I seem to have lost the notes that I took at the meeting on Thursday night when my least favorite committee (and ironically the one that is supposed to be my advocate) sat down with me to review the goals that I'd set six months ago. Perhaps it's the hand of God that they are missing -- but I'm going to dinner tonight with the committee chair. He couldn't make the meeting so I offered to reach out to him. I'm super nice like that. I believe it's what that dove did after the flood. Going where no one should ever go to find the impossible.
So, I'm trying to wrap my head around what happened at that meeting. There were a couple things that were really frustrating. Essentially, this is a group of people that can't reflect with me in my problems. They want to solve it. I explained that I'm worried about the youth program and the various reasons that I'm worried about it. I wanted them to tell me that it'll all be well. (I do like Julian of Norwich.) Instead, they wanted to solve the problem. There are other committees for that purpose. There are other people working on that very problem -- but these are members of the church that don't really know how to do anything but solve problems. I don't want them to do that. I just want them to listen. They did the same thing when I tried to articulate my frustration in the shift that we've made in our governance. I feel like I'm carrying a burden that this congregation started before I even arrived -- but I can't solve this problem for them. I can only be the prophet that points to the problem. (I'm a United Church of Christ pastor after all. I'm not running the show.) They may not know enough about Scripture to understand this. They might not even really want the church to be any different than the places of business that employ them. I don't really know. I wanted them to listen and tell them it wasn't for me to hold. Not alone anyway. They didn't. Instead, they swept in and tried to solve the problem.
Then, the meeting ended before this particular church member offered the wisdom that I'm a change agent. "Pastor Peters," she said. "You should see yourself that way. That's why we called you. We expect you to make change." (She was on the search committee but this is a broad statement that I don't think she fully understands.) I joked back. "I'm going to be remembered as the pastor that came in and changed everything." She insisted that wasn't a bad thing, but I just read the series of responses from the survey that will eventually lead to our vision. We are a congregation struggling with change. For many church members, I represent that change. It's my youth. I hate that fact but it's true. I live and breathe change because I'm a young person. Oddly, I'm fairly traditional. I don't read the Bible literally and I certainly don't believe in substitutionary atonement, but I like older forms of worship. I'm really an old lady trapped in the body of a 31 year old. I don't really know what I'm going to share with this committee chair tonight. Maybe I'll just tell him about the change thing and let it be at that. Sigh.