Wednesday, August 09, 2006

musing…

i probably shouldn’t even talk about this, since i’m still in the midst of processing. but i need to say something, because often times blogging makes internal issues more real for me.*

for the past three and a half years, i have been a bi-vocational preacher.** sometimes stumbling down the bi-vocational path is incredibly liberating*** and sometimes it is overwhelmingly frustrating.**** lately it’s felt more like the latter.*****

in the midst of my frustration concerning my occupation, i’ve been flailing about and trying to catch hold of some sort of work that i might find meaningful. i’ve considered social work, obsessed about teaching and even considered selling my swimmers. i’m just joking about the last part, but teaching and social work have been on my mind a lot.

however, this morning, as i dodged the sanitation workers on the way to work and openly wondered whether their job is more satisfying than mine****** i realized that i need to be careful lest i choose an occupation that is really another vocation. at the moment, teaching seems to fit the latter bill better than social work, but i dunno.

i suppose i’m saying is that in the midst of my occupational confusion i don’t want to trade my vocation******* for something else that appears good but would ultimately be less than the best.

i suppose that i’m also asking for your prayers and wisdom as i continue to muddle my way through a year that has been stained with unexpected death and unexpectedly scented with the hope of new life. i hate to ask for help like this, but i don’t think that my vocation is simply a possession. rather, i think that God gave it to me for the good of Christ’s community and for the world.

i fear this is as clear as mud. but there you go.


* yes, i realize that’s a bit pathetic.
** for those of you who didn’t slog your way through Bible college and/or seminary, bi-vocational ministry is where you work a real job in order to support your work in the church and, as a result, often fail to do either work or church as well as you would like.
*** especially when you enjoy your day job and are free to serve God and others without a lot of unnecessary restrictions, regulations and censorship.
**** especially when you job sucks and you have no time to do the ministry tasks you love, much less the ministry tasks you hate.
***** which is probably why i’m writing. i tend to dwell on the glass half empty a lot more than tend to the glass half full. shocking, i know.
****** the jury is still out on that one.
******* which is to proclaim the subversive hope of the gospel and incarnate Christ’s compassion to a sick and dying world

6 comments:

Agent B said...

"...even considered selling my swimmers. i’m just joking about the last part..."

Whoo...good thing you're joking. Because you really can't fetch much for tropical fish on ebay.

My advice is the same that you recently gave me: Consider your next move carefully*

* - I'm still trying to figure that out in my own life.

I'm excited for you and how you guys live up in Beverly.

A boy named Toadie said...

Jeff,

I don't know if it is ironic or providentially directed but I logged onto your blog to find your e-mail to ask you about the very thing that you blogged about. You were on my heart this morning and I felt the urge to pray for you--in regards to your vocation.

g13 said...

thanks toad, you have no idea how much i needed that. there's no denying that right now i am one confused motherfucker.

but i'm still doing my best to follow Jesus' lead.

Rags said...

Gentry, I'm glad to hear of the struggle if not the frustration. I'll leave all other pastoral platitudes aside and just say that I'm praying for you right now.

Landis said...

For what it's worth, I think you'd make an awesome English/lit. teacher.

jackaway said...

i miss you dude, and right now can feel the struggles of bi-vocational living. i spend my mornings teaching kids how to drive, my afternoons at the church and my evening babysitting or housesitting. i can barely do it with no real life to speak of, but with a wife and dog and one on the way, i think it would make my hair fall the rest of the way out and the twitch in my eye to double in speed. i love you dude.