Catholic Confirmation: Get it over with

Just Be God’s: A Call to Continuing Conversion is a series of blog posts. You might want to start reading it from the beginning: Here.

March 29

Lately, I’ve been of the attitude of just “getting it over with” when it comes to becoming Catholic. I can’t decide if this good, or bad, or normal, or abnormal. I mean, all the depth is still there. I’m not a totally jaded Catholic yet. I’m just the normal Christian. Whatever that means. Along with my feelings of wanting to just get it over with, I am excited. I do feel a little afraid. I do believe I’m doing the right thing, even though I don’t sound like I am. I know that this is good.

I talk about it sometimes like I’m annoyed I have to do it. This is probably more human experience, as opposed to a parental brain-washing encouraging you to do or not do something you will never fully understand. “Welcome to the One Holy and Apostolic Church.” Like with anything you love, or you have to work for, that intense directed hard-working passion—it get’s old, annoying, and repetitive quite often. But you still love it. You still want it. You’re not always totally sure why you do what you do, whatever that thing is, that makes you move and keep moving, but you always know that it is good.

It’s not always perfect. You don’t always feel perfect. But you know. If you make a mistake, it’s not going to be the end of the world. It’s learning and growing.

I feel like there are so many wrong things with some of the above statements. Like, it’s just another way of saying, “Follow your heart.” But just remember, your heart is not perfect. And no, you also can’t perfectly know the heart of God, and have your hearts perfectly melded in the same direction (because you’re human surrounded by humans). However, that is what the kingdom is—working for that melding of our direction and God’s direction… until the work is done… mistakes and all.

I am in a super transition state. In addition to literally moving to another state, I’m getting confirmed, getting married, getting a new job, and planning to walk across Spain all summer. That’s not even including my hobbies of preaching and podcasting and social media and writing and counseling…

I remember that I wrote, not too long ago, that I really didn’t want to do anything that I didn’t want to do anymore. What do I want to do? I want to help people. I want to learn more tech and promotion skills. I want to have time to write, vacation, and be with family.

One of my co-workers was complaining about life, and he said something along the lines of, “You’re life is figured out!”

“What? What are you talking about?”

“You’re getting married, moving to Florida. You’ll pop out a couple kids. And you’ll stay at home and have some sort of popular blog about making your own baby food or something!”

“You think so….”

It was kind of weird. I thought it was mostly weird in that he seemed convinced and maybe even jealous. Personally, I think all those things sound great. But I can’t count on that. I keep writing. I do my thing. But I’m not consistent. I have a million other things in my mind taking me away from what I’d like to focus on. It’s the battle of feelings between “I have to do this” and “I want to do this.”

Even writing this right now, I’m procrastinating. What will this amount to? Probably nothing. But I want to do it. My being depends on it.

All Tables Are Open to You

Just Be God’s: A Call to Continuing Conversion is a series of blog posts. You might want to start reading it from the beginning: Here.

March 26

I preached again last week. I wrote about twice as much as I actually preached. Steve was there, and he was very encouraging. It was fun, again.

It is also really tough. I get harder on myself every time, and everyone says I get better every time. I don’t know. There are always so many holes in preaching. You can’t talk about every detail, and you can’t go too deep. Is preaching even really necessary? It’s like the equivalent of the elevator speech. Which sounds awful. One because, it’s selling something, and two because it could easily be embellished and shallow.

That’s been my struggle. I don’t want to embellish or be shallow. I don’t want to sell something. I want to try and teach something. I want to try and encourage/challenge. I want a positive introduction to what Christianity should be, what the kingdom should be, where the means are the ends.

The more I think about it, the whole homily part of church seems out of date. Originally, to teach and catechize people, that wasn’t in a worship service space at all. Ha. I sound so Catholic. All that teaching and talking is outside of worship. But this learning is also worship.

