Kid Fears

My youngest, 12, asked about our greatest fears while eating dinner.  Everyone sort of looked around at one another not wanting to go first.  So I asked her what her greatest fears are.  She replied that she was afraid her epilepsy would never go away and that she wouldn’t be able to drive.  We talked about that for a while; acknowledging that it’s a real possibility and tried to come up with a game plan for what to do if her epilepsy sticks around forever.

But the question hung in the air for the rest of us.  As a mom, my biggest fear is supposed to be something happening to my children.  Right?  But that’s not really my greatest fear.  In some sense I’ve accepted that things will happen to my children that break their hearts and mine.  We’ve already gone through some pretty heavy stuff together.  I know that together we’ll face whatever the world throws at us, like it or not.

My biggest fear…the fundies are right.  Yes, laugh if you must.  But that is my biggest fear–the Christian Fundamentalists are right.  I grew up with Southern Baptist fire and brimstone.  My aunt and uncle didn’t celebrate Christmas because it was not a biblical mandate.  Instead they traveled around in their converted school bus and held tent revivals.  On my 13th birthday I received a long letter detailing how I was bound for hell unless I repented and turned toward God.  At my grandmother’s funeral they stuffed Chick Tracts in everyone’s pockets and purses.  I could go on and on.  My greatest fear is that those whackadoos and their ilk are right.  I’m confident they are not.  I’m nearly positive that they are not.  However, I know enough to know that it’s possible, that I don’t have the express line to the one true religion.

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Missing Ministry…Rambling towards the Dream

Since returning to Colorado our lives have been up in the air.  Things are settling in place but I feel more lost than ever.  As we planned this enormous leap of faith–moving without jobs, moving into the in-laws home (thanks be to God for them!), I dreamed of starting a home church.  I had this wonderful vision of sitting on the porch with a group of non-churchy adults discussing scripture and how we can realize the Kindom of God in the here and now.  It’s nearly a year and a half later and I have not realized that dream.

I was the good little Methodist (as much as I am apt to be) and connected with the local District Superintendent.  We began attending a Methodist church near by and got involved there.  I met with the district ordination committee (fantastic group of leaders!) but I still wasn’t sure it’s where I belonged.

I met the local UCC ministers and they readily invited me into church and ministry.  It felt so good.  They welcomed me with open arms, there wasn’t this feeling of let us check you out first.  It was “we’re glad to have you!”  I’ve flirted with the UCC for many years.  I love their openness. When they say all are welcome here, they mean it.  There are no ifs, ands, or buts.  So I switched.  I thanked the UMC DS and committee but said I was leaving the UMC.

As with all churches and denominations I’ve learned some flaws of the UCC, at least our local UCC.  Church is church.  It’s a human institution filled with flaws and humans being ugly as well as filled with wonder and moments in which we see and feel God moving among us.

But due to some issues not ready for public discussion, I’m having a hard time moving forward with them as well.  I feel like my best option is to “go rogue.”  Do that little home church.  But what is holding me back?  What fear am I not acknowledging, accepting, or facing?

I’ve been trying to remember what it is I really want.  What is it that God is calling me to do?  Currently, my paid vocation revolves around helping abused and neglected children.  It is good work.  I definitely claim it as meaningful ministry.  I volunteer with the local domestic violence and sexual assault agency.  What I do there is most definitely meaningful ministry.

What I miss is the teaching and preaching.  Which sometimes makes me think I must be an egomaniac.  That this ministry piece is completely ego-centric.  I don’t want to believe that’s true.  I don’t think it is.  I love (and miss) helping people to see and understand scripture from a new perspective.  I love helping to encourage and develop new spiritual connections and disciplines.  And oddly enough, this fly by the seat of her pants girl, greatly misses organizing and planning liturgy, activities, and worship.  I miss praying with people and listening.  With both my paid and volunteer work, I sit with people in great need, I listen to them, I speak when necessary, and I pray for them, but I never pray with them.  I miss that.  I miss it all.  Okay, I don’t miss the yearly reports and charge conferences.  I miss studying and steeping myself in scripture.  Yes, I realize that I can and should be doing that anyway but I dont’.  Not often.  Perhaps it’s too hard because it reminds me of the other stuff that I miss as well.

But my hope is that if I can do just one thing a week, a day even, that somehow moves me forward.  Moves me to practice and discover a way to realize this dream.  God will lead me.  I will.  Hence, it is my goal to get on here at least once a week and ramble about God, where I’m at, what’s next, face my fears, whatever it takes to move ahead just one small step at a time until somehow I am engaged in those aspects of ministry that I am desperately missing right now.