Ham of Excellence


It is time – indeed, well past time – for us to acknowledge another example of Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence.   Our latest HOE is a tireless advocate for truth, compassion, and understanding. In fact, I do not think he stops to eat or sleep in his drive to bring enlightenment and kindness to our very, ummmm enlightenmentally-challenged area. Oh yes, people – in addition to being a HOE, this person is also a local WIN and we are very, very lucky to have him around.

I present to you the latest recipient of the SLF Ham of Excellence:

The Reverend John Shuck of the First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton.

This man has not only challenged my thinking on what organized religion can do (i.e., something other than judgment, inadvertent wrong, and outright evil), he shows just what good we can attain if we have the balls and conviction to be unconventional and honest. Did you ever think you could walk into a southern church – hell, any church – and hear a sermon on “Better Living Through Evolution?”  How many ministers do you know who are active in PFLAG? When was the last time you saw your preacher at a pro-healthcare reform rally?

Now, my opinions on what Jesus is/was about are based pretty much entirely on Jesus Christ Superstar. I like the whole ‘do unto to others’ thing. And the idea of sticking to an incredible unpopular (and fatal) viewpoint because you *know* in your heart that it is the right thing to do is really fundamentally cool. But the Jesus in my mind would probably be heartbroken if he saw and heard some of the shit that was/is done in his name. However, I usually keep these opinions to myself because (1) I am not a Christian and (2) most Christians seem to be just thrilled with the status quo.

So imagine how amazing it is to meet someone who truly embodies what Jesus is supposed to be about. It’s enough to make a southern female lawyer think about going to church. Which, as someone who has never gone to any church/temple/religiousgathering in her entire life and is fairly certain said building will erupt in flames should she enter, is a pretty big freaking deal.

So, thank you John Shuck for existing. You sir, are truly a Ham of Excellence.


  1. Snad said,

    February 15, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    Hey! Thanks for calling out Rev. John! I met him when he and some other First Presbies showed up at the “anti-troop surge” protests we organized down on North Roan in 2007. If you hunt around on Shuck and Jive, I’ll bet you can even find a video of his great speech he made at the 9/07 rally at ETSU!

    But, just to warn you, it isn’t the first time he’s been called a ham.

  2. Dr. Monkey said,

    February 16, 2010 at 1:33 am

    I like John and I like his views on things, but I’m still not going to church.

  3. February 16, 2010 at 8:10 am

    […] The Southern Female Lawyer is giving an award (called the Ham of Excellence) to progressive Presbyterian minister John Shuck, who she says has challenged her and she likes what she sees. Shuck is behind the blog Shuck and Jive out of Elizabethton. […]

  4. john shuck said,

    February 16, 2010 at 9:21 am

    Wow! I am humbled and honored to be a ham of excellence (or any pork product for that matter). That is very, very nice. You made my day! Thank you!

  5. Liz said,

    February 16, 2010 at 10:44 am

    I agree, SFL. John is a true inspiration to all of us and an excellent choice for HOE!

  6. August 9, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    Hey, I added your link: https://southernfemalelawyer.wordpress.com/2010/02/15/ham-of-excellence to my site under the title Ham of Excellence SouthernFemaleLawyer.

  7. September 1, 2011 at 12:20 am

    Hey, I added your link: https://southernfemalelawyer.wordpress.com/2010/02/15/ham-of-excellence to my site under the title Ham of Excellence SouthernFemaleLawyer.

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