I think about my pentecostal leanings, and their preaching style is like worship. It’s like this idea of God literally speaking through whoever is preaching. Like the preachers word is the Bible. The pentecostals preach like they are speaking for God, like they are God, and they say things that they think God might stereotypically say, “I love you. But obey. Are you really obeying? Repent! Believe! You’re terrible, I love you again!” Yada Yada. Now that I look back, that’s a weird God stereotype, voice and message…

A lot of preaching is exegesis— Without using too many outside resources, what is the message here and now? There is some room for teaching historical context and criticisms, but the pulpit is not the best place to do that. Exegesis is tough. Thankfully, with the lectionary, you can pick a little bit and go for it. But five exegetical pages can easily be written on about three to five verses in the Bible. That’s why whenever someone is preaching on a large chunk or going back and forth in the Bible, I find it exhausting.

That was my challenge last week. I took a lot of material, and I could have preached on anything I wanted. The texts were ridiculously rich, and my sermon could be boiled down to Jesus’ treatment of the woman at the well and on how that’s like Paul’s reconciliation in Romans. I hardly touched on anything.

As I read my sermon, over and over, I felt like I was repeating myself: Reconcile this, reconcile that. I wanted to talk about everything. And I ended up getting some good points out, muddled with some lesser points… I still don’t know how I feel about the sermon.

The Saturday before I preached, my Presbyterian-ish friend was like, “So you’re becoming Catholic.”

“Yeah. Well, I’m getting confirmed. Like I wasn’t Catholic before…”

“Oh, well, yeah that’s true.”

“It’s ok. That’s how we say it. I’m also preaching tomorrow.”

Awkward wide-eyed pause, “How does that work?”

“Sometimes I preach at another church.”

More friends arrive breaking conversation. End scene.

Another presbyterian friend of mine said, “Yeah, it’s pretty cool. Once you do it, pretty much all tables are open to you.” He get’s it. That’s what I’m aiming for.

So, I preached on Sunday, and it was good and fun, and everyone was saying how they’re going to miss me when I move to Florida. Steve had an amazing suggestion: Women in Preaching Podcast. That’s right: WIP.

I think I’m going to do it. I started making a list of as many woman as I could think of who do preach, or have preached, or might be interested in preaching. I’ve come up with 30 people I know. Twenty more and I’ve got the year covered with sermons.

It’s a really good idea. Normal-ish average religious people haven’t busted into the podcast scene yet. The cool preachers are all busy writing books and running churches, so I figured, why not create a kind of online church.

June 13, 2016

 This is the first inception of the WIPodcast. I had the podcast for about a year (2014-2015) and then couldn’t sustain it any longer. It cost money, and took time and skills, and I had bigger fish to fry. I had to work.

It was a lot of fun doing the podcast, and I loved talking with people, hearing their stories, and putting it altogether. I’ve considered doing it again, but the time and money aren’t jiving with me right now. As I see it, there is still a huge need for more women’s voices in (well, everywhere) the Religious Podcast Media world. It’s wide open. No one is there except bunches of white dudes who do Crossfit and/or have beards.

It’s crazy to me that there is still a need even over a year since I put WIP to rest.

Sermon 3: The Woman at the Well

Just Be God’s: A Call to Continuing Conversion is a series of blog posts. You might want to start reading it from the beginning: Here.

March 23, 2014 Preach it.

SERMON 3

As I’m sure, many of you are aware, the story of the woman at the well invites all kinds of cultural judgment for the time.

From the get go: passing through Samaria could be judged because Jews don’t do that. Another scandal is that the scene takes place at Jacob’s Well which connotes a provocative tone—this is where Jacob met his wife, and I imagine was kind of like the Samaritan version of the Harding “three swings and a ring.” Did you meet that girl down by the well?

Then there’s the fact that Jewish Male Jesus is talking to a Samaritan Female. Double counts of taboo! The gospel of John invites our scoffing. Jesus is doing this all wrong, and the woman doesn’t deserve any second of attention in the story or in the gospel. But here is is.

Being a Christian, I have a tendency to judge. I started making a list of people that I had in the past thought less of or as utterly wrong… Like

Catholics. Pentecostals. Those speaking in tongues people. LGBT people. Fornicators. Clappers. People who eat in the building. Women praying out loud. People who don’t dress up at church. Atheists. Spiritual not religious people. Jews. Mormons. Muslims. People who swear.

