I know that as much as I admire you, all of you have feet of clay (the subject of my first post here, in fact; see http://surpassingglory.blogspot.com/2006/10/heroes-with-feet-of-clay.html). My own feet of clay are most evident in my prayer life -- I long to be an intercessor with intense times of prayer, rather like simmering a good stew for a long time, but fall into a pattern of popcorn or microwave prayer instead -- and in my struggles to eat healthy and exercise.
I used to idealize the "early church" or the "church fathers" ... until a study revealed that the overwhelming majority of letters or addresses to New Testament churches included admonitions to correct something and the church fathers had their own, often large, blind spots.
That's why Scripture is so encouraging to me. It doesn't paint a picture of model Christians that we should all strive to emulate. Instead, it draws a portrait of real people like us, with feet of clay. I am oddly encouraged that Paul corrected Peter (Gal. 2:11-14) and that the church at Corinth was disappointed in Paul's oratory skills, finding him a more powerful writer than speaker (2 Cor. 10:10). When Peter says Paul writes things that are hard to understand (2 Pet. 3:14-16), I wholeheartedly concur and am glad that I'm not alone in those struggles!
Feet of clay, all of them - all of us. Just a reminder that we are "jars of clay" - earthen vessels. Our bodies hold the Holy Spirit, from whom comes all power. Anything we accomplish is of Him and not ourselves ... and the feet of clay that our Christian heroes have is a reminder to me that we are all jars of clay.
In 2008, may all your weaknesses, and those of others, remind you of His surpassing power.