October 1956

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"My dear Brother:

Do you ever find yourself involved in a part of what people consider your "ministry" which is utterly beyond your depth and outside your training? For example, a discussion in the Ladies' Aid Society concerning the type of dishes which must be bought before the annual supper? Or what brand of pop should be sold at the Sunday School picnic? Recently I went through such a shattering experience. Suddenly (I was just standing there minding my own business) I found myself in the middle of a debate between architects and engineers on the question: "Should the storm water from the roof of the new Deaconess Chapter House flow into Manhole No. 15 or Manhole No. 8 on our new campus?" The argument waxed warm and fierce. It was another Suez Canal crisis. I listened carefully, summoned all my seminary training, tried to remember all the Pastoral Conferences I had ever attended—and finally decided in favor of Manhole No. 15. Two days later I learned from an expert that Manhole No. 15 was already over loaded and that my decision had placed half of our new campus under two feet of water permanently. I retired in confusion."