Inside Story

For many of us, Nelson Good the subject of our incarnation focus in this issue was a fellow parishioner and community member, an indefatigable scheduler of retreats at Rolling Ridge Retreat Center in West Virginia, and an intrepid carpooler. He drove the morning leg of a pick-up route for one of our interns and her classmates during their elementary school days (and, in all those years, was only ticketed once). He was devoid of ego, says Celeste Kennel-Shank. He did good things because that's who he was. Nelson was an apt example of incarnate grace in the world. The physical structures Nelson helped build will stand for some time, but it's what he built with his life that's instructive and inspiring. Nelson wasn't perfect by any means, but he was a tireless advocate for others, an accepting, generous person who was interested in what others had to say. He made people feel good about their contributions and about themselves, and he was deliberate about being in relationship with others. Church 'happened' wherever he was; his spiritual vitality was an animating force, and we'll miss him. Diana Butler Bass picks up the thread of spiritual vitality with her look at where it's occurring in the church. After three years of research, she sees encouraging signs churches are finding new ways to weave spirituality and social justice, as well as to honor and incorporate practices of the early church. In short, mainline renewal, as one pastor told Butler Bass, is not rocket science. You preach the gospel, offer hospitality, and pay attention to worship and people's spiritual lives. Nelson would approve. -The Editors

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Sojourners Magazine December 2005
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