Faithful Questions Lead to Remarkable Reversals

September 12, 2016 by Lee Hinson-Hasty

Editor’s note: I am sometimes called to serve as a guest preacher, and I am honored to do so. I’m sharing with you here the introduction to the sermon, which centered around faithful questions, which are at the heart of theological education. I invite you to read the text or listen to it at the link to the church web site at the bottom of this post. Thank you for FPC Durham for the invitation.

What an honor it is to be here again at First Presbyterian Church in Durham, especially in this your centennial year! I am a longtime fan of this church and those connected to it including, of course, your pastor Mindy Douglas. Mindy is my favorite Montreat Small Group Leader ever and a leader in the PC(USA) nationally especially in the area of leadership and theological education.

One of your former pastors, Joe Harvard, is also a friend both of mine and Presbyterian Seminaries as well as the Theological Education Fund and Seminary Support Network. In my lexicon, Paul Baldasare defines Presbyterian ruling elder. Not only is he a spiritual leader, he is a leader with a beautiful spirit. I worked with Paul at St. Andrews Presbyterian University where he serves now as President. I actually graduated from Wake Forest University… but on the day after a lucky Demon Deacon win here in Durham, I’m going to stick with way your newsletter identified me as a St. Andrews alum!

Homer Ashby and Robert Brawley, retired full time faculty of McCormick Theological Seminary are both legendary. I’ve been learning that First Presbyterian is full of people like those I have mentioned and so I look forward to getting to know you even better in these days and hopefully in the years to come.

Leadership with spirit and vision seems to be in the DNA of this congregation when I consider the snapshot of your history I know. No matter what the cause, women’s ordination in 1954, or racial integration in 1955, you were on the leading edge. You have provided trustees, often board chairs, for Presbyterian seminaries and colleges, hospitals, and numerous social service agencies.

Whether the issue is affordable housing, global mission, education, health care, higher morally grounded government, starting new churches you and yours have been ready to lead and support, or supporting new ministers prepared and preparing at Presbyterian Seminaries – the last of which I am especially grateful through your gifts to the Theological Education Fund. There are so many reasons to love this church. It makes me wonder, “What will you do next that echoes your holy pilgrimage, that honors God and God’s intentions yet again for you and God’s beloved world? What will you do next? Where will you go?”

Israel was on a holy pilgrimage too, one from Egypt to the promised land, when some interesting questions arose as they were trying to figure out what to do next.

If you would like to read the entire sermon, Faithful Questions Lead to Remarkable Reversals, you may download it or listen to it on the First Pres website here.