Apparently, Little Mary and I have some of the same goals. She is trying to be more intimate. I refuse to have a roommate -- but I have the same goal. I have been taking risks with what I share with church people and even friends about my own personal life. I've been thinking about this since my colleague often preaches about his family life. Lots of preachers do this. I don't. I don't know why. I'm not sure I'm ready to do that in the pulpit. But, there are certainly small moments I can share things with the people I serve -- like admitting that I'm having a bad day or saying that something bugged me (because it did).
At out Pastor Parish Relations Committee meeting, the committee teased me for how I begin worship. I stole something I really liked from Rev. Ez who invited the community to begin by finding their breath. So, I do this every week. I paused to pray before the meeting began -- and the whole group started exaggerating their breath. I laughed. It was rather wonderful.
This idea of intimacy is particularly interesting given my thoughts about preaching next week on Genesis 12:1-9. To me, this is a story not only about beginnings -- but how we create family. I read this text and instantly thought about what is happening in California and that article that appeared in the New York Times Magazine a few weeks ago. So, I'm thinking about preaching about marriage -- which has become a bad word in my mind.
However, to do this, I have to talk about my own stuff. I will talk about my strange family and how that forms my understanding of marriage. That's not so intimate to me. The part that will be hard not to prevent from creeping into the sermon is my own forlorn anxiety that I will never get to have that family I celebrate in the union of others. This has no business if my sermon. It shouldn't be there. It won't be there. But, it will be hard. I think I will do it anyhow, but it will be hard.