|My companions on the journey.|
There has been quite a gap between posts. I perhaps post too often but that is not the reason I have not posted. I have been distracted. I have come back and found that being chairman of the Night Shelter has got busy. I came back hoping to have time to walk, to garden and to do things I have not been able to do when I was not retired. But I am finding that between the chaplaincies I do and Night Shelter events my dreams to do all these things have gone by the board. I find too that the night shelter work is stress producing. Amongst the staff and the members of the board there are a variety of view points on various subjects. I find too that people often do not share their view points in a way that is open to discussion. They often share their perspective like it is the truth, the final truth and there is no room for discussion on it. I hear these view points and have at times been lying in bed in the early hours of the morning wondering how we are going to tie it all together. The other thing I have found is that many little things get tossed my way...in the early hours of the morning I suddenly think of an email I haven't sent, or a phone call I need to make and stew on how to get it all done. I keep saying "it will ease off", and I certainly hope it does. I decided that I will let everyone know that Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays are my time, off limits, except in real emergencies. I need to admit too, that just recently the busyness and the endless number of issues has been getting me down a bit... I am susceptible to depression, and I have been feeling down about it, even though there are positives. I will cope though, generally at such times I just dig in and work my way through it. (often eating too much as one of my stress relief outlets.)
We have been attending the local Presbyterian Church. I enjoy going to the local church and being involved with local people. They have accepted us and now we joke, have meaningful conversations and feel part of the group. Visiting clergy lead the services but I have to say the standard is very low! If most of these had trained at the college I attended they would have been guided toward a different vocation.... at least as far as preaching/worship leadership is concerned... they may be wonderful pastors. I was asked to read scripture in the service yesterday and I did so, making sure I gave a couple of sentences of introduction. It was the first up front thing I had done and even though it is little enough, I was pleased I did it well. But yesterday's sermon I disliked. It was something a poorly presenting layman might preach in the 1950s. From my point of view it was blasphemous, an insult to God and scripture. The guy promised we would be barred from heaven if we didn't believe as he described. At that point the nasty streak in my mind said, "That's OK if you and the God you depict are there I'm not sure I want to go there!" (Christianity is NOT about getting to heaven anyway!) Of course I did not say it out loud. I felt like standing up and saying, "This is poorly presented bullshit!" and walking out... but I didn't. One of the women who complimented me on my part asked if I was on the list of preachers, and why not? I am left asking myself, "Do I want to preach? Do I want to be tied down to responsibility?" But then again how long can I sit and listen to "poorly presented bullshit"?
Having said that during the week before my negative reaction to a couple of things in the service sparked me into thinking, "What do I now think about that?" I am doing some scribbling and may blog soon about these two topics.
Books mark a journey....
At a certain stage on Saturday it rained and it looked like it was going to set in. I decided to do an inside job. I decided to throw out books. Some time ago I went through my books and threw some out, donating them to a local 24 hour book sale. It was time to do it again, so I attacked the bookshelves in my study and in another store room. I threw out some books I did not need because I am no longer in Church ministry... books about Church growth, Church organisation and theology of the Church. I threw out Bible Studies for groups and some books about worship. I threw out books that I no longer thought were relevant. You get to look back on some themes that you once got interested in, and now you decide "I don't think that's important any more!" There are dated books relating to certain historical situations say in the 1970's, but the world has moved on. I threw out a lot of books that contained stuff I no longer believe in. (a bit like Sunday's sermon) But in the process I discovered books that had been so meaningful to me, had inspired me, changed me or brought a great leap in my growth as a person. These I lovingly replaced in the shelves closest to my desk. They, or at least their authors, are my precious companions. It was an interesting exercise. It marked a stage in my life - retirement. It showed how I had changed and grown gradually over the years. And it made me appreciate again the writers who share their journey with us.