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Monthly Archives: September 2007

The road ahead

This past week at our regional meeting my process was moved forward with permission given to me by the regional body to be working as an Interim pastor in Quincy Washington. The next step is to meet with an evaluation committee to assess readiness to be officially declared available for a call. I’m relieved to have been provided this bridging opportunity, as considering an official call would be a difficult decision for me to make right now. It would also be difficult to not be employed in ministry of some sort, though I could do it if needed. All those years of preparation and practice and enjoying connecting God and people would be hard to step out of.

The Quincy church and I have been working hard to get the administrative ducks lined up (most of you know how I love bureaucratic hoops) and we have an application in to the US immigration department. Once that is approved I can settle a bit more.

I still plan to apply at one or two larger churches to test the advice I’ve received that my abilities (and shortcomings) suit a larger church better than a small one. I will do that even as the church I’m serving continues to seek a pastor to call.

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2007 in Future, Life unfolding, report on event, update

 

Thoughts on submission

A friend who witnessed some of the proceedings at a regional meeting recently, and who knows my situation a bit echoed what others have said “how can you just take this?” Such comments have led to me to reflect on what may have shaped my surprising-to-me ability to not be outraged and defiant. I am a natural ‘activist’ who readily names injustice and dysfunction in me and the systems around me. How can I be so passive when I appear to be the victim of the injustice?

The reflections that came out of my fingertips hinge on an incident in which I defiantly submitted to God in the face of a tremendous injustice that was partly deserved but still way out of proportion and an outrage. Maybe that story will help me and others understand how I am reacting now to a situation that feels like a type of aftershock of the original jolt.

I can’t pinpoint what brings these things to me. I’d love to think they are because of my shining faithfulness to the call of the gospel, but we all know that is a delusion. It is more likely a side effect of my character flaws, of rough edges about me that provoke certain kinds of people.

Here is the link to that reflection: Defiant surrender

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2007 in Biohistology, Learnings, musing, Reflection

 

Where I’ve been visiting in September

Update on why no updates have been made

I’ve been in a busy time as I’ve been working as pulpit supply for a church that is a five hour drive away from my home. The church is in a small agricultural town (pop 5000). It is in an area known for fruit (apples & grapes) and vegetable (beans, corn, etc) and hay production. If it was not an irrigated area it would be known for sagebrush and not much more. The congregation has about 40-50 people in it’s service on Sunday morning.

The interesting thing is that they phoned me “out of the Blue” in the later part of August asking if I would be interested in and available to be considered for a call. A few people remembered me favourably from the summer I spent there as a student in the early 90’s. Go figure! They heard my first fumbling sermons and remember me positively enough that my name came up when they came to soliciting suggestions from the congregation. (Of course I should not forget that many years have passed and they might have me confused with someone else)

At the time of their initial inquiry I was not willing to consider a long term call that far away, and I was not in a position to feel free to pursue one until various things locally had been clarified or finalized. (This coming week at a regional meeting the final details will be made clear with respect to my departure from my previous congregation and the road ahead should be clearer) In discussions with the people from this faraway church we agreed that I would come and preach for the month of September, until this meeting was done, and then we would talk further. We’ve talked about a minimum of two months and up to a year there as an Interim or transitional pastor. It is an open ended arrangement, which can be ended by either of us with a month’s notice. I conveyed to them I feel I should act on the advice my previous elders gave, namely that with my gift mix (and weaknesses) I would do well in a larger congregation where my preaching & teaching style and content along with my pastoral care skills could be appreciated by more people and my administrative and other weaknesses could be bolstered by other staff. Only if options in that direction neither surface nor work out will I take it as God’s direction to me to ‘specialize’ in small church, despite my shortcomings in living within the expectations of such a context.

So that’s a bit of where I’ve been. The time spent driving back and forth and arranging the other aspects and details of life, along with having no internet connection down there, have contributed to my seeming silence here on the blog.

I fully expect to have more to say towards the end of this week, including more description of the church I am serving now.

On Church evaluation and visiting reports:

I thought I was doing something original in my visits and reports on churches. It turns out, once again, that I am not. Take a look at the site links at the end of this entry and you will find just two places where similar activity is logged on the internet.

http://www.churchrater.com/

http://ship-of-fools.com/Mystery/index.html