Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Is everything as you expected?

It seems like I am having epiphanies on a regular basis as of late. Maybe epiphany is a too strong a word. Realization might be more apt. This would make sense if you understood how different my life is now than just a short time ago.

In my years as a pastor on the university campus, I always carried this stigma of feeling like a ginsu knife salesman. Sure I was free to be there with my wares, but did anyone really want what I was selling? I never really felt a part of the community as a whole. Even though administrators might give lip service to the value of religious groups, I always got the feeling that our presence was obligatory at best.

I’ve flogged myself with the bible passage about being in the world but not of it whenever I confronted this feeling of disconnect and assumed I was supposed to revel in my lack of being accepted by folks with whom I interacted. This world is not our home after all and we should be glad that we feel rejected.

But I was never good at this disparity in my vocation as ministry. On the one hand I had the need to feel good about my work and yet on the other I knew my significance should rest in something deeper than that. I never knew how much this affected my self esteem while I was in the midst of it, but now that my day to day life is just the opposite, the contrast is startling.

Now I get to meet people everyday who have somehow heard about my work and come to find me. I don’t have to get up in the morning wondering if I will have a place to meet and gather in or be in threat of being shut down because I am too loud or because we were double booked with another preferable group. No, I have a little spot out of which I get a deep sense of satisfaction, not unlike some of the best days in campus ministry.

I guess what I am saying is that I love what I do today as much as I loved the best parts about collegiate ministry. Some might look at me and think the two are somehow different. It might appear that I have fallen in love with the things of this world and have taken my hand from the proverbial plough. Could I be guilty of giving up eternal for temporal ones by giving up the guitar and taking up the chef knife?

Maybe its not you I’m cooking for.

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