Tales from the wilderness…

Hi! My name is David Butler: Does anyone remember me? Since the first of August 2022 I have been preaching half the time in churches other than our own. A couple of Sundays were taken up with family commitments. If it weren’t for Elaine, I fear someone might have taken my pew…

Generally, as an itinerant preacher, I tend to stay in my lane. There are lots of little Presbyterian churches, or ones like it (i.e. the UCC church in Grand Marsh) that are without pastoral leadership and are unlikely to have such any time soon. There are folks around willing to fill in, but not enough of them. I am trying to limit how often I preach, but I am also trying to be generous with my time.

But then there’s this. Several of our friends attend a small evangelical church in a nearby town. As an independent church they don’t have a network they can tap into when their pastor needs to be away. When their pastor was ready for a much-needed vacation, our friends recommended me to preach. She and I had coffee, and I agreed to give it a try. I worshipped with them once in August, just to see what they do. They sang two songs, she prayed a bit, and then she spoke for 50 minutes! I suggested that there isn’t a Presbyterian alive that would sit still for 50 minutes. I gave it a go anyway.

I talked about prayer. I talked for 50 minutes. Unlike most of our churches, where people would have been leaving after 15, they hung in with me through the whole thing.

I guess there are only two things to say about that experience. One was that I worked harder putting that one together than I have worked on anything since my Doctor of Divinity degree in the 1990s. It was grueling. The other thing was that when they thanked me for coming, I told them they wouldn’t be able to ask me back, because I had just told them everything I knew. It took me ten years to learn what I laid on them that day.

I will also say that they are a very sweet bunch of people, hospitable and responsive, and I enjoyed being there. I realized that there are lots of things we could talk about that are shared concerns in this faith walk of ours.

But then this happened. A friend of ours invited us to go to Spring Green, to the American Players Theater to see some Shakespeare. We had never been, and it was amazing. Our friend had some friends who were very active in the theater, and they had us over for supper. They were delightful people. We really hit it off. Come to find out that they are active in the Free Thinkers Unitarian Universalist Congregation (I don’t think they like being called a church) of Sauk City. They have a rotation of speakers doing this and that, not much that looks like worship, from where I sat. But they asked me to interview for a position speaking 5-6 times a year starting next year. And I am thinking: What fresh heck is this? I interviewed. It was very interesting. We’ll see what happens next.

This all sounds like a big bunch of bragging, but it is not how I am experiencing it. What it feels like to me is that God is trying to grow me: out to the left and out to the right. My spiritual journey has sent me deeper, in recent years. Now it seems to be widening.

It would be easy to say no to it all, that my plate is full, besides, I don’t know how to do all of this. But it also feels like God is inviting me on an adventure. Am I too old for adventures? Maybe not. Anyway, here goes nothing.

Peace to you all,




Sept. 24 -- David Butler
Oct. 1 -- Trudy Burkert

Zoom Attendants

Sept. 24 -- Lila Waldman
Oct. 1 - Chris Kelly
Oct. 8 -- Roberts/Vargo

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are back to normal (Fridays 10-12).


  September 2023  
Bible Search

Pardeeville, Wisconsin

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