Giving Thanks: Voices of Wisdom

I was checking out my Twitter feed this morning when I saw Luther Seminary tweeted an article about Professor Gracia Grindal’s retirement in June after 30 years of service.

While not the most well-known or popular among students of recent years, Professor Grindal is one of the reasons I stayed in Seminary, and am now a pastor. She’s spent time around central Minnesota, where I grew up, and has that way about her, like the people I grew up around: humble, matter-of-fact, salt of the earth. In her 30 years, she’s seen a lot of changes in the world and the church, and yet as continued to honor both the traditions of the church and share her passion for hymns and rhetoric.

One, she took the time to ask me how I was doing; because clearly something was bothering me that spring of my first year. Two, as I expressed my doubts of having a place in the church as a pastor, and my frustations over the church, she said,

“You know, in all my years there have been times I disagreed with and been upset about what the church does. But I still love the church.”

And those words, and that wisdom has stuck with me today. I give thanks for people like Professor Grindal, her wisdom, and her love of the church. And as I live as a pastor, husband, brother, friend, and wrestling coach, that serves as a good reminder:

Commitment is the sustained love and passion for something or someone, even through those times when conflict or difficulty arises.

Thank you Professor Gindal, and all those who have shared their wisdom with me. And for those of you out there, hopefully you’re reminded of those great voices of wisdom that have crossed your path as well.

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