Monday, August 14, 2006

Ministry and the "Second Face"

Here's something I encountered along the way in my "ministry as profession" career. Somewhere I realized that I had developed a "second face" as a result of my position. This second face was the professional side of ministry. To be professional is to not let personal issues prevent one from carrying out the duties of the office. (This was Bill Clinton's defense). I wore the second face up front often, but when I would try and revert to the original face, I found some people wanted to relate to the other. Now the second face doesn't have to mean one lives a drastic double life, where a sinister darkenss is being masked from everyone. It can be very subtle, which is what I felt mine was. Bottom line, it felt like I had to hide something out of fear of getting caught and losing my job. One "second face" issue was alcohol. I really enjoy beer and wine and I've even taking to brewing my own, simply because I love the process of creating something beautiful from a raw product. Cooperating with the natural process of fermentation (which I assume God created), I am fascinated at turning grapes or grain into a completely different result. This is my first face. But the tradition that I grew and worked in had a completely different view, so I was not free to explore this unless I was to hide it. This meant that I would have a beer with dinner only when I knew I wouldn't get caught, like when I was out of state or country. I started feeling like a phony. Now I understand the exhortation to not let freedom be a stumbling block for someone weaker, and fully try and apply that, but what I did not like was this "second face" that I felt I had no choice but to wear. I hope this does not sound like defense of alcohol, because the "second face" could be a requirement of anything that does not fit into the norms or mores of a community of faith. Jesus calls us to be free, not to have to hide out of fear. That freedom needs to have a positive direction to it. (I am free, therefore I........) Often, freedom is followed by a condition (I am free, but....). It is this condition that usually demands a "second face."

7 comments:

GuyMuse said...

I've enjoyed reading through several of your posts. I "discovered" you by reading one of your comments on Stepchild's blog. Keep writing, it is refreshing reading!

Watchman said...

guymuse

thanks!

watchman

Bryan Riley said...

It was the second face that drove me from secular to ministry and drove you the other way. :) ironic. Of course, I believe that anytime we aren't headed the way God directs it will result in such instability that can only be "righted" by jumping off the boat to Spain into the belly of a whale...

I also thought of James talking about the double minded man.

Watchman said...

good point. i'm just more familiar with people who went your direction rather than mine.

thanks for your comments.

Bryan Riley said...

I've known many who've gone the direction you have, and, what is interesting, is that often the same reasons drive both journeys. It often takes a humbling experience, good, bad, or ugly.

Watchman said...

yup, and I've had my share of those.

Randy said...

You know, i think that what you have said here is exactly what has made me glad in recent years that I didn't go the same route, into professional ministry. I knew that there were things that i thought were legitimate, that the brothers (mainly) in control of things wouldn't think were legitimate. Ultimately, this very issue, alcohol, kept me out of mission board. Their call, not mine, but I am glad they made it.