There’s an old clown ministry skit (hush!) where a series of solo clowns walk on the stage each carrying a piece of lumber. On one side of the lumber is the name of a Christian denomination (Baptist, United Church of Christ, Presbyterian, Catholic, etc.). As they maneuver about the stage, turning this way and that, the boards collide. Hilarity and mayhem ensues. A few minutes later, all the clowns are on the floor, with wood strewn everywhere.
A solitary clown walks on the stage with a sign bearing a cross and the words: “is there Carpenter in the house?” and nervous laughter erupts from the audience. The church is a mess. It’s always been a mess because it’s made up of people who are cracked and broken and less innocent than clowns. We laugh at the clowns knowing that we really laugh at ourselves.
As disordered as denominational ministry might look, for the last thirty-some years of my life it added order to my days. There’s always been at least one project looking for my attention or at the very least a sermon that needs writing. January 1st I stepped down from my last position into a time of unpaid (and potentially unending) sabbatical. In spite of this all being planned for about a year, I find I’ve been a bit rudderless. Who am I if I’m not the head of the local mop-and-bucket brigade, providing resources and assistance to congregations and clergy?
This sabbatical has been without shape or form. In my defense, I ended up with a bad cold for one of those weeks, and of course there were a few days puttering around our new place making adjustments. I had a couple of days working with tech support to figure out what was wrong with my computer (yes, DAYS) and am now in Indiana taking care of my grandfloof cat while his moms are cruising. It’s a good time to be apart from everything familiar, simply answering to the needs of a large (rather vocal) cat.
I knew I’d not find answers to my great questions immediately… but I’ll confess that I had thought I’d be at a point where I was formulating the right questions.
I continue to insist that I am rewiring (instead of retiring). I don’t see myself leaving the central core of who I am, and what I am called to do. I know I have certain skill sets that are useful to organizations, and believe I’m still called to use them. The questions that I’ve been working with are those of when and where, and with whom.
And… why I should rewire.
Anyone know a good electrician?