Thursday, June 10, 2010

Can't Sleep

Told you a couple of posts ago about my church administrator. Found out while at Annual Conference that when people ask her about my status in the conference, she is telling them that I am "just licensed to preach". I smiled and corrected them, but inside I was furious for several different reasons.

First, no one is "just" licensed to preach. It requires jumping through several hoops in most cased to become licensed to preach in the United Methodist system. At the very least it requires attending a license to preach two week seminar, not to mention being called by God, etc. And this is very demeaning to the hard work that local pastors are doing to cover churches across the United States and world, to say that they are "just" anything.

Second, it demeans the Senior Pastor and suggests that she left the church in less than capable hands.

Third, it discounts the tremendous time and energy that I have put into becoming a Provisional Elder in the UMC. As I enter my 2nd year of Residency, I know that I could be discontinued or delayed for years to come. I pray that it doesn't happen, but for this woman to say that I am "just" anything or for that matter that anyone is "just" anything is upsetting.

I process events in my lift by writing. It helps me find the right words to say when I have a "come to Jesus meeting" with this woman. So part of this is a rant, because I need to rant. Part of this is so that later I don't think, "I should have said this or I should have said that". Feel free to give me suggestions, because frankly I just want to scream.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Time Off

I am really anticipating the return of my Senior Pastor. The work has not been that much harder. It is doing the work without the authority to back it up that has been stressful and not having any time off.

Today was my day off for instance, I had scheduled month's ago to do a Eucharist Service at a local retirement home. Way before I had any idea my SP would be on a leave of absence. So I did it. Then a call came about a man very sick in the hospital that wanted an actual pastor and not one of my lay chaplains. Which is very suspicious......I believe that was more the church administrators doing than than the sick mans (He was very surprised that I was the one that showed up, hmmmm).

This leads to my other point. I know that I am fairly easy going, but she (church administrator) has been a tremendous pain in the butt. First, I understood she was nervous at the shift in authority from the SP to myself. But this has gone on long enough she should know that I'm not out to do her job. Hell, I can barely keep up with all that I have to do.

Everything is an argument with her. She even argued with me over the proper way to do a Confirmation.......this was just over one of the kids I was confirming out of the 13. She thought that I should use the kids nickname and I disagreed. I'm just sick of everything being an argument.

Another example, gifts for the confirmands. Such a stupid thing to worry about, but they couldn't (at the last minute) find 13 crosses. So they bought crosses for the boys and bookmarks for the girls. Now I'm sure they were wonderful bookmarks, but there is just something wrong with hanging a cross on the neck of the boy and handing the girl a bookmark. So I refused to do give them out during the actual service. I was accused of being a feminist with "issues". Damn, I guess I am, but it really isn't a bad thing in my book. I did take great offense to the "with issues" portion of the conversation, however.

The funny thing is the very next day. I was on a two-day mission trip and a dentist told my daughter that she was physically too small to become a surgeon and should consider becoming an optometrist. So too small to be a surgeon but she can sell glasses and contacts. You can't tell me that sexism is a thing of the past.

So all this started with the notion that I need a day off and I do. Next week in Annual Conference, so no time off. My SP is due back on July 4th and on July 11th I leave for my D.Min. seminar. No time off there.

Tomorrow, I get to drive for four hours with my daughter to pick up her best friend. I guess that constitutes time off. Trust me, this will not go on much longer, I will take care of myself.

Do people think before they speak?

So a lady in my church was talking to me. She complimented me on a wonderful sermon the previous Sunday (Memorial Day). Several of the old men had been very complimentary, one said it brought tears to his eyes. "Made them feel very connected to God."

So the lady asked what my plans were for ministry.....did I plan on becoming a Senior Pastor one day. I said that I was happy serving as an Associate. She says, "Well, that's good. You preached such a wonderful sermon on Sunday, but I could have really made the people leave feeling as if they were much more uplifted, after all, that's why they come to church". She goes on to say, "Well, maybe that black lady that preached a few Sundays ago could have taken your manuscript and done an even more wonderful job."

I kindly thanked her..... I won't tell you exactly what I was thinking at that particular moment.

It was over Romans 5:1-5 and I used our veterans as a living illustration for the sermon and drew heavily upon my own military experiences.

And here she was saying she could have taken my manuscript and touched the hearts of the people better. (She never served in the military.)

Granted I know that I am not an Ellsworth Kalas, Tony Campolo, or Bishop Willimon, but this woman is not even a public speaker of any kind in her professional life or personal life.

I'm really not sure how to think or feel about this. I don't think she ever realized how offensive and arrogant she came off sounding.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Yesterday we lost a member of our small family -- Misti -- she was only ten years old. I remember getting her for Ryss because her other "best friend" Stormy was the only other cat in our house. Turns out the cats really didn't like each other and Misti became best friends with Gus the daschund. They would cuddle together for hours and give each other baths.

She was the shyest member of out family and until the last couple of years most people never even knew we had another cat. I'm not a cat person, but I cried like a baby yesterday when the vet put her to sleep. She went downhill so fast over the holiday week-end and really didn't give us a lot of warning that anything was wrong until it was too late.

We buried her yesterday and put a gardenia bush over the grave, so next Spring the scent with remind us of what a great cat she was and that she is missed. I probably won't ever get another cat but I'm not sorry she became a member of our family.

Stormy is still going strong and she is two years older than Misti. She acts more like a dog than a cat. I hope she makes it into her late twenties for Ryss' sake.