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Time travel

May 30, 2012

Okay, this really won’t be about time travel at all. But I had to pick a title and I was at a loss, and it has been such a long time since I posted anything. And I’m under the influence of a higher dose of Lyrica for the Torturous Itch. So I am perhaps more willing to be cavalier with my words than I would in an entirely sober state.

Even though I am going to preach my “Getting Saved” sermon for the third time next Sunday, this time in Exeter, NH, I don’t have any great new insights to share right now on the topic. I think one of the reasons I haven’t posted here in a long time is that I’m a bit intimidated by my own blog title. I feel like each time I post, I should be throwing out a lifeline that someone who is drowning could grab hold of, something profound and salvific. Like I could tell you easily enough what Jesus would do in any given situation.

As I finish my first year of ministry, I have been thinking about that odd hubris of ministry – and pondering what makes me, with my messy house, my penchant for procrastination, and my humanist beliefs, a candidate to assume the role of minister, spiritual guide, teacher, confessor, prophetic voice? I once was in my minister’s office, sobbing out my fear and pain over I don’t remember exactly what – my tumor? Mom’s dementia? Andy’s death? my son’s scary choices? my ex-husband’s anger and blame directed at me for said son’s scary choices? Let’s say it was some combination of all of them. I had run out of words and was just crying, when that critical voice in my head said out loud, “How can *I* possibly be a minister?” But I knew it myself even before Michael said it to me: it is exactly in that vulnerable humanity that humble, faithful ministry is rooted. Not just for me, but for all of us.

Maybe this is the rope I’m tossing out there: your bad days, your humiliating mistakes, those bad habits you struggle against and cannot seem to fully break, your anger, and your grief are the keys to compassion, empathy, and the gentle and freeing blessing of forgiveness. It being spring and all, compost is the metaphor that comes immediately to mind. If we let ourselves feel fully, owning our broken places, new life grows forth, enriched by our crumbled past selves.

Maybe this does have something to do with time travel after all.

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