Mulling things on my morning ramble with Storm, the family's mixed Lab.
On a morning like this, my mind floats off.
Preachers or pastors? By grace or works?
Maybe it was the rain coming down as I walked the meathead.
Maybe it was that he suddenly rediscovered his Lab roots and charged into the town pond to retrieve a stick too big for him. Dare I say what really crossed my mind? Like a convert wading into a river for a full-body baptism?
Or maybe it was the stories coming out of a niece's wedding in Texas on Saturday.
There's something about weddings that inspire preachers or pastors like nothing else. Funerals far less so, maybe because by definition at funerals the audience knows the subject completely and utterly, so flights of fantasy are prohibited.
Pastors are combinations of lay psychologists and small-college profs; preachers are capable of calling down hellfire and brimstone. Minister covers them both.
I suspect it is the undertow of sex and love in weddings that sparks the creative juices of those presiding at weddings. I don't remember being at a wedding with a rabbi, but have been to many with a priest and the same applies to them at weddings as it does for ministers.
We couldn't make the trip, but apparently the minister--because they were married away from their home the happy couple found a minister online--got carried away with listing his ideas for the roles of men and women.
You got to love it.
When my wife and I got married, it was just before the Internet blew up, so we selected our preacher off a list that the good planning folks at Starved Rock State Park had for weddings.
We were married up on Starved Rock on a day hot enough to evoke consideration of hell. I didn't think the preacher, Roy Wilson from Seneca, would survive the climb up.
Oh, he survived it. Not only survived, but had enough fire left to almost morph our wedding ceremony into a holy-roller gathering. At one point, I thought my dad, who has some tendencies in that direction, was going to get carried away praying down the power with Wilson.
In my younger days, I thought I might have a calling as a preacher. But sin came too easily. Columnist is as close as I come to preaching.
Which brings me to by grace or works.
I have no doubt that I need redemption, and finding it matters to my life.
But other things also matter.
My most regular fishing partner is the son of a muskie-fishing Northwest Side pastor.
Last year, on one suggested Sunday trip, I begged off. In the spring and summer, I miss too many Sundays at church. At that point, I was missing so many I worried about setting a bad example for my kids.
So I backed out of the trip.
And my buddy retorted, ``I'm glad I'm saved by grace.''
Some of us need to work at it.