Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday stewing.

Still confused.
I have had a disturbing week with lots of confusion in my mind about my future. There is still the possibility of another job lurking around ... I haven't put an application in, but they are sending me encouraging emails. It is hard to explain my frustrations with ministry and my difficulty coping. It is not a workload thing, though life is pretty "full on". I have before described ministry in this church by using the picture of a bulldozer stuck in a bog and you are trying to push it out of it. I guess that's what it feels like and sometimes you move it an inch, at other times it feels like it slips back into the mud. But somehow I have not been on top emotionally lately. On Saturday I was to attend a critical incident peer support team training day, but my car's electric windows got stuck open on Friday night. (I swear there was nothing wrong with winding a handle to open a car window! I hate electric window winders! I think every car I have had with electric windows has caused problems.) I got up early to fix it so I could go to the training, but at a certain point I decided I could say "no" to the training day and do the job properly. It meant I could work on Sunday morning's service, power points, and build some exercise into my day. That time proved invaluable. I said "no", and then "no"again to another invitation to lunch today and that is not like me! I usually feel obligated to attend such things, but I felt the need to "get out from under" and take time out. There are good things happening at the church. Space2B is going well. It is so good to see life enhancing events happening there with the buzz of people talking. Sustainability groups meet there. The Multi-ethnic Council meets there and partners with us. Friends meet at the church and support one another. The Drop-in on Friday night was a warm friendly time and we could see progress in people's lives. Most of the church members are unaware of these developments. They may not see it as "Church growth" or even fulfilling the mission of the church, but I do. One of the hassles I have is that I am on the "edge" of orthodoxy in my understandings of the faith, and it's a bit hard fitting into orthodox expectations. Anyway I suspect I will stay in ministry, my sense of "call" (don't ask me to explain that?) still out weighs a longing for an easier life. I am aware that Space2B, Drop-in centre, chaplaincy links and church directions will suffer if I moved on elsewhere. .. I would let a lot of people down.
The highlights of my week have been exercise. Last Monday afternoon I went into Swampy Summit and enjoyed my walk/run. On Wednesday night my wife dropped me at a point about 11k from home and I jogged home around the side of the harbour. It was such an enjoyable experience I wondered why I have not done it before. I will do it again. Late on Saturday afternoon I went for a much more uncomfortable 9k run in the wind, but you can polish a sermon while running and I was pleased to be able to do it. Today I ventured in running gear up to Swampy summit again. On Monday I deleted 30 minutes off the time I had done it before and I thought that was pretty good. Tonight I improved even on that by 10 minutes. (2hours 15 minutes) It is so good being 62 years old, still fit and improving. With my dad's early death, and my lack of exercise in my 30's, I never thought it would happen to me, but I am so grateful for my health at the moment.
Compliments now?
This morning was weird. I conducted a good service, but in my mind as I sang the benediction was the thought that I may not be doing this for much longer. After the service we went into morning tea. Some visitors to the service came to me and were glowing in their feedback. One in particular went to great lengths to say how good it was and he seemed a thoughtful guy. One guy said he had a "gift"... I guess of discernment. He told me he could see "the light of Christ shining out" of me, "you do so much good for a lot of people". I don't know what to make of all that sort of thing, I know who I am, and mostly I am a bit mixed up. My wife, who knows my dark side better than anyone, said she could understand that comment. But the thing was that virtually everyone I spoke to oozed compliments. Some went out of their way to come over to tell me. People talked to my wife and said good things too. Why now? When I am thinking of leaving? And they don't know that? Interesting..... and hard to handle.

I used this old poem recited by a man who was a base singer for Elvis Presley in today's service. It is called, "The touch of the Master's hand".

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