Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A Good Day

Sunday was a very good day. Part of it had to do with the sermon that I preached. Not that it was necessary all that good of a sermon. But, it was a sermon that I very much needed to hear. It ended up being on the topic of perpetual thankfulness. I'm usually not very good at that. I'm much better at being skeptical, cynical, and generally depressed. But I actually paid attention to my own words this week, and I really have been thankful. It's a good feeling. (If you want to check out the sermon, it's here on the church's new website.)

So, after the sermon, we spent the first part of the prayer time sharing the things that we're thankful for, and it was great! The congregation has been a little down about themselves, and it was great to be sharing joys during the time that we usually share only concerns.

Also, the music in the service was great, we had a visiting YWAM missionary giving a presentation, and there were a bunch of people in worship.

Then we went home and chilled out for a little. I read some Harry Potter.

In the evening we went over to a parishioner's house for a smore party. Several of us just sat around the fire and had a great time. It was the first time that I've been with church folk here and felt like I was just one of the gang. I didn't feel like I was "on." It was really nice to be able to relax a little bit.

So, it was a great day. I really, really enjoyed it.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Target: USA

Not sure why, exactly, but this video from The Daily Show totally had me cracking up.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Over Exposure

So, I've been in Coos Bay for about a month and a half now. In that time, several things have happened. I've had an article written about me in the area newspaper, The World (the greatest piece of journalism ever assembled :-). I've had my broadcast several times on KDOCK radio 92.9, as I am now responsible for Faith Break, a 60-second inspirational spot that runs throughout the day. I've been on KCBY Television Channel 11 with Father Carl speaking about the meaning of the community Hiroshima remembrance that we helped lead. And now both the Conference and the District offices want me to write a newletter article talking about my experience doing Faith Break. I don't think I've ever gotten this much media attention in my life. And what's worse, I can't even enjoy it. The World mysteriously didn't come to our door the one day that I was featured, and I've never managed to catch either a radio or TV broadcast. But people keep telling me that they've seen or heard me in the media, so I must be out there. Anyway, it just kind of cracks me up a little bit.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A Light Emerging

It's been a long road getting here. I'm now a little over a month into my first pastorate. It hasn't been easy at all. It's a good church, don't get me wrong, but there have just been a lot of things to adjust to.

It's quite a transition going from serminary, where collegues abound, to being the solo pastor at a church, where there are no collegues. And it hasn't been made easier by the conference structures. I wasn't assigned a clergy mentor until this week. And the Residence In Ministry group, for clergy in their first or second years, hasn't yet started. And the Colloquay group of clergy in my area is off for the summer. It really would have been nice to have a little more support in the first weeks and months, but apparently that is not how it works. I haven't been completely abandoned, I've had a visit from the DS and a call from the Bishop, but it would have been nice to have the at least one of those three support systems in place right from the start.

And it's been a little lonely here. The church is aging. There really isn't anyone there my age at all. There a less than a handful of youth, and then there are some 40-somethings. And the town of Coos Bay is in about the same shape. It is aging rapidly, and I don't even know where I'd go looking for friends. I was desperate enough to actually go to the mall the other, just to be around younger people, but it didn't help much.

On top of that, I've been in a bit of a spiritual funk. Part of it is moving into full-time pastorate, I'm sure. If I attend any religious service, chances are that I'm leading it, so it's not often all the spiritually filling. And I'm been struggling with my own personal prayer disciplines. And I've just been questioning my call. Pastoring is a lot of hard work, and it's a minefield of mistakes. And with that idealistic, seminarian mind, I had a lot of preasure to "succeed", which by my working definition was probably nothing less than ushering in the Kingdom of God. :-)

So now I'm feeling a little more realistic. I'm feeling good about some of things that are going on here. I've had a few personal successes. I can see some of the new life sprouting forth in the congregation. And I feel more supported. My personal prayers are starting to feel like they mean something again. It's only been about 28 hours, but I'm actually feeling good about the situation, good about life Praise God. And hopefully that can last for a little while before the next major trial comes along.