Monday, September 14, 2009

Clarity

I just reached my limit of fear, confusion, and grief.

I’ve been grieving over the church I left. It was so pretty, and they were so kind to me, and I felt successful at it. Others thought so, too, which is how I got this big promotion.

I have hated the move. I moved from the country to a small town where I’ve been hemmed in by houses and people. It’s noisy and cramped, and I can’t find a place to be alone, although I have felt extremely lonely.

I inherited a dysfunctional group of leaders, some of whom hated me before they even saw me because I was replacing a pastor they loved. They’ve kept things from me. Some have lied to me. One or two have sown great confusion. Several have flexed their economic muscles at me. Many have chewed up my time and energy demanding that I work on their problems.

I’ve been afraid. Of failing. Of losing a job I haven’t really liked. Of being branded a loser by my denomination’s higher organization. Of other nameless demons of the free-floating variety.

Yesterday, my mind cleared. It was during the sermon.

I interrupted myself and said, “Shall I tell you what’s on my heart or shall I be cautious?” I went with my heart:

“I’ve had a bellyful of being cornered in my office, managing this church. There are some folks who have dropped out this summer, and I hope they come back. But that’s up to them. I’m going spend my time bringing in new people who aren’t going to church anywhere. The work of this church is not done by programs or committees. It is done by people who reach out to other people.

“I’m getting out of my office and start doing the things I do best. And that’s focusing on the people. Who’s with me?”

“YES!” I heard two men say.

I’m glad we got that cleared up.

I’ve been clearing up other things, too. It has taken over a year to put effective leaders in the place of some of the old destructive ones.

The knot in my stomach that’s been there for a year and a half is gone. I've found a quiet place in my head. And this just became my church.

It’s about damn time.

I’m getting out of the damn office. I’m done listening to the damn complaints that have clogged my hours since before I moved in.

I’m setting my own damn agenda, and I’m going to do my damn job.

If I fail, it will be at the things I do best.

And I won’t fail.

5 comments:

  1. Good post. I'm glad you have found some peace. As an atheist I don't care what people believe as long as it's not harmful. I think there are healthy variants of most religions and you seem to be a pretty down to earth guy so I'm betting your faith is of the healthy variety. :-)

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  2. Good for you! If I were in attendance, I would have added my "Yes" to the other two.

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  3. CG--You're going to need more than two yes's to turn that church around. As you've no doubt already figured, there were a number of other yes's out there afraid to say it out loud, and they will have to be mobilized.

    As for the lying money-muscle monkeys... I was fired several years ago (still without work) by people like this. I told my minister about it (I believe you know him, too), and his report later was "I asked the Lord to DEAL with those people." I kid you not - One of those people just dropped dead. Before that, the person who engineered my firing contracted M.S., then the woman who fired me was ordered to fire HER, her best friend. I don't know if God works in this way or not, or if it was coincidence. I have noticed that my enemies tend not to do well. This is not the first time one of them just dropped dead.

    If God is listening to me at all, I am going to ask him to DEAL with those people around you. How he does that is his own business. In the meantime, you watch your back. Monkeys don't like being thumped in public; they will bite you if they can. But as Peter said to Simon the Sorceror, (my paraphrase): "Go to hell, and take your money with you."

    Jaguar

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  4. Stop whining. You should be lucky you aren't a Satanist priest. I hear they have to get a lot of tattoos. I think you should get into the exorcism business. I hear there's good money in it.

    So you got two Yes's. I guess everyone starts off with a mustard seed. Hope you saw who it was so you can recruit them to do your paperwork for you.

    And I doubt you will fail at the things you do best.

    And will all this "damn" talk, you might get a few skeptics in your doors....

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  5. @Jaguar. Thanks for your concern and I'll keep the warning in mind. However, I don't feel like I'm in great danger. The folks there like me to talk tough. Also, the two "Yes" statements come from two powerhouses. Put them on either side of me and we're pretty formidable.

    BRG--your yes vote counts with me wherever you are.

    Mike, thanks for the great support.

    Sistermoon: Tattoos huh? Can I get one to get with my earring, ponytail, and purse (Not that there's anything wrong with that).



    The biggest threat is for things to simply fizzle--and that's bad enough.

    Mostly I'm grateful just to be feeling better.

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