A Call to Dig Ditches!

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One day Will Willimon got a call from an upset parent, a VERY upset parent.  Willimon is a bishop in the United Methodist Church and on the faculty of Duke Divinity School. At the time of the call he was the dean of Duke Chapel. 

“I hold you personally responsible for this,” said the VERY upset parent.

“Me?” Will asked.

The father was hot, upset because his graduate school bound daughter had just informed him that she was going to chuck it all (“throw it all away” was the way the father described it) and go do mission work with the Presbyterians in Haiti. 

“Isn’t that absurd!” shouted the father. “A BS degree in mechanical engineering from Duke and she’s going to dig ditches in Haiti.”

“Well, I doubt that she’s received much training in the Engineering Department here for that kind of work, but she’s probably a fast learner and will probably get the hang of ditch-digging in a few months,” Will said.

“Look,” said the father, “this is no laughing matter. You are completely irresponsible to have encouraged her to do this. I hold you personally responsible,” he said.

As the conversation went on, Dr. Willimon pointed out that the well-meaning but obviously unprepared parents were the ones who had started this ball rolling. THEY were the ones who had her baptized. THEY read Bible stories to her. THEY took her to Sunday School. THEY let her go with the Presbyterian Youth Fellowship to ski in Vail. Will said, “YOU’RE the one who introduced her to Jesus, not me.”

“But all we ever wanted her to be was a Presbyterian,” said the father, meekly.

Thanks to David Leininger for sharing this story. 

How about YOU and YOUR children and grandchildren? Was all YOU ever wanted them to be was a Presbyterian, a Catholic or a Christian? What would YOUR reaction be if after spending a fortune on their education, they said that as a follower of Jesus — they wanted to go and dig ditches in a Third World country?


            I am getting very good reviews for my novel, THE GATHERING, Jesus and Abortion, a Story for Our Time. One reader just wrote me: “I bought your book, ‘THE GATHERING’ and loved it. Simple kindness, simple living, honest care. I enjoyed reading it and thinking of what such a person would be like in our world today, then remembered that Person is still with us!” You can order THE GATHERING by Medard Laz on Amazon.

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