I was sitting in class yesterday and the focus of the discussion was on the self care of clergy. Now, this is an important issues in several congregations across America because of the reliance placed upon the professional church worker. But even though I recognize the need the speak about such an issue I wonder if those strategies and/or structures that one can employ are really just putting a bandaid on a broken leg. What I mean is this, what if the problem is not one that stems from the over reliance of individuals on the professional church worker but one that stems from the existence of the church worker him/herself? Put another way, the issue is not how people engage with that professional church worker but that there is a professional church worker…
It has been months since I last took the time to sit down and write for this blog. So much has happened to me personally since that cold November day when I made my last post that I no longer feel that I can call this blog musings of a drop out anymore because, I’m no longer a drop out.
I am currently back in school, albeit a different seminary, to finish what I started nearly three years ago. I don’t know how it all came to pass but my wife and I are back in the city we love and I’m back in the thick of things. But, I’m not where I started and to be honest this place has it’s own issues. The difference is now it’s ok for me to disagree, which is a nice change of pace. But I still feel like I don’t belong. Like I am an exile in a foreign land.
I suppose that is a good way to think about it because I followed in the footsteps of some other people who called themselves that very title. While the struggle they fought was different I always respected their courage to walk out of the seminary, that same seminary I walked out of. And now, as I seek to finish my degree elsewhere I feel a strange connection to those brave seminex men and women. I am no longer home in the bosom of Lutheranism but I am interacting with different people steeped in different traditions and it’s wonderful.
Maybe I will always be an exile. Maybe I will never fully fit in somewhere or find my ideal setting. But that’s ok. Belonging to a community doesn’t mean we all have to agree. It means that we all have our place among others. That we recognize that we all belong to each other whether we are part of a specific group or not. It doesn’t matter if im a Lutheran among baptists or a terrorist among my victims. We all belong to one another.
As John Donne once said…
No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as a manor of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee