So more than a week after I declare that I'll be back in the blogging saddle, I find myself wondering how exactly to get back in. After three months of pause I find it hard to resume blogging, something that I had been doing for more than three years. But in those three months of pause my life has changed quite a bit . . .
I was ordained three months ago. And no, I don't hold any mystical understanding of ordination that would suggest I experienced some ontological change in my being upon ordination – though, as Sarcastic Lutheran put it on the day of her ordination (sorry, I can't find the link to her ordination post), how can you not be changed by all that prayer? Though I won't attribute this change to my new "status" or funky new clothing or neat title, I cannot deny that my life has significantly changed since ordination.
For starters, I have real work to do, and less down-time. For the months leading up to my ordination and call, I was working part-time at the congregation where I had served my internship, giving me the chance to blog and dabble in some volunteering at my daughter's school and make lunch each week for a certain political campaign's local office. But even when I was on internship, I was, well, an intern – responsible for projects, yes, and various other tasks, but I didn't carry the kind of responsibility that I do now. I learned tons on internship, an experience for which I'm terribly grateful, but there's something, well, different about what I'm doing now.
I'm settled down. Not my personality, mind you, but my life. I'm ordained and called to a congregation, and my wife has a tenure-track teaching position at a seminary. We haven't been this settled . . . ever. For the first time in the past many years, I'm looking at career and life through a longer lens – no longer in one-year increments (a year on the hospital chaplaincy residency, a year on internship … ) but in five-year increments, even longer. I'm settled, and am hunkering down for the long haul. And it feels good.
And I'm awed. I'm awed by the faith and life I'm witnessing in my congregation. You see, as a parish pastor I get a front row to the life and faith of a community of believers . . . and what I see is just amazing. Last week I preached about church being that place where we can and should bring our suffering, our rejection, our death (contra Peter; see Mark 5:31ff), for it is in Word and Sacrament and the fellowship of believers that we encounter the One who suffered, who was rejected, who died. Later in that service, then, I could hardly fight back tears as I spoke the words, "This is the body of Christ, given for you," to a few elderly folks for whom the physical act of getting out of bed and coming to church is such a gargantuan effort.
And so with less free time, a longer view on life and ministry, and more time spent taking in the awe-inspiring experiences of faith and ministry . . . I am challenged to reclaim my blogging space. And though returning to the blogosphere isn't high on my priority list right now – Word, Sacrament, youth ministry, education ministry, pastoral visitations, etc. are higher on the list – I want to get there, for it is in the blogosphere where I have found a community of believers and leaders who have taught me so much and who have so much to offer me.
Perhaps I'll start by simply sharing some ideas . . . we had a pretty successful intergenerational Stations of the Cross activity two Sundays ago. And this weekend I'm chaplaining a Confirmation event for our synod where I'll be sharing some reflections on Christian identity using the popular animated movie Toy Story 2. OK. There's fodder for two posts. Let' see how this goes . . .