It would be impossible to summarize the richness of everything that I pondered during my time in New England. I was impressed with Miroslav's brillance of course, but also with his vulnerability and understanding of the limitations of his expertise. I don't doubt that he knows he is an intellectual but to witness an intellectual recognize his or her limitations was commendable. His gift to the Church is to think about the gospel and its radical implications.
As is often the case, some of the most profound statements come in simple packages. Certainly, we dialogued about some deep issues, but I resonated greatly with a simple statement he made on our final day at Yale. Miroslav, the child of a Pentecostal pastor in Croatia, said that he was not a Christian because of the church, because he had been in too many lousy ones. Rather he was a Christian because of the gospel and because of that gospel he participates in the church.
Being in the Deep South, there is no lack of lousy churches, and unfortunately, I think, those churches actually hinder people from encountering the truly transformative nature of the gospel. But we do not give up on these lousy churches. In fact, we are called to participate in the community of faith, the earthenware vessels that they are, because of the gospel. In doing so, perhaps we can live out the radical nature of the gospel in community and have the community become, well, not so lousy.