Sunday, October 16, 2016

Still kinda terrifying

So, I delivered what was Sermon 3 of my life today (or "Sermon," I prefer the scare quotes as I'm not actually ordained so I'm just doing this as a layperson).

It still scares me. Even though I had practiced it, even though I ran over it quickly again before church. It seems odd to me that I should be that much more scared standing up in front of a group of people who give me no reason to believe they feel anything but love for me (I don't get that from students) and if I do badly, the only consequences I will face is maybe not being asked to do it again. (And if I DO do well, I wind up getting asked again at some point.)

("It's like a pie-eating contest where the prize is more pie," which is occasionally said about earning tenure)

But I did it today. I think the sermon was a pretty good one - again, I don't remember the delivery of it all that well other than that I could have paused longer at one point when I said something bordering on funny and people laughed. People told me it was good and it was meaningful.

(Short summary: it was over Luke 10:38-42, Mary and Martha, and the tack I took was that we need both Marys and Marthas, that Martha wasn't so *wrong* in what she was doing, but maybe it was untimely when she was doing it, and that sometimes the Marthas - of which I am very much one - do need to slow down and be contemplative. And the side note that things happen in their own right time, and I did go through good old Ecclesiastes 3 at that part.)

But yeah. Still stressful. It wasn't very warm in church and I was wearing a lighter weight dress, but I can still feel that I sweated through the underarms of it. (So, even though I only wore it for a couple hours, I'll have to wash it - I can't just hang it back up like I sometimes do with church clothes).

We also had a new person join church, which was particularly scary - am I doing this right? Am I even qualified to do this, seeing as I'm not ordained? But I was the most qualified one there (the ordained person was absent) and we really are pretty low-drama about that in the Disciples of Christ (there's one question you ask the person, and they're pretty much expecting it, so)

(And yeah, there's the old saying about God not choosing the prepared so much as preparing the chosen)

I had several people ask me if I'd ever considered the ministry as a career, so I guess it went well. My response: "I can do the 'God stuff' comfortably, I am not so comfortable with the 'people stuff'" and in the mostly-small churches where I would be, if I did it, I'd have to do both counseling and preaching, and the whole counseling thing would scare me, as I deal very badly with conflict, I don't like having crying people sitting in my office and not knowing how to help, I am afraid of extremely angry people. If I just had to preach and pray and stuff, I could do that....the whole "easy to be a saint on a mountaintop" thing.

Though I don't know. Maybe with the right classes, some practice, and a little more maturity (if I ever get more than I have right now, which, I don't know: I'm probably at my life maximum for maturity) I could do it. I've often said people planning to be college professors should probably have some basic psychology/counseling classes because we wind up dealing with so many messy emotions from people and also sometimes also have to be able to cope with human difficulties, and I think I would be able to better if I had had some training.

But yeah. I could PROBABLY do enough coursework to earn something like a Master's of Divinity in a few years....I'm not going to totally dismiss the possibility because (a) it's just possible teaching college could become unappealing enough in the future to want something else with my life and (b) I'm enough of a "Martha" that a "traditional" retirement (of bridge and golf) wouldn't appeal that much to me; I'd want to feel useful.

I still don't really think I have "the call" but maybe not everyone who goes into the ministry feels like that at first. (Or maybe I do and just haven't recognized it yet).

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