I’ve changed though, I’ve gotten over many of those judgments, now I judge: Uneducated. Ignorant. Poor. Lazy. Unforgiving. Jobless. People who hate LGBT. People who hate women. Abusers. Sowers of dissension. Anyone who is stuck and can’t change. Protesters telling you you’re going to hell. Street preachers. People who don’t know everything I know. People who don’t give enough. People who are educated, and still don’t agree with me! People who got the job that don’t deserve the job. Internet trolls. People who own iPads and don’t know how to use them.

Somehow my second list seems more judgy than my first list…

I have also been, at one point or another, judgy of Paul on the same counts. If you talk about Paul to any liberated woman or any person who doesn’t buy into heteronormativity, you may catch an eye-roll, or some sort of motion of disdain. I am guilty, and still guilty sometimes.

Paul is often thought of as moody, inconsistent, bossy, and a woman hater. He talks to us about things that I don’t want to talk about. Lot of rules come to mind. Or whatever guilt I might harbor in the cobwebs of my soul.

His writings are rarely him telling a story, and if they are, it’s some sort of seemingly narcissistic heroism by himself. In his writings he praises some. He rebukes others. He writes dogma and doctrine. He makes one statement and immediately contradicts it. He deserves to be judged… by me.

And then there’s this whole thing other thing that he talks about: Reconciliation.

Imagine trying to culturally combine the groups and individuals that I mentioned on both my lists above, and then get them to love each other, and genuinely work together. There you have it, Paul’s challenges to the Roman church merging Gentile, Jews, and whoever else. Now back to the woman at the well.

The gospel of John has set a scene for scandal. The rules are all being broken. If you look closely at the reading, and were listening to this story in it’s cultural context, you’d be able to see how gender, culture, religious, and political boundaries were being dismantled.

Jews were passing through Samaria when they don’t usually do that, Jesus is talking to a woman at a hot pick up spot… And as the conversation goes the woman has a tendency to evade his questions and only assumes fleshly needs and desires as Jesus converses with her.

Jesus asks for water and the woman asks him why he’s talking to her…

4:7 A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.”

4:9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.)

Samaritans and Jews aren’t even supposed to share buckets in common!

You know, Jesus was probably actually thirsty. He asked her for a drink, and then tells her he has all the water he needs. It’s like they’re speaking two different languages. Jesus just wants a drink, and she seems to want to argue. Even so, Jesus clarifies by saying that he has living water and the woman says, “You don’t even have a bucket,” still assuming that the water is literal water.

Jesus tries to explain that that’s not what he’s talking about and eventually asks her to go get her husband. And she evades by saying that she has none, at which point, Jesus calls her out on her having five husbands.

Jesus knew her, in all her dark parts of herself, and still spoke with her. By giving culture and customs no power, by refusing to argue, he broke down this cultural barrier between male and female, as well as the barriers between the Jews and Samaritans. He asked her for water/for help. He shared with her in his own weakness, along with connecting to her own hurt. He shared with her his humanity being famished and his divinity acknowledging her hurt.

The story of the woman at the well is an invitation to love, to care for, and to know one another deeply, far beyond our differences. There are some implicit themes of God’s reconciliation in this story, and if you notice, there are some powerful key words in Paul: justice, peace, grace, hope, love, and reconciliation. Paul is particularly concerned with breaking down barriers between the Jews and Gentiles. He wants them to see that not one of them is more or less sinner or saved. But it’s tough to discuss reconciliation without also having a conversation about forgiveness.

Forgiveness and reconciliation tend to be buzzwords in conversations on violence, and political and religious unrest in post-conflict regions. From a political and psychological perspective no one is totally clear or agrees on what reconciliation is, if it’s truly possible, or how to do it correctly.

Forgiveness and reconciliation aren’t mutually exclusive, but there are some agreed upon differences. Reconciliation is almost always between multiple parties, forgiveness on the other hand, can be done within yourself (without a literal meeting or conversation). Those involved in reconciliation have to be available, conscious, and willing. It involves literal meeting, conversation, and effort for all parties involved. Reconciliation may be working towards forgiveness, but is mostly conflict resolution ending in tolerance at minimum, and restored relationship with forgiveness at best.

