Friday, July 27

all is quiet...

It's been a while since I've posted, but there isn't much new to report. I have living arrangements secured, I have two TA jobs (Christian Ed and American Lutheranism) and two part time jobs at the seminary. I am working on the health insurance issue now, and hopefully will have some temporary insurance lined up in the next week.

I continue to be astounded by people's generosity and support and am thankful for it. But it is so easy to get discouraged and think that this will be my reality forever. Intellectually, I know that isn't the case - I know that I'll be doing ministry somewhere, sometime before too long - but the other part of me wants to look at God and say, "OK, you got me into this...time to pony up! Where's the job, where's the place to call home for longer than a few months...where's the payout for this commitment I've made?" But, that's not how it works, is it?

I continue to be amazed, however, along with my friends in this situation, at the (apparent?) lack of understanding on the behalf of synod staff. We keep getting comments like..."it never takes this long." Well, clearly sometimes is does take this long...thanks for your help. My favorite has been "well, so you have a place to live" - like that makes everything OK and bills and insurance aren't an issue...not to mention meaningful work. I consider myself lucky that I can remain in a place that challenges me - intellectually, personally, theologically - and in which I know I will continue to grow and gain skills and knowledge that will benefit me in my future ministry. Not everyone is so lucky. I also like this one: "the perfect church is just waiting for you out there somewhere"...OK, but what about my life now and maybe the close-to-perfect or not-so-perfect place that I could be serving. It all ends up sounding condescending and is infuriating. Not the supportive tone they are probably looking for. It's just so frustrating and it would be worse without supportive friends and family...keep the encouragement and the prayers coming.

Thursday, July 19

button pushers

I was driving in Berkeley today, running some errands of questionable importance, but they helped me avoid reading for my it's all good. At many intersections, people were waiting for the light to change and repeatedly pushing the pedestrian light button whilst they waited. Now, maybe I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that one push is the same as 50 pushes, and it only (for most lights) makes the androgynous walking person light up rather than the rude, red hand. It's the same phenomenon at elevators, where some people seem to be under the impressing that the faster the call button is pushed, the more rapidly the elevator will arrive at their floor. I guess that's the question - do people really believe this? Or is it just something to do while waiting - something that gives the impression of control over the changing of the light or arrival speed of an elevator? These are the questions that keep me up at night, my friends.

Tuesday, July 17

options opening

Today I made some contacts and some progress in opening my options for call. I visited with the campus ministry deployed staff person and talked about options and what I need to do to get on their radar. I do still feel called to campus ministry, but I know that I would learn a lot in a more traditional congregational setting, so my other two contacts were also welcome. I emailed the bishops and one bishop's assistant for the synods to which my paperwork will be sent. One of them has two congregations that have asked specifically for a first call pastor, so that is hopeful. The bishop's assistant from the other synod called me this evening and left a message saying that he was looking forward to finding a time when we could talk about opportunities, so that is a good sign as well.

I was also able to find some motivation today to work again on my thesis and I got some good research done...another good step. Perhaps I am finally coming out of the "pit of despair" (OK, so it wasn't that bad, but if you imagine an Albino humpback saying it...). There are glimpses of hope and I am thankful for that. My heart is lighter and things seem not so bleak tonight.

Monday, July 16


Sometimes when I'm in the midst of a mess it's hard to see the good. As I sit in my dorm room, where I normally can see the lights of San Francisco (tonight it's foggy!), I find myself thinking of all of the support I have received. The good wishes, the prayers, the patience to sit through another bout of me whining...I have amazing family and friends.

It is true that this will all work out, somehow, some way. And in the meantime, I get to live in this amazing place and have a roof over my head and jobs to pay for that roof. I have people at the seminary looking for things for me to do to help with that and their generosity astounds me. When I can back away from the center of the storm and see that I am not alone here, but in fact supported and encouraged and loved by so many people, I can't help but feel blessed and humbled.

Thank you for your words of encouragement, your prayers and your patience.

Sunday, July 15

bishop contact

I spoke to "my" bishop on Friday. He told me that there are no congregations right now that are accepting names. There may be one in the next few weeks, although he isn't sure about their openness to a first call person. There is also the possibility of an associate position becoming available as well. He is understanding and compassionate and he certainly didn't want me to be in this position. He offered, reluctantly because he wants me to stay in the synod, to release my name to other synods and he'll get that process started this week.

It looks like I will be a TA for a class in the fall and also do a couple of other part-time gigs at the seminary. So, tomorrow I'll start the process of looking for a mainstay job...Barnes and Noble, Borders and Starbucks are top on the list of phone calls for the morning. If anyone has any suggestions or brilliant ideas, post them in the comments.

