Over the weekend, a friend sent me an email saying that she and her family coveted my prayers. That phrase has been repeating in my head. I like it. I like what it days. I like how it feels. And it's true. I covet your prayers.

Right now, I sit in an airport to depart for a faraway place where I will interview to be their pastor. I had no sound reason to say no when they invited me to come visit. I was too scared to close that door. So now, I sit here wondering what the he'll I'm doing getting on this plane when I don't think this is where I am called. I know that already. Or I think I do.

No. I don't. That's a big lie. I feel so separated from God that I'm not sure how to discern where God is or where I might be lead in God's love. I've never been in this desert. I don't know how to leave. Most of all, I don't know how to be faithful to myself and the church as I try to find my hidden God. It's not that I've stopped praying. I'm praying now as I sit here waiting to board. I'm pleading prayers in a way I don't think I have in years. If ever. Still, I covet those prayers. I need to be buoyed by the faith of others because I can't find my own faith. I so wish that weren't so. I wish I felt that presence that I have known to be good and strange before. But she's not there. Not like she was. So I feel I need the prayers of others. In these next few days, while i interview with a church that seems to have more faith than I do but know less about who they are, I ask for your prayers. I covet them as I try to hear God's voice beckon "Here I am."


Pissed Off

When I was scanning for materials for the upcoming interview, I read this article on The Fake Search.  I didn't really understand it because I honestly couldn't understand how and why you wouldn't know that this was happening.  Well, maybe it did.  Maybe it didn't.

They called yesterday to tell me that they asked another candidate to come and candidate in the end of February. In the UCC, this is the last step. It's extremely rare that a church doesn't vote in wild affirmation of the candidate that has just come to preach on the recommendation of the Search Committee. I'm not sure why they were moving so fast with me, or why they waited until yesterday to cancel the interview. I didn't think to ask those questions on the phone. I can only tell you that I'm back in the saddle and feeling a mixture of grief and heartbreak. Of course, that's to be expected at this time of year.  Next week is my mom's anniversary. Alas.


Creative Questions

On Wednesday, I will have my second interview with my dream church.  Yes.  That means the first interview went really well.  There are no red flags -- which in itself is a red flag for the state of chaos that is most familiar to me in the call process.  Nevertheless, I have a a second interview on Wednesday.  This interview is once again on Skype, but this isn't a normal interview.  My preparation is not only on those basic reminders about interviewing.  This time, I get to lead the interview.  In the words of the search committee chair, "do whatever you want."

I feel I must be creative.  It can't be your average series of questions and conversation.  That would be ordinary.  That wouldn't set me apart.  More accurately, that wouldn't be me.  I like to do things outside the box and this is a perfect opportunity to make that apparent to the search committee.

So, there are some obvious limitations.  It's on Skype.  They sit in a room where they are far away from the camera.  They didn't move around in the last meeting.  They are obviously healthy enough to do so -- but I'm not sure how to use that space when I'm not physically in it too.  There's a time limit which I would expect.  I'm not sure that I could do much more than a 90-minute interview myself.

With these things in mind, I'm pondering how I might be creative in my interviewing.  They've just emerged from a visioning process and are really excited about their new vision.  I'm considering what it might look like to do some visioning together with some of the things that I dreamed of doing with the church I currently serve.  That sounds like it's rushing ahead to the end of the first year of my settled call there, right?  Yeah.  That's why I'm not so sure.  It would have to strike the perfect balance so that the focus is on learning how we innovate, how we might work together and how the congregation does planning.  I need to look through my visioning materials some more.

I'm also considering asking each of the 8 committee members to bring an object that represents change in their church.  (It could represent something else but I'm leaning toward change as I'm really interested in where it is that they want to go in the next 10 years.)  Of course, I would also bring an object too.  With these objects, we'd make our journey together asking what these objects mean, how they relate and how we might use these objects to work toward the change that we imagine.  I can tell you what my object would be.  I will bring the stole that was given to me by a friend in seminary that chose not to be ordained.  He's gay.  He's Presbyterian.  Those are not the only reasons -- but he wasn't ready for the fight.  He didn't feel called to prove his worth.  So, he gave me his stole to wear in protest (as I had done many times in seminary) for the very things he dreams of in the church.  This exercise would really be about making connections to see where our ministry would go together.  My fear in this is that it would totally flop. And then, do I default to a list of questions?  Arg.

I need your help.  Brainstorm with me.  Please.


The Search Goes On

I've been blessed with two rejections.  As you may know, I'm in the search process.  I'm discerning my next call.  I am so ready.  Still, it seems that I get more rejections than anything else. So it is.

Tonight, if you find the space to do so, I would love your prayers.  I will have my first interview with the church that is (quite honestly) my dream church.  It feels rushed and overwhelming.  I really wanted to have another interview out of the way before I met with this committee.  But that's not the way it happened.  They will be my first interview on this new technological frontier.  I am so nervous.  And so excited.  I humbly ask for your prayers.