These current definitions of reconciliation don’t really match God’s reconciliation that happens in Romans with Paul. Because this restoring of relationship with God happens without our full awareness or any response whatsoever. It reads, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us… while we were still enemies, we were reconciled to God.” It seems more like forgiveness.

In the story of the woman at the well, Jesus approaches and engages her in a way that assumes there are no cultural barriers, almost as if they already have a deep relationship, with or without her awareness.

Psychologists who study forgiveness usually define it as “letting go of negative feelings.” But many times they’ll also include that forgiveness allows for positive feelings toward the transgressor. So you let go of negative feelings and you give positive ones. When we allow for God’s forgiveness in ourselves and with others, there may be some transformation at work in the other person without our own full awareness.

I don’t know if any of you have ever had this happen in your life where forgiveness becomes necessary, and you do it. Full on letting go of negative feelings and letting in of positive ones—such as compassion, empathy, seeing them as human. And soon enough, the other person changes. It doesn’t always happen, and maybe it’s just your perspective that changed, its difficult to know. I want to believe that even without an intentional literal intervention, if I choose to forgive, transformation will occur in me and in you.

That’s what is happening at the well, and while we were enemies, God still loved us, Jesus still gave his life, we were reconciled, and our relationship with God was restored. We have this ability to extend God’s reconciliation to others, and we ought to extend that love to others. Something like love, when it’s at it’s fullest potential (whether it’s in the form of reconciliation or restorative justice, or peace, or forgiveness, etc.), there are no different types. Love just is.

In Rome, Paul is working toward, not just reconciliation, but a mutual love and cooperation between Christians, and between Christians and their culture. God through Jesus and the Spirit is the ultimate mediator of all of this. And Paul teaches that “No human sin is sufficient to separate us from the love of God that saves us.” This makes it easier, for me, to reconcile with Paul in myself.

In God’s reconciliation, in Paul and at the well, God recognizes and affirms “You are a part of me and I am a part of you.”

The Samaritan woman is a story of Jesus acknowledging the dark corners of her life, and still loving her. He takes himself to a place where he could be assumed as one of her many husbands. And she says that Jesus told her everything she ever did. Not that he was the messiah, but that she was known and still a part of kingdom… And all of her, every part of herself.

Lent is a time to think about these parts of ourselves that don’t get along. Or that I think are not acceptable. That are ignored. Or that I don’t want to talk about. With God’s help, it’s a time to raise our awareness in order to help reconcile pieces of ourselves that are also a part of other people. God, through Christ, begins and mediates that reconciliation in me and everywhere else.

God does the real work, with or without my awareness. It’s freeing to know that we’re finite, we can’t do it all, we won’t do it all. But reconciliation is all the more powerful when we name it, when we notice the ignored corners of our own lives, and let God be there and work there. Welcomed or unwelcomed, conscious or unconscious, God will reconcile with us, God will help reconcile us with each other, and God will reconcile the pieces of ourselves that we don’t want to reconcile.

Everytime I judge the way I judged in the beginning of my sermon. Everytime I call someone else wrong, or unworthy, I’m really calling myself that. I judge myself, because I know that if I dig deep enough, I’ll find that I do the exact same thing that that other person or group is doing that I don’t like.

Because I am a part of you, and you are a part of me.

DONE

March Sermon Musement

That’s kind of a strange testimony. It’s kind of like Paul’s reconciliation. Before we even knew what hit us, Christ knew us, and still chose us. Jesus put himself in an equally awkward situation with us, seeing us fully for who we are (even as we try and avoid it), so we can see ourselves. Before we did anything to earn anything, God took care of us. Maybe I’m a Calvinist…I have a protestant parent, and a catholic parent. I am protestant and I am catholic. And so are both of my parents. That was something that needed to be reconciled within themselves.

My church upbringing combined with being the oldest child caused serious struggles not telling people what to do. I have really good advice. I don’t want to make anyone feel weird or guilty or uncomfortable, but at the same time I want them to realize it’s okay. This happened, or you did this, and it was terrible, horrible, and you and the community should deal with it (we all have a responsibility). But there’s also nothing we can do (but acknowledge there is nothing we can do), and God does.

