When Jesus spoke to Nicodemus about eternal life, he didn’t emphasize the “eternal,” but rather the “life.” He spoke of being “born again”—a term that has become a catchphrase, but which in Jesus’ message was a single step onto a new path. Jesus’ call was not to take an oath or sign a pledge, but to live a new life, one that would unfold endlessly, reborn each day.
In Behind the Stole, pastor Jim Burd shares the re-births of his own life: from the lonely Arkansas boy who found solace in a Milwaukee church after his mother’s death; to his calling to the ministry; from his service as a student pastor in poor, rural Kentucky churches; to his social and political awakenings. In sharing his life with readers, Jim seeks not to say, “Here is how to think,” but rather, “Here is one example of how re-births have blessed a life.” He recounts his experiences not as a model, but as an invitation.
James K. Burd attended Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky, and Garrett Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. He has served churches in the Wisconsin towns of Sussex, Burlington, Roberts, and Williams Bay, as well as in Fort Wayne, Indiana. In 2006, Jim was asked by the Wisconsin Conference, UCC, to serve as the Interim Association Minister for Southeast Wisconsin. Today, he and his wife Elaine are active members of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Burlington. The couple has nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.