A collection of inspirational videos and text featuring America’s finest religious thinkers, stories of personal faith, and reflections on spiritual topics, gathered from television broadcasts of 30 Good Minutes, a weekly multifaith program in Chicago.
In her message, The Greatest of These, the Rev. Julie Pennington-Russell says that if you boil the Christian faith down to its essence, what remains is the face of absolute, unambiguous, undiluted love.
The Rev. Julie Pennington-Russell, a pioneer among Southern Baptist women in ministry, is the former lead pastor of the First Baptist Church in Decatur, Georgia, and has led churches in Waco, Texas and San Francisco, California. Julie says the call to ministry is given by God to all of us: Some are called to be leaders, but all are called to minister, to share our faith, to care, to proclaim, to practice justice and to bring about healing.
This archived 30 Good Minutes program was first broadcast in December 2002.
Reflection on Love by Karyn Kedar
My father was always a major influence in my life. He was a man of enormous generosity of spirit. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that he was demoted from a god figure and even then he was only an angel. One day he pulled me aside and said, “Karyn, I want to tell you three guiding principles for your life. The first is a sense of humor. You must have a sense of humor because it will help you get through the bad times. And, honey, you need to work on yours!”
“The second thing is,” he said, “you need a good name. A good name is important and crucial. It’s what people will see you as and judge you by. It’s who they will recognize. You must be careful of everything that you do in your life because that establishes a good name.”
Then I forget the third. Years would go by and I would think, “Ok, three things: a good sense of humor, a good name. But what’s the third?”
At one point when I was later an adult, my father and I were together and I said, “Daddy, do you remember the time when you told me there were three guiding principles for every life? One is a sense of humor, the other a good name. But I forget the third! What was the third?”
My father smiled and his eyes crinkled, filled with love that I had always known and felt as a child. He said to me, “I don’t remember!” And then I realized. I realized that he had set me on my course by giving me the first two principles, but by forgetting the third I had to evolve my own path. It was the search for that third principle that would give me meaning and purpose, the third principle that would be uniquely mine, that would set the course of my life. My father had given me the foundation. The greatest gift of love is that he stepped aside and allowed my own path to evolve, always guiding me, always loving me, and yet allowing me to discover life’s meaning and purpose.