Monday, July 12, 2010

Missing My Calling?

I'm pleased to report that all went well with my supply preaching yesterday. Several parishioners told me that I had missed my calling, and several others asked me why I didn't become a preacher right now. "Because it would take many years of school," I replied.

That's the easy answer. The other reasons: The nearest Lutheran seminary is in Columbia, South Carolina, but I'd probably want to go to the one in Chicago, and moving to Chicago scares me far more than going back to school. I've never lived in a place with real winters. I'd rack up lots of debt, with an uncertain career future afterwards.

But the real reason I don't want to pursue this midlife career change is that I don't want to deal with all the other things a parish pastor must deal with: building issues, difficult people, budget issues.

Still, it's nice that people didn't come up to say, "You were AWFUL. You make us really appreciate our regular pastor."

We did find out what life would be like if we didn't have a bread-baking pastor. When I handed out the pre-sanctified, crispy waferlike bread discs, several parishioners visibly recoiled. I understand that many cloistered orders make their money by making these communion wafers, but they bear no resemblance to bread, which in some ways, makes us lose key connections in the sacrament. Or maybe I'm the only one thinking these things.

I did enjoy the opportunity to be a pastor for a morning. I continue to have these moments where I wonder if I have indeed missed my calling. My spouse was on a path to seminary until he went to college, met me, and explored other options when I didn't want to be a pastor's wife. I'm still not sure I want to be a pastor's wife in the traditional sense. But to be part of a pair of pastors? That might be an interesting thing to ponder. If only we could find a seminary with a 2-for-1 special.

Lutherans headed to seminary in my college days would have been expected to be able to talk about when God first called them to this work. These days, I'm not sure God operates in that way. I do think the Holy Spirit nudges us. But I also believe that God can use us in the transformation of creation no matter where we are. Well, during good weeks at work, I believe that. During bad weeks, I wonder if the Holy Spirit has stopped nudging and started pushing me in another direction.

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