I feel like I’m doing the same thing Paul is doing, and I don’t like it. It’s like he says, “You have to do something. But you can’t do anything.” Everyone has sinned, and you can’t do anything about it. You can’t get out of this. God helps. That’s what Paul is trying to do, he’s trying to get the Jews and the Gentiles to get along and realize, God leveled the playing field, not one deserves salvation.

I imagine it was difficult for Paul, just like it’s difficult for us to understand, obedience, while good, is not the only way.

Sermon 1: Paul

This is what I was thinking about originally but didn’t quite finish.

I’ve noticed that it’s kind of cool, at one point or another, in a theology student’s career to hate Paul. Maybe not everyone goes through it, but I know I did. If you talk about Paul to any liberated woman or any person who doesn’t buy into heteronormativity, you may catch an eye-roll, or some sort of motion of disdain. I am guilty, and still guilty sometimes. Paul talks to us about things that I don’t want to talk about. Black and white rules come to mind. Or whatever guilt I might harbor in the cobwebs of my soul. His writings rarely are story, and if they are, it’s some sort of seemingly narcissistic heroism by Paul. He praises some. He rebukes others. He writes dogma and doctrine. He makes one statement and immediately contradicts it.

Paul is often thought of as moody, inconsistent, bossy, and a woman hater, but if you read Paul through the lens of reconciliation, which is his concept, then the rest of his writing is a bit more palatable. It’s as if he’s figuring it out as he writes it. Paul is trying to understand how to manage his own culture in the creation of a new culture in Christianity. He is aware that he is living in a world where Jesus broke the rules (like in the story of the woman at the well), not to make more rules—not to keep people in bondage, not to control leadership, not to exclude. So, even amidst all the household, church, and cultural rules that appear to be upheld by Paul, he still speaks of this reconciliation.

He’s got a lot on his plate. He has to make sure the churches don’t go too far off the mark (whatever that is), while also allowing for healing grace, forgiveness, and reconciliation in a melding of very different cultures. Paul’s confusing circularity, ought to be a comfort as we attempt to understand reconciliation in our own culture.

Preaching again.

Just Be God’s: A Call to Continuing Conversion is a series of blog posts. You might want to start reading it from the beginning: Here.

March 11

I’m preaching again, and this is definitely one of my favorite topics, but I need to tread lightly. It’s a reading on Paul about reconciliation, and it’s the woman at the well. This could be amazing or terrible. I’ll be treading the line between something innovative and something that already been said a thousand times over. I’m not sure what angle to approach it at…

One of the things about the woman at the well story I thought about is how Jesus sets himself up to be judged. Like, “Uh, hey Jesus, what exactly are you doing out here with this lady?” Seriously, what is up with this story?

Publishing the Sermon

Just Be God’s: A Call to Continuing Conversion is a series of blog posts. You might want to start reading it from the beginning: Here.

November 19

D to Paige

Paige, what a delight it was to receive Bob’s email about the sermon you recently preached at the Brookline church. It would have been wonderful to have been there to hear you preach. Maybe there will come a time that it will be possible. I would love to hear from you to know what you are doing and what your plans are. We have a Women in Ministry Network and I would love to include you. In fact, if you are on Facebook I can add you to our conversation page. That is, if I can figure out how to do it. So if you befriend me I can work on making that connection. However, that may not be your interest.

What I would really like is a copy of your sermon. A few years ago Kathy P., who was the first women to preach at the Brookline church, advised me to save all my sermons. She explained that in all her research about women who were preachers in the early years of the Restoration Movement she had not found any of their sermons preserved. So, I took her advice and asked her to send me a copy of her first sermon, which was preached around 1987. That began a project that is really beginning to take shape. I have been collecting the sermons of women in the Church of Christ for several years now and have about 22 women who sent me sermons or promises of sermons… I would love to include your sermon in the collection. Many of the sermons are the first and/or the only sermon a particular woman has preached. Some were preached in university settings or in hospital chapels. But that is part of our story. And I am hoping to not only create a historical document but record the story of women in ministry in this generation.

