"Loafer’s Glory" or "B-Mix"

Being a potter is wonderfully therapeutic. Your hands can’t go faster than the wheel is turning or what you make is going to have problems before you can wire it off. There has to be focus and fluidity of motion with an eye for what can be even when you can’t see it. It’s a wonder I don’t have a bent neck from leaning over constantly to watch the vessel’s profile as I’m pulling and shaping. You have to look beyond the reality and see the possibility, and dare to take a chance on a new throwing hunch or a shape.

I just bought a thousand pounds of clay to get me through my Christmas projects. I was down to a couple of hundred pounds. My favorite clay comes from a little hole-in-the-road place in North Carolina called “Loafer’s Glory.” What a great name! Any way “Loafer’s Glory” is the clay that I love to use. It’s a smooth-throwing stoneware with just enough grog and grit to experiment with as I try to throw larger 19th century forms. It feels good, looks good, glazes well, and fires beautifully.
Unfortunately I was only able to purchase 500 pounds of “Loafer’s Glory” and have had to supplement my supply with a similar B-mix grade clay. I wedged a sample of the “B-mix” to see how it compared to Loafer’s and it felt pretty good. I’m looking forward to trying it out. The switch got me thinking about us as God’s clay.
I picture God as trying to get something accomplished, but there’s not enough of us who want to oblige. Maybe that’s when God gives another clay a try. God likes to create and experiment with this spaceship called Earth, and wants the Good News of Jesus to change the whole cosmos. God needs clay like you and me to do it. Now I would prefer that God used “United Methodist” clay rather than “Baptist” or “Muslim,” but it’s all about supply.
It’s up to us more than God. Will it be “Loafer’s Glory” or “B-mix?” Part of me likes the name “Loafer’s Glory” a lot better than a name as generic as “B-mix,” but a tree is known by its fruit, not its name. God is more interested in the results than the brand, don’t you think?



The 2008 General Conference made a number of significant changes in our ordering of ministry. Lines have been blurred, some would say, between the work of Deacons, Elders, and local pastors. My response would be, “They have always been blurred!” In the UMC laity and clergy have always been sharing ministry in so many ways they are hard to keep straight. We have two kinds of Lay Speakers, 2 kinds of local pastors (the Student Local Pastor designation has been dropped), Certified Lay Ministers, Supply Pastors, Deacons, Elders, Provisional Members, and Full Members. Does it matter what our title is, or is our effectiveness more important? I think the genius of the Wesleyan Movement is a focus on effectiveness more than status.

What we need are effective lay and clergy leaders who are responsible, hardworking, and dependable. The bottom line is results! I pray for clergy and laity who will take responsibility and get the job done. The Kingdom is sorely lacking results because the laborers are few! I saw a persosn working in a hotel wearing a button with “W.I.T.” on it. I wondered what it meant so I asked. The hotel employee said it was their mission statement, “Whatever It Takes.” They wanted to remind each other that they were supposed to do whatever it took to get the job done. That’s good advice for us!

There was one particular golfer who exemplifies the need for personal responsibility, whether as an individualist or as a groupie. He had a miserable game one day. It was such a bad round that he skipped stopping at the clubhouse and went straight to his car. As he approached his car he noticed a police car with its lights flashing.

An officer stepped out of the patrol car and hurried up to the melancholy golfer. “Excuse me,” the officer started, “but did you tee off from the 16th hole about 20 minutes ago?” “Why yes, I did,” the duffer replied. “Did you happen to hook your ball, so that it went over the trees and off the course?” the trooper asked. “Yes, it was a terrible shot, but how did you know?” the club member asked.

“Well,” said the policeman very seriously, “your ball flew out onto the highway and crashed through a windshield. The car went out of control, running five other vehicles off the road and causing a fire truck to crash. That fire truck was on its way to a fire, and so that building is a complete and total loss. I want to know what you are going to do about this?” “Hmmm,” the golfer mused. “I think I need to close my stance, keep my head down and tighten my grip.”

Christ is looking for people who will get the job done. I want to be one.