Monday, August 9, 2010

Clergy Burnout . . .

Today when I got home from a short visit with my Mom and sister
there were two E-mails from folks who will be co-residents in the program in Clinical Pastoral Education I will be entering the end of the month . . . both were about clergy and burnout . . . then someone else posted an article she had written last month for the Huffing ton Post -- also on clergy burnout.
I am not sure that I am suffering from burnout, but family and friends this weekend suggested that I was . . .that this break will be good for me. I am thinking at this moment that not going back to the parish as a pastor would be a good thing for me . . . not that I didn't love being a pastor and not that I wasn't good at being a pastor . . . of course, I had my quirks -- we all do . . . but I think that finding a church at my age who has a compatible vision for ministry will be extremely hard.
I am in my 5th decade . . . some folks find this hard to believe . . . on good days, so do I . . . I am also a woman . . . even though, I do not believe this should make a difference to Churches, the reality is that it does, esp for those in the South where I have chosen to live . . . I am also single . . . again, this shouldn't make a difference, but the reality is that it does -- I think on two levels -- 1) many churches are suspicious of single women (I was at the last church for two weeks when a woman came in, she said she was sent, to ask if I were a lesbian. I asked if this would make a difference? "No, not to me, but to the church, yes.") and 2) because a person is single the church believes that they will get more bang for their buck (now this is also true if you are married as they expect the spouse to play an active role in the life and ministry of the church -- not because God is calling them to this necessarily, but because their spouse if the pastor.)
So I am taking a break -- further education and training . . . and a time for discernment . . . working to find out where God is calling me next on this journey . . . excitement is growing as the start date nears . . . praying that as pieces have fallen together in the last several weeks they will continue to fall together giving me a glimpse of where God will use me when this program ends next September.

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