Although he still tours, Andrae Crouch's first responsibility these days, after the death of his parents and brother, is pastoring the church they founded. I try to visit every so often and always leave inspired.
No degree of social savvy makes someone immune to insecurity, doubt, emotional struggle or even an occasional case of the "nerds." Our faith communities should be the place where each of us is most comfortable exploring that inner nerd.
And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, "Blessed are the negative in spirit: for they shall find fault with just about everyone and everything. Blessed are they who judge others: for they are entitled and superior."
What good fiction does whether it's a Bible story, a fairytale, a popular children's serie, or a detective thriller is to invite the reader to identify with a flawed human being who faces harrowing choices and odds.
It is this dual conviction that no one is above reproach and that no one is beyond redemption that lies at the heart of our faith. Undoubtedly it's why the early Christians were characterized by non-violence.
Pastor Fred Phelps led the congregation that gained notoriety in recent years for picketing the funerals of soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan. He spoke with me about hell, homosexuality, and the Supreme Court.