Among the strays

A pastor’s vocation

In my day job I teach theology and grade papers, but I have another line of work. A friend gave this calling a name several years ago when she called to ask if I'd do a funeral for someone who had no church connection or pastor. "Do you still have a ministry to strays?" she asked. As a young man, I had worked for several summers as a truck driver for a nationwide moving company. Later I attended seminary. Now I look back and realize that the driving experience helped prepare me for a churchly vocation that my seminary professors didn't cover in their lectures.

Back when I was one of them, we over-the-road truck drivers endured profound loneliness. As nomads in the world before cell phones, we'd pull into a truck stop looking for casual conversation with perfect strangers. Like us, they were taking a break from staring at the broken white lines. These truckers and assorted transients seemed destined to spend their lives on the road.


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