Saturday, November 24, 2007

musing…

growing up, i had the impression that christian ministers were offered their posts on account of their moral accomplishments, theological acumen and commitment to their local communities. for that reason, i often converted descriptive passages such as i timothy 3 into a virtual checklists for prospective christian leaders.

“so you want to dance lead?” st. paul somberly asked. “if so, please answer the following questions in five hundred words or less: do you have the same quality of character as your pa pa? are you sexing up anyone other than your wife? are your children little shits?”

however, now that i’ve stumbled after Christ for a number of years, i am starting to realize that my ministry is not something that i have acquired on account of my moral qualifications. rather, the origins of my ministry are rooted in the sovereign, undeserved, seemingly awkward and nearly impossible to interpret calling of God.

i’m not saying that i’m indifferent to importance of developing the character traits that paul outlines in i timothy 3. but, thus far anyway, the purpose and power of ministry seem to reside less in my character development than in the simultaneously wonderful and horrifying knowledge that God has intertwined a life that is, admittedly, not worthy to be incorporated into the scum of the earth with the remarkably beautiful, good and true life of the suffering Servant.

as i’ve mentioned before, much like the whisky priest in greene’s power and the glory and buechner’s godric, i (somewhat) realize that i am a part of the compost of the world out of which God intends to bring new life. so please excuse me if i smell like shit and fail to measure up to paul’s metrics. this life is not an expression of personal ambition or intention but the direct result of an unexpected and undeserved calling.

3 comments:

Agent B said...

"the origins of my ministry are rooted in the sovereign, undeserved, seemingly awkward and nearly impossible to interpret calling of God"

That would definitely be something that describes me and this "ministry". Great words bro.

And yeah, I love that you posted those lost verses of Eugene Peterson. Little Shits. Great stuff man.

mike said...

"this life is not an expression of personal ambition or intention but the direct result of an unexpected and undeserved calling."

so you won't be on the cover of "leadership mag" or posting articles on "out of ur" or other such christian, "cutting edge postmodern-y" rags any time soon?

bummer, you could cut a good deal with some publishers and make some good cash selling out. how ironic would it be if you were published as one of the new hip/cool pastor types and lightway had to carry a book by an author they fired. ha ha ha.

now that would be the ultimate irony - and a christian one at that. wait, are christians who get published alowed to be ironic?

g13 said...

thanks for the kind words b. if i was hauled before one of those puritan tribunals wherein one was forced to "prove" one's calling, i'd be up a creek. He definitely moves in mysterious ways.

mike, i don't think all be on the cover of leadership magazine anytime soon, but i wouldn't mind being an out of ur poster at some point. moreover, i wouldn't completely discount the idea of selling out, for, as my hero peter la fleur once noted, "every man has his price."