In the shadows my former self watches this current person, every so often wondering if my assumption God would use me to transform people and society arrogant! Was it arrogant? Not in the least! That’s exactly why people do authorized ministry, credentialed teaching, (sometimes) law and related jobs. Recently on my theology blog I wrote, the desert’s precariousness, life-giving and transformative austerity; I’ve been living in a series of phenomenological deserts as well as metaphorical ones, and the true devastation has been the wasted gifts and education and my resulting sense of worthlessness, loss and betrayal.
these days as I’m in discernment...
It’s not about the what of my call but rather about the how. Sometimes I visually recite a series of images of locales where I’ve lived and served; here’s part of my places list, which also is a partial list of my qualifications for multicultural ministry:
- Inner-city Boston during the years of school desegregation, racial strife and violence, block-busting, white flight, redlining, residential and commercial conflagrations.
- Boston’s North End; though the neighborhood had a few students and working yuppies, culturally it was mostly Italian and Italian-American.
- San Diego North County, which for me was like anthropology field work as well as being the time of the greatest professional, spiritual and personal growth imaginable.
- Back to Massachusetts, to Dorchester (and admittedly the only time I’ve spent in exactly the setting I’d been preparing for); it was multicultural, multiracial, multiethnic, multi-economic and multigenerational.
- Massachusetts also meant Cambridge and Harvard Divinity School!
- High Desert City; post-Semi-Affluent Suburban UCC, I got close to an insider look at the Latter-day Saints church and also had awesome experiences playing the piano, eating and partying with the Tongan United Methodists.
- Back to the East Coast, I spent some unclear time with the ELCA, where I began learning Caribbean culture and food. Part of my excitement about possibly returning to Boston from San Diego and getting involved there as worship specialist was about drawing on the knowledge, experience and expertise I already had and exploring a new culture.
- Possibly write some grant proposals and do some correlated recreational or educational program development for friends’ or colleagues’ churches;
- Probably be a frequent guest organist;
- Play a dozen or so solo organ or piano recitals each year; regularly accompany vocal recitals;
- Other things I haven’t even imagined.
- A pastor colleague from a different denom: “You’re not going to be popular: you’re too passionate, you see too clearly; you need to stay in the inner city, where people have no time for anything but the truth.”
- The same guy again: “A person can live with only so much irresolution and you’re really pushing the limits.”
- However, it’s almost like a human hierarchy: bright, accomplished people seem to think I’ve cool and accomplished, while others don’t exactly think so at all.