If you look at my personality profile, I ranked really high as a Naturalist. I wasn't so sure about it but I have this pear tree in the back yard (I'll post a pic later). Its pears aren't really good for eating unless you cook them first. I only pick a few to feed to the horse next door. The rest fall off and make great balls for the dogs to chase but the thing that is really great is; forget butterfly bushes, plant a pear tree. They are swirling all over this tree and especially on the fallen fruit. The more it ferments the more they seem to like it. It looks like something you see on the Discovery Channel.
As you can tell from the tenor of my previous posts, I have been a little pissed off lately. I lost all of the naive feelings towards many of my churchmembers. We are becoming a family, which is good but like all growth can be painful too. I have been here for almost four years which for a Methodist Pastor is pretty long. I was supposed to move in June but I self-delayed my commissioning. I think that in the long run it has been a good thing but it really hurt at the time. It has allowed me the time to get my D.Min. started and to really grow into being a pastor without the destractions of seminary. I have made changes at the church that were long overdue and we are starting to really get involved in community outreach. The focus is changing from as "Rev Magazine" put it, "A cloistered church to a Missional Church." It took me staying to accomplish that. They would have had to go through the entire process of trusting a new pastor to make those changes.
It wasn't very easy though. In fact, I really got beat up. I was accused of making changes because it would help my "career". I was told that "we aren't growing because of your sermons" and "we really need a male pastor to grow". I worked for a church long before I became a pastor so I knew how rough it could be but before I always had the backing of the senior (and mostly male) pastors. They really helped deflect some of the harsh comments away.
Anyway, I am letting all of that go (except for the self-knowledge). I am moving past all of this hurt. I have really been immersing myself in Henri Nouwen and other writers. I have even quit reading all the escapist novels that were occupying my free time. (Remember: I have lots of free time because I am an insomniac.)
The one thing that I am having trouble with is the lack of friends. I really had some good friends at seminary and now I am very alone out here in the boonies. I am with an accountability group, I was with an excellent one but the pastor that held it together moved. It's just not the same. I have one really good friend but she is a member of the church. Which really wasn't an issue until all of my mentors, seminars, etc. said that it wasn't appropriate because I can't unload any of my negative feelings about church members on this woman because she is a church member. We would be friends even if we weren't in the same church but I understand where the leadership is coming from but it did make it a little more lonely out here. Part of the problem is that I live so far from anywhere.
Anyway, I have this blog and it is really helping me recognize when I am being negative (because it is all right there in front of me - and everyone else). What is interesting is that for every really negative person that made my life miserable, many more stepped up and went from treating church like a spectator sport to actually becoming involved. So I am hopeful. And I am see that even from things like fermenting pears on the ground