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Pastoral Realism

Paul Gregory Alms on the Congregation as a Wilderness

There is a clean, dark slate of soil, freshly tilled. There are seeds newly pushed into that dirt. There is expectation. A garden. I enjoy gardens. I enjoy the planting and that initial joy of excitement in spring. One imagines the growth, the green, the vegetables that will result.

Yet to say I enjoy gardens is something of a falsehood. For inevitably, as the spring wears into summer, my enthusiasm fades. The soil that seemed so promising begins to harden with the high temperatures, and it cries out for water: actual watering and hard work. The seeds indeed sprout, but so do weeds, innumerable weeds, which require bending over . . .

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Paul Gregory Alms (paulgregoryalms.blogspot.com) is pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Catawba, North Carolina. He is a graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with both MDiv and STM degrees. He has written extensively for journals such as First Things, Concordia Theological Journal, Lutheran Witness, Lutheran Forum, The Cresset, and others. He is married and the father of four girls.

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