Tuesday, March 25, 2008

What Do You Want to Do Today? (Hell if I Know)

Easter is done. Well my work in Easter that is.

This Holy Week was busy- I helped lead the Good Friday worship with the Associate Pastor and we did our famous "tag-team" sermons for Palm Sunday and Easter. For a guy without a call, I have been quite busy.

Being busy has helped me not feel so sorry about myself, but I am still asking some questions and trying to see where the answers are. I am wondering how to live out my call in spite of some obvious obstacles.

About a month ago, I was sitting with a subcommittee of the Committee on Ministry of the Minnesota Conference of the United Church of Christ (trying saying that fast three times). I was seeking what is called "Ordained Ministerial Partner Standing" which is a fancy way of saying that I was seeking standing in the UCC. We Disciples have an agreement with the UCC which allows among many things, exchange of pastors. During the meeting (where I was granted standing, by the way), one of the pastors said very matter of factly, "You know that it will be hard for someone who is black and gay to find a call."

He didn't say that to scare me or discourage me, he simply stating the truth: that many UCC congregations aren't ready for a gay and/or black pastor. I understood, but I have to say I was a bit saddened by that.

As I've made my way these last few years, I have discovered that this whole gay thing has scared some people off from even looking at me. That can be a bit trying. I mean, I don't want to be one of those people who never really gets to express their God-given call.

But while I am determining if people can get past the whole gay thing, I also don't know what I want to do.

There is still a part of me that wants to get back to church planting. I have a heart for it and in a way, it's saying "screw you" to all those that don't want to call me. Every so often I wonder if giving up on Community of Grace was such a good idea. What I do know is at the time when we stopped, I was out of gas and angry for reasons I'd rather not rehash. But what if we gave it a go again?

Then there is part of me that would be happy working as a deacon of sorts; being a bridge between church and world. For a long time, I've tried to describe doing something like this, but never had the words until I read about deacons historically.

Then, there is "door number three" where I am working with a UCC pastor who wants to start a young adult ministry. It sounds intriguging and I'd like to see where that goes.

So, I don't know where I am being led. I am thinking that because of my unique situation, I am going to have to carve out a space for me and hopefully find people willing to help me.

It will be interesting to see where this ends up. Hopefully not a dead end.

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