There was a time I looked very seriously at chaplaincy work. Very seriously.
I contacted a university, looked at the options, and would have been able to clear the financial debt if I’d made it through. I was encouraged and welcomed with open arms.
I wanted to be a police chaplain, to be a caretaker to the caretakers and would have been glad to be a hospital chaplain.
In Canada, the goverment is the hirer, and a M Div. is required. It is a rewarding living and service for those I know that have been called to it.
I couldn’t do it. At the last minute I backed away, and I backed away for a reason that may make no sense to my minister blogging friends.
I couldn’t handle the thought of doing a two year posting in a church. (a requirement for the degree and certification)
The mentoring could have been terrific, the fellowship rich - but the thought of church board meetings in their various shapes and forms for two years absolutely crushed me. I knew that even if I gritted my teeth to suffer through, I was not psychologically or spiritually equipped to make the grade.
I don’t regret backing off, but it was difficult at the time.
I catch glimpses of that crushing of spirit that I knew would have occurred, from time to time on my blog.
I’m not talking about sacrifice, or dying to self, or maturing, I’m talking about what I knew would snuff out hope. I believe hope is a gift and obligation to be norished, and directed, not extinguished. It does not exist well without love and faith standing with it.
Church board meetings seem such a small price to pay for an opportunity to serve in what I believe is a productive and vital way.
But those glimpses…I caught one on my blog this past week. Sideswiped me. Never saw it coming. Since I comment on US policy from time to time, I’m relatively used to the rough and tumble. But this. I dunno.
I did a piece on a pro-active way to deal with comment spam, and used a line from the 1976 movie Network as the title.
I didn’t use it callously or ignorantly, and moved on. A fair number of non-believers come to my blog. They would have understood the reference, many believers would to, and would not see it as this commenter saw it.
A Christian came into the comments and let me know (using scripture) that I was way out of line.
Thing is, the scripture used to correct me is true and is something I try to submit to daily.
I wish I could have shrugged it off.
It is deeper than that though. I know I don’t measure up, I know my life doesn’t glorify God all the time, I know I sin. I know that I may cause others to sin.
I was facing my church board meetings so to speak in the comment section of all places. And rather than being convicted, I got ko’d.
God has never ever done that. In the deepest times of repentance, conviction and seeking in my life, He has never crushed that spark. I’ve never seen God crush others who seek Him. Even when I’ve romped or drifted away from Him, or amused myself with things that did not honour Jesus Christ, God has never crushed. His correction is not harsh for He meets, heals and walks alongside.
So what is it about church board meetings and some of his people that can leave me ko’d?
I honestly don’t know the answer.