Friday, January 11, 2008

Joys of Ministry

There are some joys I didn't know to anticipate when I went into the ministry. I experienced some today at our lectionary group. We have been spending our hour together talking more about the problems of poverty and homelessness on the island than about the scriptures of the week. And the joy I found in noticing that shift in our conversation was quiet and unexpected; I don't know whether my presence has had anything at all to do with it, except, perhaps, to change the balance of orthodoxy. Perhaps the more social-action-oriented pastors see me as a fellow advocate for social action. Last year, it was pretty much all Bible all the time. This year it's different.

At our lunch yesterday, we had one brave soul show up, the longtime pastor of the Assembly of God church, though the word was that others would have been there, including the pastor who was shy of me last year, except that travel or other obligations intruded. We decided we would get together every few months to discuss common cause, so perhaps we will be able to build bridges. And another unexpected quiet joy came as we all held hands for our grace before the meal and I felt included, accepted, a member of the collegial group serving South Whidbey Island.

I don't feel a need to argue about theology; I don't feel uncomfortable even when "in Jesus' name" we prayed; I offer my particular wisdom when it feels appropriate and let them discuss their insights without comment, and I find joy when they say something pretty orthodox and I can see what they mean. Bricks and steel like this build the bridges I'm hoping for.


laura said...

Oh, Ms. Kitty, I understand your sentiments more than you realize... it's been a long walk to get to a similar ecumenical stance - especially for a dyed-in-the-wool atheist. But, these days I am so much more willing to *listen* and work at the job of building those bridges made of multifaceted bricks and steel than I had ever thought possible. And the work itself is so gratifying and soul-satisfying that it seems hard to imagine *not* doing it - and smiling and laughing and crying through the whole process with those people of faith I am coming to love so dearly.

::::hugs:::: I fiercely love you for what you are doing - and how you are going about it. Soldier on!

LinguistFriend said...

Kit, of course you are particularly qualified to carry
out that role, not only because of what you absorbed on many levels from your father, but also because of your character, which still would be pastoral even if you weren't a minister. That is partly the counselling training coming through, I think; once people get into it, they can't stop, because it makes the person want to open, as you illustrate.

ms. kitty said...

Dear Laura and LF,
Thanks for your kind words and encouragement. I realize this is a different approach than many UU ministers take, doubtless for many reasons. But it's the path I feel called to take and I'm glad it's such a source of joy.

Mile High Pixie said...

Yay! indeed, helping those in need requires no particular theology except that of concern for one's fellow humans. Right on!