an income subsidizing us retirees to volunteer our time and skills for the good of the country (payback for taking the public dole!).
Although, I’m still on the bubble about applying for Social Security. My darling wife might appreciate me earning my keep by producing income from my novels, church trade material, travel articles. I’ll visit undercover a variety of worship services to experience how newcomers are welcomed. I’m mapping out another Studs Terkel-esque road trip to interview my college classmates and write dispatches about curious places and persons I explore. I’m plotting to host a local youth club for creative writing. I’d like to work inside our schools but if so I’d rather bring something new rather than do chores. If acceptable to editors, I’m aiming to write journalistic features designed to ‘peak behind the curtain,’ describing things that puzzle me: how does Geisinger dispose of amputated limbs? What’s Mill Street like for a day? How’s a day in the life of a waitress? What happened at the State Hospital when they forbade patients from mowing, from sweeping? What happens in Hospice? One more: let’s pull back the curtain and peak into the lives of High School graduates several years after graduation and ask them what worked, what didn’t, which teachers prepared them effectively?
A sample foray of voices we need to hear comes from when I did ask students to tell me about their school experiences. Here’s some takeaways from Senior Highs: they all know their grades are highly inflated (of a class of 115 on one graduation list, 70 had a GPA of 90.6 or higher – the lowest was 79.52); in summer school we take kids who’ve struggled and plant them before a computer monitor and expect them to succeed; one kid sitting in library for three classes in a row, no librarian anymore, on average during a day they have over an hour and a half of no classes; some prefer home room at the end of the day (mostly student athletes who could get work done before practice), the other half saw it as a waste of time when the could have been out already; fewer than half of the students said they do homework outside of school more than three time per week accomplishing the large majority of it in school; the classes at Bloom offered to Juniors and Seniors were very popular and the kids felt it really offered them a challenge and was a great way to prepare them for a college education.
Comments from younger students: “we are being taught for tests – it is all for the tests; work is too juvenile; the teachers that teach for the right purpose are inspiring; too much time at study hall, some over ninety minutes; boring is role-thinking where all we do is curry information from the power-point; only about twenty minutes spent in each class on the material; it depends on the teacher but you usually have ten minutes per class that you don’t do anything; we sit too long and do nothing; all we do is take notes in Language Arts; they use us for their fund-raisers, need recess, to run, need to play like boys!”
Need to reach me? Try: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cool. My talk on 'The Other Side of the Coin -- the Life of the Danville Mill Worker' is now on Youtube, courtesy of Van Wagner.
A WORD ABOUT MY WRITINGS:
1) FINISHED IS THE SEQUEL TO NATHANIEL'S CALL CALLED NATHANIEL'S RETURN -- THIRTEEN DAYS IN THIRTEEN CHAPTERS;
2) I AM GOING TO PULL DANGEROUS CURVES TO SUBMIT A REDRAFTED VERSION OF THE STORY;
3) SOON I WILL COMPLETE MY NON-FICTION WORK ABOUT MY GRANDFATHER AND THE PAINT BUSINESS, TITLED 'GREORGE AND FLORENCE - FOREVER YOURS;'
4) MY BIGGEST HOPE IS TO PACKAGE ALL MY NOVELS AND TRY TO ENLIST AN AGENT OR A REAL PUBLISHING HOUSE, AS WELL AS SYNDICATE MY COLUMNS -- ANY HELP IS GREATLY APPRECIATED.
Nathaniel's Call available for purchase!
The paperback edition (355 pages) can be purchased from the following vendors:
Amazon at www.amazon.com
Barnes and Noble at www.bn.com for 16.52 (plus shipping)
Booklocker at www.booklocker.com
Also available at the Iron Heritage store, 316 Mill Street, Danville
Nathaniel's Call by Robert John Andrews
The Presbyterian Writers Guild has selected the Rev. Robert John Andrews, a pastor in Danville, Pa., to receive its prestigious Presbyterian Publishing Corporation First Book Award for 2014 for his novel set in the Civil War, Nathaniel’s Call.
Andrews’ book ― self-published in 2012 ― was selected from among 17 entries in a variety of genres to receive the biennial award, given in Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly years to the best first book by a Presbyterian writer during the past two years. The PPC First Book Award winner is recognized at the Presbyterian Writers Guild’s General Assembly luncheon, which this year will be Thursday, June 19 in Detroit.
Jane Hines of Nashville ― retired director of communications for the Synod of Living Waters and chair of the PPC First Book Award Committee ― said, “Several genres are represented in the 17 books we received (teen science fiction, memoirs, poetry, young adult fiction, novels, journals, dissertation re-writes). We were just looking for the best writing in any category and found it in Nathaniel’s Call.”
As a Nashville-based committee comprised of Southerners, Hines added, “we don't think it will be a best-seller in Vicksburg and Richmond, but we see Nathaniel's Call as a splendid example of the art of writing.”