Sunday, August 1, 2010
Searching for Community
One of my favorite seasonal films is White
Christmas . . . during the finale one of the songs that Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye sing is "What Can You Do With a General" . . . part of the chorus goes:
What can you do with a general
When he stops being a general?
These words have been playing through my head since the dissolution of my pastoral relationship with the church . . . even though my plans for the next year are set they still ring in my ears, esp. on Sunday mornings.
Paradoxically, as I find freedom in not being in the pulpit every Sunday . . . I am not sure whether this is related to the particular congregation . . . to be frank there were a significant number of folks in the congregation that I didn't cotton to . . . yes, many may think this is a terrible thing to confess -- I loved them and I prayed for them, but I didn't like them -- they demonstrated a pattern of bad behavior that was ignored . . . I miss community . . . I miss having a community with which to Worship on Sunday mornings and live with during the week.
I am sure that many pastors who have left a church and not moved on to another pastoral call right away has struggled with this same issue . . . perhaps, my struggle is compounded as I am single, live in a rural area (of course I can drive into the city) and have chosen not to Worship in a church of my own denomination . . .
And even though this is the case, this brings me back to the Crosby/Kaye song . . . none of the pastors from my own denomination have invited me to Worship at the church where they are pastor . . . and I have to wonder, "why?" Perhaps, it is awkward . . . perhaps, they don't know how to make the offer . . . perhaps, they aren't interested in having a MOWS Worshiping with them . . . perhaps, they haven't even thought of it . . . and I don't want to come down hard on the pastors . . . there are laity who know about the situation and they haven't asked either. And even one of my colleagues in another denomination in this small rural community who knows my situation hasn't invited me to Worship at the church where he is the pastor. Only one woman has invited me to Worship with her and her husband at the church they attend (a Baptist church) So . . .
What can you do with a church pastor?
When (s)he stops being a church pastor?
So I am searching for a Worshiping community to partner with for the, at least, the next year . . . a place of welcome and invitation . . . a place of acceptance and challenge . . . a place for healing and growth.
And let us consider how to stir one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10: 24, 25