this is no longer my blog

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


la dee da

So I've since learned that it was my domestic ineptitude and not the result of Pyrex slighting me. There was no good reason for righteous indignation, which is good, because I really didn't feel any. I'll just file this in my mental note file cabinet for the next time I buy cookware.
And I guess the tuna noodle casserole was a success. I brought it over straight out of the oven, and walked into the room where "Young at Heart" was meeting, and put the casserole on the table. The older women oohed and aahed and asked me if I was a good cook. I said I hoped so, and that I hoped my casserole was good. They giggled. Although they made a bigger deal about the pasta salad last time, they made the general comment that "Everything was very good." So at least they didn't say "Everything was very good except that tuna noodle casserole which kind of tasted like reheated dog vomit. Only worse." I was pleased that phrase was not said in my hearing. And I had considered making a double batch, because the recipe I followed that it served 5, and I knew that more people usually show up, but I thought I'd make up a single batch and see. And that casserole must serve 5 hungry people, because I fed 8 people (granted 4 of which were elderly women) and I still had more than half left. So I will be enjoying the delicacy that is tuna noodle casserole for a couple more meals.

So lately I've been thinking more and more about what kind of ministry I feel I am called to. Not ordained vs. non-ordained, because lately I've been leaning heavily in the ordained department. The whole presiding at the Eucharist gets to me. I heard someone refer to it as being the kid who wants to set the table and says a prayer for the family. I'm not the one that nourishes, but I get it ready so that people can come to the table and be nourished... Or at least I will be someday. I really like that imagery... Getting the table set up so that my brothers and sisters can come into the house from wherever they were and whatever they were doing, and sit together at the table as a family and be fed.
So yeah, it's not a question of ordination... It's a question of what do I feel called to do after that. Youth ministry has always been very prevalent in the foreground, and it seems like God is constantly putting that sort of ministry in my life. Especially here on internship, where the representative of my candidacy committee wanted me to have little to no youth ministry responsibilities. I get sent to a church where I'm in charge of eighth grade confirmation, with a pastor who knows my youth ministry past and wants to utilize my gifts in that area to provide support and guidance for the youth program, and then the youth director resigns and I'm asked to assume even more youth responsibilities. I guess I wasn't meant to NOT do youth ministry...
I've also been thinking a lot about campus ministry. Campus ministry was very important in my faith formation, and in my calling to become a pastor. I can still remember the day when, as a freshman in college, I stood outside the campus pastor's office, looking at a sign about a seminary visitation trip over an extended weekend. I had no real intention to go, I was just reading the sign to see what it said. But right at that moment Pastor Mike walks out of the office (that's his real name, folks!... Well, Mike... not Pastor. Pastor would be his title) and sees me reading the sign. "Mark! Are you thinking about going on the seminary trip?" he asks. Now I had nothing but love for Pastor Mike. He was a dynamic man who I was instantly drawn to, and who also was a big part in drawing me to the college that I chose. The fact that he was expressing interest in me going on this trip was exciting, so before I even knew what I was saying, the word "Sure..." tumbled from my lips. A big grin crossed Pastor Mike's face. "Great!" he exclaims. "Because I can really see some gifts in you in that area." And then he walked away to wherever he was headed originally. And I was left standing there, my mouth hanging open, a little taken aback, and wondering what just happened. And of course since Pastor Mike had seemed so excited about the idea of me going on that trip, there was no way I was going to back out and disappoint him. So it was on this seminary trip that I really allowed myself to consider becoming a pastor as an option in my life. And there are a lot more stories like that, of how Pastor Mike and then Pastor Joanne after him (yep, her real name too...) really nurtured my faith and my calling. And I was involved in other things like Lutheran Student Movement and various other campus ministry activities throughout my college years. Because it had such a life changing impact on me, I realize how important campus ministry is. Plus it's an exciting time in the lives of the people I would be ministering, too, and to offer the same sort of guidance and encouragement that Mike and Joanne were able to offer to me would be amazing. So I really feel like I could be being called in that direction.
And then there is also parish ministry (now I realize that the argument could be made that ordained youth ministry is parish ministry, and campus ministry is parish ministry because the campus is your parish... but I'm using the term "parish ministry" to describe the "typical" role of pastor... you know what I mean...). I definitely see many plusses in this type of ministry, and have really been enjoying many of the tasks and opportunities for ministry that I've been able to experience thus far. So I know that I can't rule that out, either.
And then I've been spending a lot of time on the emerging church website and looking at the various webpages of emerging/postmodern churches and I'm very intrigued by that sort of thing, too. The idea of something like a coffee shop/bakery/community center/Christian outreach sounds really exciting and invigorating and intriguing and amazing.
So yeah... Those are the thoughts that have been running through my head lately. Luckily I have the rest of my internship year and then my senior year to think about it some more. And chances are straight out of seminary I will most likely end up in a parish. And that could look like a solo pastor, or as an associate pastor. And I may or may not have responsibility over the youth program. The only way I could end up in a campus ministry is by ending up at a church where I had part time parish responsibilities and part time campus ministry responsibilities because of the ELCA's requirement of three years in the parish before being allowed to move on to specialized ministries (which is NOT something I'm going to get into right now). So that will give me more time to consider where God is calling me, and if the parish is the place for me.
Anyway, I've rambled on far too long about this. If you're reading and you made it this far, I congratulate you. But I'm done now.

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