Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Poorly Developed

This photo bears no resemblance to either the current geography of Princeton nor the title of this post. Bridgette took this amazing photo down by the canal a couple weeks ago. Now, we're in the middle of a "heat" wave where during the day we're hitting 60's but of course all the leaves are gone - it's wierd. Also, the title has to do with the fact that although there's been time, I'm not sure if I can articulate some of what I'd been thinking earlier, any better than before.

About 2 weeks ago I had a couple meetings with some churches about positions they're looking to fill, positions I would be available for upon Graduation (and completion of my Internship/CPE @ TPH, passing final assessment in January, etc). I can't tell you how many times I get asked by my non-PC(USA) friends what happens next, and I have to explain to them where I am in the process. From my end I'm feeling good. I passed all my Ordination exams 1st try (by God's grace alone) and I'll be ordainable by graduation as long as everything goes smoothly in my January 27 meeting back in LA. I have other friends that aren't in those boats. And yet, as I explain for the umpteenth time just all the pieces that must fall into place by June when our housing runs out... Let's just say it's a little different than some others...

But it was a very interesting week when I skipped 2 classes to meet with people, talking about being a pastor, about possibly being one of THEIR pastors. I was reminded that I'm spending 3 years here for a purpose that looks very different from the actual time I spend here. You read & write, discuss & argue, dissect & deconstruct - and you're supposed to come out the other end able to apply constructively to real people in their real lives in a manner that is helpful and hopefully moving towards some kind of a positive outcome. So when I sat down and tried to answer "what would you do with a subdivision where 150 families live 20 miles from the church that is not easily accessible..." or "how do you make Jesus relavent to a 13yr old who only sometimes wants to go to Youth Group and doesn't know what he believes..." well, it reminded me that what I do here isn't always a 1:1 with what I'm expected to do in a few months out there. Just like the Bible - it must be translated.

Now, I'm absolutely psyched about getting out there, getting out of here. I've loved it here, I've loved the people. I've loved the opportunity to set aside time to read, study & think which never would have happened had I been doing fulltime work at the same time. But I'm absolutely ready to get back out there, in the parish, interacting with people & actually living this stuff again. Not that I haven't been here... but as I've said, it's different. Being PC(USA) of course I sometimes wonder exactly what kind of church I'll be returning to - in tatters... I dunno. But that's for another post.

What's kind neat is that I have two main requirements for next semester - a Pastoral Care class and an Education class. Both Practical Theology classes, both, hopefully, very focused on what I'll actually be DOING when I get out of here. That combined with doing an internship, and I'm really set up to be slowly shifting my thinking from hypothetical to the real nitty gritty of ministry. There's only 6-7 months left before I'll be in a church again, and I'm very much looking forward to it. And I think this Spring semester will be a great preparation for it too. Now, if I can just get all that I need done for this semester in these next 2 months...

3 comments:

Lars Rood said...

Don- Congrats again. I'm really glad to see you finishing up and being ordainable. I think back to that meeting we had with junior high parents years ago where they weren't to happy with me and I want to say look what Don has done. I still wish I'd handled the whole thing better but I don't question that this was the right thing for you to go and do. Please keep me posted about your job hunting. I'm in a big process with a Presbyterian Church in Washington right now. They're flying us up for the weekend.

Praying for you

theonegoing said...

Remember, quote Karl Barth at length to youth group kids... they love it.

Anonymous said...

I say quote Moltmann - he's more fun than Barth!