Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Remembering Pastor Bob

I read with sadness this morning that my friend and colleague, Bob Campbell, died on July 9th. "Pastor Bob" was a regular commenter on Shuck and Jive. You will find his comments on many of my posts.

Bob was the pastor of the Tully Memorial Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia and he blogged at Pastor Bob's Musings.

I first met Bob in 1992 when I was ordained in Utica Presbytery. At the time, Bob was the pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Oneida, NY. I remember taking an instant liking to Bob and our congregations combined to share in youth events.

Bob had a strong evangelical voice. I was on the opposite end on matters regarding sexuality and was far more liberal theologically. Usually on issues of war, peace, and economics, we shared many concerns. Bob was a good conversation partner because he was respectful and filled with good humor.

When Bob discovered I was blogging he reached out to me and we started a series, "Conversations With Bob" that ran through the summer of 2007. From July 11 through November 10th Bob and I made 90 posts together. We discussed Bible, Jesus, theology, sexuality, and shared our life stories. You can read the conversation by clicking the label Conversations With Bob.

Bob and I had our differences. The conversation came at a pretty rough time. The blog wars were hot and heavy and much of the conversation in the denomination (including mine) was pretty snarky. The series ended when Bob was upset about things that I had said about the New Wineskins, a group that sought to break away from the PC(USA).

But we got back together again. The official "conversation with Bob" had ended but we kept in contact. Bob commented frequently and corrected my "heresies". Bob was always gracious and encouraged me to be a bit more gracious to my opponents as well. I could probably do well to heed his advice more than I have.

Bob was a colleague in ministry and that says a lot in our time.

This is a sad day. My condolences to his wife, Debby, and family.

Thank you Bob, for the conversation. You will be missed, my friend.


  1. Wow. Hadn't heard this. Very sorry to lose him. He was, as you say, a great conversation partner.

  2. Yeah. This is sad news. I was just thinking about him the other day; it had been quite a while since we had heard from him. I don't think he let on that he was ailing, which is too bad.

    Thanks for the nice post about Pastor Bob.

  3. I remember the "conversations with Bob" series. I think that's when I first found your blog.

    I liked Bob. He was rational and not given to histrionics. He recognized the difference between opinion and fact, rhetoric and argument, conversation and mud slinging. He always picked the high road.

    Blogs are such a handicapped media for getting to know someone. All you see is a written persona through a distorting lens. But you could tell he was motivated by love, and I think I would have liked him in person. And I am sorry not to have gotten to know him on a more personal level.

    My condolences to his wife and family and friends.


  4. Like John I was Bob's colleague and friend for several years in Utica Presbytery. And I agree with everything John said about Bob. I really liked him. And he really liked me. And we disagreed on a lot but with amazing respect and humor and gentleness. I loved his enthusiasm, his passion for ministry and his compassion for humanity. I enjoyed his frequent comments here and on a very conservative blog I used to frequent but that blogger could not deal with differences with humility and patience. Bob could.

  5. Most unfortunate. Seemed like a good guy.

    Respects to his family and friends.

  6. Thanks all, for your comments. I liked Bob and didn't realize that he was ill.