ministerial musing the further i walk down this way the more confounded i become about my calling. i have no idea why God called such a sinner to serve His saints and i question whether i could ever proclaim with st. paul, “follow me as i follow Christ.”
fortunately, although i don’t have the depth of character that is expected of ministers and am one of the most relationally retarded people to ever enter pastoral ministry, i have not been left bereft of role models. as i continue upon this way, i resonate with the stories of graham greene’s whisky priest* and uncle freddy’s godric all the more.
as with the whisky priest, i am a vain, narcissistic man who is almost as fixated on my own interests as i am undone by the sacraments and the opportunity i have to share such gracious secrets with the world. moreover, like God’s wreck** i can sometimes feel God unfolding through my hands and it is on account of those rare emanations that i will never fully surrender to the sins of my flesh nor, i suspect, leave this life of embodied compassion and proclamation.
so there you go. rick warren has w.a. criswell, leighton ford had billy graham*** and i have godric and the whisky priest. i am so utterly thankful for these companions who, along with a surprisingly large contingent of three dimensional characters,**** are encouraging me to remain upon this way.
* his story is recounted in the power and the glory.
** this is one possible etymological root of the name Godric. or at least it might be. the latter character is, on regular occasion, completely full of shit. is it any wonder that i love him?
*** speaking of, if you want to have your heart completely broken, read this washington post article about bessie the cow, billy’s burial place and the striking hubris of the billy frank’s son.
**** in this midst of this horribly beautiful year, wherein God has focused on teaching me obedience through my sufferings, one of these friends admonished me in the midst of such discipline to “not loose all your rough edges.” “for that,” she continued, “is part of your charm.” such words, from such a woman, just about killed me.