6.01.2005

No Easy Answers

I am entering into my last year of theological education before being launched into the world outside of these safe ivory towers that I presently call home. Perhaps this is true for any life experience, but I'm caught in this place where I feel like I should know more. I should have more experience. I should have righted more wrongs in the world. It's the impossible place of a justice-seeking overachiever. There is always something more to do. Entering into this last summer before the "real" world, I am filled with all of these questions of what I must do before I complete my seminary education. This is what primal screams are made of. What experiences do I need to be an effective pastor? What knowledge do I need to gain? And yet, it seems that these are questions that will fill my whole ministry. There will always be something new that God is doing. There will always be some new, creative and wondrous way to experience God. There will always be a new circumstance that challenges how we know God. Of course, I am bold and naive enough to believe that I can answer all of these questions in the next 12 months.

You should scream at that -- or perhaps laugh. Or maybe it is more appropriate to cry. That sort of cockiness doesn't make me any better than the pastors in the South and the Midwest that think that they have a monopoly on God. No one can really own God -- I don't care what you think about the filibuster. God can lead you. But, go back to the Bible. Let's look again at what prophecy looks like.

Anyhow, prophecy aside, I'm trying to understand where God is leading me. I'm trying to understand how I can say "Here I am Lord" like my man Isaiah. This past year, I was a Pastoral Associate at a church on the Upper East Side (which is a fancy way of saying that I was an intern). I completed my service to that community a month ago. Though I'm not sure if service is ever complete, I felt that God was leading me somewhere new. There was more of God's work that I had to experience. My prayer has lead me to believe that I was to focus on my studies in the next year -- this last year in seminary. But, God apparently had something else in mind as She steered me back to the Upper West Side. It wasn't something that I was looking for. But, I am keenly aware of my call to step out of the pews.

So yesterday I found myself at a second inteview for ministerial position at a church on the Upper West Side of our great city. I am not sure what I am looking for. It seems that this opportunity would be ideal. I could wax on and on about dream jobs -- as much as I could talk about an ideal church. I'm not sure that either of these things exist. I do know that there is something -- something that I hesitate to name -- about this church. I know that there is something about this position that delights and inspires me. But, does that mean that that is where God is leading me?

It doesn't answer my questions or clarify my confusion. It doesn't make the tough questions any easier to answer. I don't know where God is leading me. I'm not sure what will happen next year. I'm not sure what will happen tomorrow. I only know that I need to listen. I need to listen with my whole heart. Perhaps easy answers will emerge.

1 comment:

kathy said...

i am entering my last year in the masters of divinity program at st john's university. i identified with much of what your saying. i too feel there must be more to learn and also that i am ill prepared to minister to anyone or answer any calls.

maybe the answer is in the trying.

kathy