Posts Tagged ‘call’

Another First for the Nation

January 13, 2009
Yesterday I found out a woman, Rev. Sharon Watkins, will preach the inaugural sermon.  And I got pretty excited about it!  So excited in fact that I sent a couple friends a text message, sent an e-mail to a few others, and posted it on my Facebook and Twitter.  For those of you who have read this blog from the beginning, you already know about my journey into ministry thus far and can probably understand why this would be so exciting for me.  For those of you who don’t, I will provide a short summary:

1. Brought up in an agnostic home.
2. Became a Christian at 14.
3. Spent the first 12 years of my life as a Christian in traditions that did not allow women to preach or be in leadership over men.
4. Spent 4 years in the Navy where I questions everything but my salvation.
5. With the help of a few friends and after much reading, I began to discern God’s call on my life and understand I could be faithful to scripture and answer the call God has on my life.
6. Started seminary and began the official process for ordination in my denomination [PC(USA)]

Franklin Circle Church

Photo by: Franklin Circle Church

It’s been a rocky road.  Though I have been supported by many friends and members of my family, I have also been called a backsliding Christian.  I have received a letter of concern for my spiritual well being that included a claim that my actions are hypocritical and in direct contradiction with the Bible.  And I have probably been avoided by others.  All that to say that reading this article made me hopeful.  Hopeful that one day I won’t receive scorn and judgement from my brothers and sisters for answering the call of God on my life to use the gifts God has given me to preach, teach, and pastor.  Hopeful that even if people disagree with me they will be able to see that I am attempting to honor God with my whole being.  And it makes me thankful that President-elect Obama and his staff are attempting to start things afresh instead of following the same actions of those before him just becausse “that’s the way we’ve always done it.”  And it’s nice that they aren’t afraid to do things that have never been done before for fear of how it will affect approval ratings.  It will be nice to see a woman in the pulpit on that special day.  And as an aside, it will nice to see Bishop Robinson there as well.  I pray that all who are participating in this wonderful event will speak of hope in such a way that people will not place theirs in any one person, government, or nation, but in our gracious and loving God.

Alone with God

November 23, 2008

Lately I have been avoiding time alone with God.  I don’t think I have, or could have, a full understanding of the dynamics of the “why” but I have a few clues.

1) I don’t think I really know how to just “be” with God.  I feel like there is always some challenge, some thing to work on, some character flaw to own up to.  I only barely know how to “be” with people and they are physical beings.  Somehow that makes it easier even though it is still amazingly hard for me. 

2) I must admit that I don’t fully trust God.  This is related to number 1.  I don’t trust God because I feel as though when I do I am headed for a huge meltdown because I take on too much.  Case in point, the spring semester.  I feel the call, I answer the call by starting my M-Div, I get burnt out because I am answering the call by taking classes for my M-Div while working full time and then subsequently beat myself about the head for not being able to hack it and sign up for two more classes in the Summer.  If you want to see how that went read this post.

In reality this has very little to do with God and much more to do with me (especially number 2) and my perception of God.  I still perceive God as a task master of sorts even though I know it’s not true.  I still perceive my worth based on what I do and not who I am.

So I didn’t take classes this semester.  It was nice.  And yet it is a bummer that I couldn’t take classses.  That I felt like God didn’t want me to take classes.  It’ very confusing.  I don’t feel like I am supposed to take classes this Spring either.  I thought maybe I would take just one but looking at the list made me feel awful.  Which brings me back to God.  I don’t understand what God is doing.  I try to think of him as my bridegroom but instead I think of him as more of a parent.  And yes, God is described using language of both of these human relationships, but I am not married and have never been in a long term committed relationships so I think maybe I default to the “parent” mentality.  You know, the God who makes you do things even though you don’t want to and doesn’t explain things to you when you ask “why” other than to say “Because I told you to.”  Even if God responds a bit more on the “nice” side and says “because i have asked you to,” it’s still the same progression. 

I want to snuggle up to God as a lamb who knows the Lion could eat it but won’t because the Lion is powerful but good.  I want to feel safe in God’s presence.  I want to feel loved in God’s presence.  I want to feel as though I am God’s beloved.  I want to be myself and stop trying to be everything else.  God…where are you?  I am afraid of life.  I am afraid of living.  I am afraid of lonliness.  Please come save me from myself.

Sincere Concern

November 13, 2008

I received the following message on Facebook today.  I am glad he wrote since he is communicating sincere concern for my spiritual well being.  And I am thankful that though he is concerned, he is not yet judging me.  I admit I say “yet” because I feel the judgement will be forthcoming when I answer. 

Please pray with me that I will answer him in a loving way and that I will be able to communicate my understanding of women in ministry in a way that he might acknowledge the possibility that his understanding is lacking.  And may each word reflect the fact that mine is as well.

Sara,

I have to ask you a question, because I know you have been a great sister to me over the years and hopefully I have been a good brother to you. I have been meaning to write you for awhile but kept putting it off. I am very concerned about the path you are on with seeking to preach to God’s people. How have you justified preaching to men biblically?

I believe God has put a strong passion in your heart for truth and have always appreciated it, but to ignore the bible, and then to preach from the bible is hypocritical. I know your heart, which is why I can write this and know that you will not be too defensive. Please help me understand what you are thinking?

In Christ,
Concerned Brother

Just so you know, I’m not freaking out about all this but it is discouraging and disheartening.  I think maybe that communicating that discouragement to others will keep me from getting militant and defensive.  I think it will keep me humble.  The call that God has on my life is God’s.  I can say it is “my call” only because God has “given” it to me.  But in a very real way it is God’s call which means I don’t need to fight for it.  I need only live it out.

The Call

November 5, 2008

There are many calls in life.  Lots of this blog has been about my call into ministry.  Tonight I feel a different call.  I feel a call to be an American.  This is a call I am familiar with, but this time it looks different.  It looks a lot different.  It is not a call to dominate or subdue.  It is not a call to rule or look down our collective noses at the less fortunate.  It is a call to something greater.  It is a call to unite as a nation.  And while I must admit I am a bit apprehensive about the hope encapsulated in this call, I am hopeful non-the-less. And my hope is that we might be able to taste a little bit more of God’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven as we choose to love our neighbor despite their differences and reach out to those who need a helping hand.  Socialism?  Nahhh…just good old fashioned loving our neighbors with equality and mutuality as our bottom line.  Yes we can.