I was asked to talk about myself at a meeting.
Clergy like to talk about themselves.
I'm not immune; but, these days, only when it illustrates something/Someone more important.
It turned out to be a great meeting and I felt hopeful for my particular part of the franchise for the first time in a long time.
Because I was the last batter up, I had a lot of time to think about it; expecting to start from the cloud of unknowing with a quote from one of my favorite songs: "My life is changing in so many ways. I don't know who to trust anymore. There's a shadow running through my days like a beggar going from door to door" (Neil Young, 1971).
Well, the two guys preceding me took a long time and I decided to say after looking around at the faces betraying increasing impatience, "After being around for such a long time, I know I'm called to what I do and have no resentments or doubts; though I have some regrets...like never spending Mother's Day or Father's Day with my parents for over four decades."
They paid attention.
That's what empathy does.
If folks weren't so antsy, I would have started, "October 2011 changed my life."
Then I would have started with Eugene saying sometime during those days alongside Flathead Lake in Montana, "It's not what you are doing but who you are in doing it."
I would have gone on, "While Jesus saved me - providing confident living in the assurance of paradise immediately after the last breath - long before October 2011, I discovered vocational clarity and a strong calm sanity that had eluded me. I became more intimate with Jesus than ever before and anger disappeared. My gut as well as head and heart wanted reconciliation."
I would have talked about reading Matthew 15 where Jesus talks about people who elevate traditions to the commandments of God in violation of the big ten and Matthew 24 where He ripped new ones for clergy; and confessed I don't know how I missed those courses on pastoral ministry as I have enabled what evoked so much of His disdain.
Psalm 23, Matthew 10, and John 10 would have been referenced as guiding principles for undershepherding to the Good Shepherd; talking about the difficult yet necessary balance of being tough-minded and tender-hearted while guiding and protecting sheep from wolves.
Psalm 62 would have been the closing exclamation: "It's easy to remember. 6+2=8. We're often behind the eight ball in life and ministry; and the only One who can really be counted on whenever, wherever, whatever, whyever, and with whomever is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God alone saves!"
I think that's more important than talking about...
Blessings and Love!
Shatter the sound of silence!
Wake up! Look up! Stand up! Speak up! Act up for Jesus!
Salt! Shine! Leavenate!
Yes, mes amis, Jesus rips new ones in Matthew 23...was thinking about Don Norek or something...
Woke up to that song many a morning as a sophomore in college. The shadow is still there.
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