Sunday, July 24, 2011

Being a Pastor...

I don't think I've ever really shared much about my journey into ministry here on this blog. Part of that is because this blog started as a pregnancy blog, which was directly preceded by my infertility blog (which was private) and during our infertility my faith was shaken to its core.

Again, I didn't write much about that because I was in divinity school trying to answer questions about my call to ministry and what my future plans were and I was so mad at God I wanted to run down the street and apply for law school (as if I had a prayer of actually getting into Yale Law but I sometimes wandered the halls and dreamed haha). Through a lot of soul searching I've made peace with my anger at God surrounding our infertility in part because of the work of Serene Jones and in part because of my growth as a Christian. IF still sucks but God thinks it sucks too, so we're friends again :~) (That sounds more flippant than I mean it to be, but it's a pretty concise understanding of where I'm at with the whole thing).

I first felt a call to ministry when I was really young, around 7. Which of course I know only in hindsight but it was there inside and as I grew and was mentored my faith and my call grew. Primarily I accepted my call to ministry because it's a means for me to do the work of social justice. There are so many justice issues in the world that need a progressive voice (can I just add yay New York and the same-sex marriages taking place today. Those pictures make my heart happy and make me wish I was still on the east coast so I could celebrate and offer support to all those couple. Maybe CA will get its act together again soon). and passion behind them and for me it was either law or ministry. Ministry eventually won out.

I write all of this ramblings because of an email I received this morning. While I was at Yale I was awarded a scholarship that was endowed and named for a man who is an alumnus of YDS and I had the privilege of meeting him and thanking him for making my education possible. Since that time back in 2008 at the end of my first year, we've corresponded back and forth.
Me and Richard back in 2008 when we met. He was so funny he wanted to take a picture so his wife could see what I looked like. 

I recently wrote to him to tell him of my new appointment as a pastor at a church and I loved his response to me. He wrote:

Being a pastor is a unique calling/vocation. Among all the professions, it is the one that probably engenders the most trust on the part of others from the first contact on. Pastors don’t have to earn trust, rather they have to show why they can’t be trusted. They relate to people of every age and in every stage and condition of life. They can intervene when they see a need for intervention whether in personal, marital, social, civic and all other situations.  There is no other profession that has that authority or responsibility.  And, to think that we also have the responsibility and authority to speak for God. It is awesome. I hope that you will have a very satisfying ministry as well as a productive one for God.
For me this sums up what I'm trying to do. I realize I am tasked with an incredible responsibility and it's one that I take seriously. I am so appreciative of his kind words and his support (he too is a pastor, although now long retired). I love when I meet others in the profession who are not burnt out but instead can see the value of the work I'm trying to do and encourage me to do it.

It was a nice start to my Sunday after a particularly bad saturday and a struggle with my sermon.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing part of your story.

Like I told you before, I have a good friend from college who is in divinity school currently. Her journey has been incredible.

I think it is nothing short of a miracle that the Lord has a plan for all of us and often we may know part of that plan or be interested in our life long calling early on in our childhood.

Aren't you glad you have that photo? His letter is so well written.

Carlita said...

What a fantastic post. I'm glad you shared this and I couldn't agree more with the need to mix vocation and progressive values. Now, if you can clone yourself a few thousand times.....