Saturday, January 29, 2005


It's been a busy busy week. I tried (to no avail) to quit my web job (bleh). I pitched the idea of the online Candler Exchange to the student body at the "State of the School" address. I still haven't received "permission" from the powers-that-be, but that's really par for the course. I have been visiting the older Adults, trying to organize the tape ministry into something that involves more than one person, talking to some of our men who need a meatier Bible study about starting one on Tuesday mornings at 7:00 am (and thinking to myself "hmm... I'll just use the Monday night Ladies Bible study material -- there won't be any overlap -- recycling!), a 2 hour worship committee meeting, a 3 hour staff meeting, planning for our Friday night Film Fest, integrating the theme of "Spring Training" into all the programming areas of the church (Baseball movies for Friday night -- whoo hoo, what fun! (and is Lent suppposed to be "fun"?)), organizing a method of growing Christian Ed, planning for the new building, writing ordination papers, writing two papers for class and two sermons, a case study, a verbatim, choir practice, study for Christian Believer and Disciple, taking the girls to GS and karate, the 5th grader's "hobby" project, the 3rd grader's "Black American" project. Hmmm... I think that's all =o)

I need to write the Ash Wednesday Liturgy -- I don't remember who is preaching, I just hope it's not me! Two surgeries next week, another on the 9th. Lots left to do.

I am so glad we are iced in today -- but with electricity. Tomorrow, I hope we are iced in again, because I could use the rest. Church really does recharge my batteries -- and I don't have any responsibility in the morning except for the "Prayer of Dedication" for the offering and my Lectionary SS class -- by now I can do both of these with little prep. But there is also my Christian Believer class, I am fixing a pot of chili for the chili cookoff tomorrow at 6:00 pm and then Disciple I at 7:00. I could use a lazy Sunday at home. And the Senior Pastor is out of town next week for the National Pastor's something or another in San Diego. I will *never ever ever* commit to two long term, intense Bible studies on a Sunday again. Never ever. 12 weeks left to go.

And about the sermon this week -- thanks for the comments. It went well. I have some experience and know that I would be ok -- and I was dreading listening to the other's sermons in the class -- it can be so very painful. But it wasn't too bad. Mine wasn't the best (only second best -- ok, I have a few ego problems) but I thought I did very well -- so much of communication is non-verbal and I thought I did a good job with the intonation and rhythm. Good focus, good energy. The only thing I could improve upon would be adding a more personal illustration. Also, I *hate* being timed. A 4 minute sermon can be four minutes with one group, 2 minutes with another and 8 minutes with another. You have to read the group and adjust accordingly.

The other sermon I did was in another advanced preaching class -- smaller group. We were to "preach" a psalm with intonation, body language, inflection, facial expressions, gestures -- we were allowed to adjust the Psalm for beat and rhythm, but not change the words or meaning. We were allowed to have background music. I was assigned Psalm 137. It was interesting. The instructor tapes us and views the tape over and over again for vocal anomolies and what not. She is a professional actor with the Alliance Theatre and also has theological (seminary) training and even though it's excruciatingly painful, it's very useful.

I'm going to a workshop in March with Fred Craddock. It seems this is a semester for preaching.

What does it say about me that I overcommit? What is the theology to be found in being overwhelmed? What am I saying about my image of God in this? I love to be busy -- I'm a high energy person. When I'm moving, I'm moving. When I'm still, I'm very very still. I do both -- I need both. I have always been the "rabbit" in the "tortise and the hare" story. I don't know the bit about "slow and steady wins the race." I don't know if I can do that. Is that a bad thing?


Michael said...

If you need an ear, just call

Take Care

PPB said...

Wow. It sounds like a crazy week for you. I have to admit your description of preaching class in no way imitates the preaching classes that I took---and I took a lot of them! I don't know how I would have liked all that structure. Kudos to you for your tolerance.
Oh, and I'm all about the recycling. I recycle sermons every week, and have yet to get caught! I preach in the morning at whatever church has hired me and then the same sermon that evening at the college. If in some horrible universe I ever had 2 Bible study groups (Bible study=my least favorite thing in ministry), I would absolutely recycle.

reverendmother said...

Very thought-provoking post for me. Your mileage may vary from the following...

Is it a bad thing? Maybe, maybe not. I say this as one who as been the rabbit, and a rabbit in recovery, and one who works for the Mother of All Rabbits.

A couple months ago a dear woman serving on session slunk into my office to tell me she was resigning from the session. Why was she telling me and not the head of staff? She was ashamed to say it to the Mother of All Rabbits, and needed me to help cushion the blow. The woman feels like an utter failure. What she told me was she was just not able to fulfill the requirements of her eldership--"And I am single and without kids!" she cried. "I look at [another elder, married with kids] and think, look at what they're doing. Why can they handle it and I just can't?"

Rabbits are a profound blessing in the church, but they come at an often terrible price. My head of staff isn't a martyr, she doesn't do stuff grudgingly, she loves what she does, and she is an inspiration to all, but the flip side is this crippling sense of guilt people feel when they can't measure up (or even just refuse to try).

Roy Oswald of Alban Institute suggests in his research (and painful personal experience) that pastors can work about 50 hours a week max week in and week out, but more than that, sustained, and most flame out quite spectacularly. Unfortunately, I didn't learn this while in seminary. God has a fondness for on-the-job training.

So, good or bad? Only you can know for sure. But this is the demon I wrestle with (gee, hard to tell?), and I wish you strength for the tussle.

reverendmother said...

I forgot to ask--is the Craddock workshop part of the series he does up at his church in N. GA? If it's not, definitely check those out. Free, day-long workshops on various topics, done about twice a year. Mainly just a chance to bask in the glow of one of the greats. I only got to do a couple, but they were grand fun.