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My Story (Rowland Croucher)

(Written for our church’s bulletin – East Doncaster Baptist Church (30th April, 2011).

Rowland Croucher: (A Little of) My Story

In his new book Falling Upward Richard Rohr quotes a Native American aphorism: ‘No wise person ever wanted to be younger’. (His theme: ‘The way up is the way down [or] the way down is the way up’). I like it!

I was a ‘pre-war baby’, (first-)born 1937 to a humble fundamentalist Brethren couple. My two younger brothers say I was the ‘favourite’, and unfortunately they were probably right.

The Brethren taught me to read the Bible so I did so I left (as I say wryly to their pastors/elders conferences: some of them smileJ).

The next major decision I made – 53+ years ago – was to encourage Janice Higgs to marry me. (I’ve only had two 6-hour-long conversations with anyone: the first was with Jan, the second was last week in Adelaide with a dying young mum whose funeral I will conduct there tomorrow).

My roles-with-others: husband, father (x4)/grand-father (x6), pastor (these days in that order…)

Pastor? Yes, except that I attend no committees! My primary clientele: pastors, ex-pastors and their spouses (John Mark Ministries), but my primary congregation is 4934 Facebook friends. (As I write, today we’re discussing Chris’s excellent article on ‘Love Wins’).

Theologically, I’m a ‘both/and’ person as Richard Rohr puts it: on some things I’m theologically conservative, on others progressive. Brian McLaren and Richard would be two primary mentors in this area.

Back to Jan: her father and brothers could fix just about anything. But I have only one pet aversion in life: rearranging physical objects. Now ‘big choices have consequences’: when one of my ecumenical devotional books (Still Waters Deep Waters) became a 35,000-in-print best-seller my dear wife had a ‘ho hum’ reaction. But when I replaced the handles on the kitchen cupboards, I was greeted with ecstatic appreciation! (PS. Those books quoted Catholics, ‘liberals’ and non-Christians so one Evangelical bookstore chain wouldn’t stock it. They do now. I believe, with Augustine, that ‘All truth is God’s truth’).

Because I talk to pastors I’m preoccupied with their key professional questions: ‘How can I be an effective servant of the Lord and the church but without too much stress/burnout?’ ‘Where are we going with homosexuality issues?’ ‘Islam?’ ‘Hermeneutics? (interpreting the Bible in terms of its two contexts – Ancient Near Eastern, and today’s)?’

It’s been a great ride: eight wonderful years at Blackburn Baptist Church (and some others), 20,000 hours of intentional pastoral counseling, a couple of hundred pastors’ conferences. (The next: in a fortnight to Adelaide for an Seventh Day Aventist national educators’ gathering).

Thanks EDBC for being such a wonderful community of faith, hope and love!

Ad majorem Dei gloriam

Rowland Croucher


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