So much for the idea of a nap . . .
One of the reasons I so rarely comment on other sites, is that there seem to be unappointed guardians at each of the sites, who endeavor to quickly to pounce on any newbie to the joint, as it were, and see if the new voice is “one of the faithful.” If not the “the worst” – advertised Christian theological sites often seem to be quite adept at “putting one in their place.” Not all, mind you, but some I have visited have made my commenting as a Pastor on the sites of atheists seem a breeze by comparison.
Others are so “loosey-goosey” as to cause one to stare off in the distance a lot, wondering what all those years of education were supposed to have accomplished. I still pray the arrow prayer of my childhood – “Help me avoid the near occasion of sin, Lord!” I know if I comment at such sites, I am going to get dragged down into the muck.
And finally, there are those sites that permit comments to drag on endlessly, as if there is some Guinness Book of World Records record up for grabs if they can keep comments coming until the Parousia.
I have been asked why I don’t actively solicit comments here; or why I don’t seem concerned about getting “my wisdom” out and about in the maelstrom of conversation that has engulfed the entire world in blogs, chat sites for every human deviation; or the ubiquitous Facebook or the world of tweets, all of which can keep us face-down not merely at home on the puter, but in the face-down cell phone phenomena you see in public everywhere anymore.
I simply want none of that. I am not writing to make money via Amazon or any other program. I don’t need a brood of personal groupies. I have no desire for fame save on the Last Day when I hear those blessed words “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Being known in eternity is so far beyond earthly fame that there is no comparison.
Yeah – I was a pert good baseball player in my day, but I didn’t make “the Bigs.” Other former players know exactly what I mean. We gave it our best shot. Didn’t happen, move on.
I was not the tip-top theological candidate at the Seminary – I had excellent grades and many recommendations from professors, but I did not want to pursue all of the additional degrees necessary to “prove myself” to secure a Seminary faculty position nor any position of renown within Synod. Others were better suited. I rightly reasoned that all of the resources needed or recommended for such, could be had or purchased anyway, which I have done in the years since, and I could always be about my education as a theologian.
Nopers – I wanted to be a parish Pastor. To be the best preacher and teacher I could be with the talents the Lord had/has given me, and lead others to Christ and to eternity. And in doing so, I have gained a boat-load of experience – good and bad – that those who pursued those other goals will never know. I can hold my own in any theological discussion with whomever, because the location of my classroom may have changed, but the lessons and studies kept on coming, but I have also been at “ground zero” – the parish.
And I know well the weariness that comes with the territory – the wish that I had a “Bob” of my own some days on whom to unload matters. When Jesus called the Apostles to “pick up their crosses and follow Him,” he was calling his first parish Pastors to a task that many a wise man has avoided. Having said that, I am not elevating myself. I am saying the Cross is always there, and we of the Weird Collars ignore it at our own peril! We can go there willingly, or be dragged kicking and screaming to that appointment. But it is always the same. As I sent out my “special” mail yesterday, and during the drive back, I kept asking myself – “Are you sure you want back in the saddle?” And my other me said “Give it up, Jeffrey – this is what you have been called to do, so shaddup and go do it.” I have a love/hate relationship with myself, it seems!
Something, or far more certainly – Someone – beckons always from that great distance. Explain it? Fuggedibout it! In my dreams I couldn’t explain it. But I dream of it at least weekly. No prophet of dreams am I, but I am also not dumb. So again, I have begun taking the steps. One great advantage? I know the things that I didn’t know on June 15, 1986, when the Lord saw fit to put His yoke on my shoulders. Or many of them, anyway. And I am sure there are more things I don’t know I didn’t know, to learn further. It’s inherent in the whole process!
But one thing we Weird Collar Wearers know for certain – despite the weariness, distractions, shared tragedies or those of our own. It’s all “in the doing” of it all. It’s about those two hours of sleep early Sunday morning because late Saturday night you began fiddling with your manuscript. Or wearing the worst color possible for the Texas sun and heat. Or the funerals of those you come to love, and the joys of others you get to share. It is, as Pastor Koch began to put it (and I am sure he would agree with my conclusion), our special insight into the soul, and the phenomenal quality of the grace that flows from the Cross of Christ. And also, the boredom and alone-ness that is different from normal loneliness – the alone-ness Jesus knew in Gethsemane when He prayed for His cup to pass, yet submitted to his Father will. We get a mere hint of it in these collars, and we should pray that hint alone be sufficient, and pray that often!
So anyway, step one is done, stamped and mailed. And I won’t go back on it – I need to do it – not doing so has hurt for far too long. Comes now the obligatory “wait” – what is the Lord going to find or have in mind this time? Since I left the options pretty wide-open, I won’t even venture a guess. I am thankful I have been on this writing jag of late – I guess now I, at least, understand why it happened. I want to write as I always have written – with the ultra-substantial subject matter, for those to whom it will make a difference.
Count me among them.