You can’t stand in someone’s shadow if you’re standing in the light

33The Rev. Dr. A. Michael “Mike” Warren 1940-2018. This picture is the day of his graduation from Union Theological Seminary (Richmond). Mike served churches in Virginia, Mississippi, West Virginia and Tennessee as well as working as an Associate Presbyter for the Salem Presbytery (North Carolina) and in the national church office in the National Ministries Division.

Yesterday, I was installed as the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Mount Sterling Kentucky. I made it through the entire day without thinking about the fact that my dad wasn’t there. That he’d never set foot in this church, he’d never preach from it’s pulpit, he’d never meet the people that serve God here. And they’d never meet him. Sure, they’d get to know him through my stories, the ones my mother tells. Or even my son if he ever speaks of him (he’s not known for talking about his ‘mommy’ or his ‘fa’ to many). But before the wave of sadness could crest, it slowed – because this very thing is what he wanted. I know, because he told me. You’re a pastor – be a pastor.

There is an importance in knowing who you are, what you’re called to be. And being that. It’s not nearly as complicated as we make it out to be. Figure out who you are (which often starts by figuring out who you’re not) and then be that. It’s not an original idea to him, but it is still one that can have a profound impact on how we live and our level of happiness as we live it. It really makes the mid-life crisis easy when there are no major shifts to go through. The pre-life crisis carries less stress when you realize that you can always change. But most importantly, it makes the post-career crisis easy if you can look back with much less regret. Be who you were created to be and become who you are re-created to become.

You’ll have much less stress, and much more fun than most of the people around you.


My retired father and my pre-school son in Fern Creek Kentucky.

The Rev. Dr. A. Michael “Mike” Warren on the day he graduated from Union Theological Seminary. He would go on to serve churches in rural Virginia, South-West Mississippi, West Virginia and Tennessee. He served the Salem Presbytery as an associate presbyter and the national office in the National Ministries Division.

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