Thursday, July 12


I had dinner with a friend tonight. When we sat at the table, she looked at me and said, "You look weary." I am...i am weary of waiting...i am weary of trying to figure out how to pay for rent and insurance and student loans...i am weary of feeling like i'm standing still...i am weary of having others pass me by on the road to employment...i am weary of not being able to focus...i am weary of juggling six jobs...i am weary of having to pretend that i appreciate the pep talks i get from people...i am weary of having to do all this on my own...i AM weary.

Today is a bad day, as you can tell. The cool temp/transition job I thought was going to work at the seminary likely isn't, so now I am piecing together other options, which is nerve-wracking and tiring and it never feels like enough. I made a comment to some dorm residents the other day that i can't wait to have one which i got the lecture that being a pastor is more than one job. Clearly, not what I meant. As reticent as I was (and sometimes still am) about the parish pastor gig, I am ready to do it. Let's get on with this, already. As I wait for my phone to ring I'm frustrated and cranky and tired and, well...weary.

Saturday, July 7

rejection stinks

I think I should write a catchy little tune for that title...although "love hurts" is running through my head right now.

As the post title indicates, St. Da Kine has released me from their call process. The other candidate they interviewed had more experience in the areas they were looking for. I had to admit, I'm not terribly disappointed, as they had many issues (and a Praise service) that I didn't want to have to deal with, but it still is hard to be rejected. The call committee chairperson phoned last night to give me the news, and I am thankful that they were speedy in letting me know. She ended the call with a little pep talk that caught me as a bit condescending, considering she is aware that I have no job and no home firmly lined up for after July. I have some prospects, which will keep me at the seminary, actually, but nothing is confirmed and I am trying to not put the cart too far before the horse.

Staying in California makes the most sense, as it keeps me closer to churches that may want to interview as well as two major airports. I worry about becoming "the student that never left" but this may be where I am supposed to be right now - everything seems to be lining up in a way that suggests that. As someone pointed out to me recently, it's not like I'm turning down viable options to stay, but rather this may turn out to be a good place for me to ride out this transition time in a city that I love.

I am a bit frustrated and discouraged, but I am trying to trust God's guidance and be alert to what the Holy Spirit is telling me. Not always an easy thing for someone with a patience disorder.

Tuesday, July 3

thoughts in the light of day

This morning, I'm feeling much the same as I did last night. Although, I have come to a more sure understanding that this call would not be an easy first call, and if the church decides to pursue me as a candidate, I need to have a conversation with the synod office about what kind of support they will provide for me, and the congregation, if they call me. There definitely needs to be some conflict resolution work done, and I'll need some church growth/redevelopment training to make this work.

Monday, July 2

the phone interview

Tonight was the night. I talked with the call committee of St. Da Kine for about an hour. They asked about my experience in worship leadership, and planning and style of preaching. They were concerned about how I would deal with two different styles of worship so I talked a bit about how my internship site had two different services and i spent a year navigating that. They asked about my free time activities and how that might work for me, which was a nice thing to hear them be concerned about.

Obviously we talked a lot about the Praise service. When they asked me about my experience in worship planning, I did say that I would expect to be involved in worship planning for every service at the church I served - in choosing the music and the liturgical one commented, so it may be a good thing or a bad thing in their minds. They also were interested in my experience and philosophy around children's sermons and my previous work with youth and young adults.

I talked a lot about working with them to decide what to try for their various ministry needs and talking and listening to people. I was clear that I'm not going to show up with a bag of 'tricks' that have worked in other places and plan to implement them at St. Da Kine. I did point out, that even if I had a bag of tricks they likely wouldn't translate from Lawrence, KS to the OC and that a lot had changed in the lives of teens in the last 7 years anyway.

They will let me know in a week if they want to continue to pursue this and work out a time for me to travel down there to meet them and preach - the usual interviewing gig.

Overall, I feel better about it than I thought that I would. No huge red flags came up for me. I have some reservations still, but I'm open to pursuing this further if they decide to do that. On the other hand, if they decide not to have me come for a face to face, I wouldn't be devastated...annoyed that I'm still unemployed, but not devastated.

Sunday, July 1

dorm living

Today I officially check out of my apartment and turn in my keys. I've been living in the dorm for a few days now and it's not so bad, I guess. There are only four of us living here this summer and some guests coming and going so it's much quieter than the last time I lived here. Also, this time around there is WiFi access which makes life much more enjoyable - being able to use the internet in my room is a huge plus. I still have some things to unpack and stash away for the month, but I'm feeling good about this move - and the view from my room cannot be beat!

Tomorrow is the phone interview. I had a friend who reminded me of the positive aspect of a phone interview - especially with a place I'm unsure about - and that is that we can get the harder questions out of the way without having to invest too much time and energy into a site visit and me preaching, etc. I continue to have strong reservations about this, so we'll see what happens.

More tomorrow after the phone call...