Here is what I would like from you: 1. give your sermon a title and put your name on it. (You would be surprised how many did not do this and it is hard keeping track of them once I save them to my file.) 2. provide the date and the place where you preached it. 3. Write a preface to the sermon. I would like a paragraph that tells something of your story. How you came to preach this sermon. Was it your first? If not, where else have you preached and is this the first you preached in a Church of Christ worship service? What was the experience like for you. Share anything you would like to about your journey to this moment. 4. The sermon ­­ 5. A bio: in your bio include your education and where you are at the present time. Include something of your family background, etc. Anything you want to add. It should be a short paragraph.

If you do all of the above, you will be way ahead of the game. In the beginning I didn’t give any guidelines or requirements and I have had a lot of editing to do. Keep your format simple and I will do the rest.

I hope you will accept this assignment. Let me know as soon as possible if you intend to submit your sermon. I am busy editing right now so I can wait until February 1 for your sermon. If you would like a sample I can send you someone’s sermon to give you an idea of the preface as well as the sermon. However, I want it to be expressive of you so whatever you send me will be great.

I look forward to hearing from you soon. Blessings, D

November 23

Paige to D

Hello D,

It’s wonderful to hear from you! This whole semester has been unexpectedly wild for me. While I’ve been in Boston a while (5 years), I haven’t been that amazing of a church of Christ goer. But as soon as I committed to attending this year (in addition to Catholic Mass), and let someone know I have a Master’s in Pastoral Ministry from Boston College, I was invited to preach. Like I said, it is wild. When Bob said you’d be emailing me, I was pretty taken aback. It’s been a long time since my days at Pepperdine, but my experience there, seeing women in the church of Christ in ministry, is really what planted my desire to minister (formally or informally and pretty much anywhere).

I’m delighted that you want my sermon and may include it in your book! I can definitely get you my sermon before Feb 1st, and I may even have preached again by the time it comes around. Clint, who puts the preaching circuit together at Brookline, is including me in the new year. It should be fun. Brookline is a fantastic church, and I like to call it “The Best Church of Christ in the World.”

A little about what’s going on with me before sending the sermon. Presently, I’m in a little bit of a transitional time of life. I work in Tech Support at Boston College (the job that got me through my two Master’s there). I’ve done that for about 2 years now, and my boyfriend just moved to Florida. Come summer, I’ll be finishing up in Boston, walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain, and moving down to Florida with possibly no money or job. I’m very excited! I’m actually heading down to Florida today to have Thanksgiving with his family this week. It should be very nice. And warm. New England has been wonderful, but it’s time to go.

I’d love to be included in the Facebook group! Say hello and send my love to Zach and the fam. I certainly miss Malibu. I will send you my sermon all formatted before Christmas. If you need any help editing, just let me know. I’d love to help in whatever way I can.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving! Paige

D to Paige

Paige, it is great to hear from you. I loved hearing about what you are and have been doing and to hear about your boyfriend. Is his university a Catholic university? If you do, in fact, move to Florida you may have to increase your attendance at the Catholic church. I don’t know of any Churches of Christ that are gender inclusive. However, I might be surprised, although there is quite a groundswell of churches that are making the transition to gender inclusion. It is very encouraging. I know how you feel about the Brookline church. It was a leader among churches of Christ in becoming inclusive and they have nurtured and encouraged many women and men through the years.

Your summer plans sound wonderful. I have always been intrigued by the Camino de Santiago, especially after watching the movie that was made by Emelio Estivez (sp?) and his father, Martin Sheen. I know it will be a memorable experience for you. Are you going alone?

I will pass your greeting on to Zach and Haley. I remember so well when Zach brought you to his birthday party at Ken and Libby’s house and we played cards. I was so impressed by your beautiful, thick red hair. And with you, of course.

I look forward to receiving and reading your sermon. Thank you for responding so quickly. I will keep in touch.

D

December 1

Paige to D

Hello D!

I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving. I spent mine eating (of course) and fishing in Florida. It is indeed a Catholic University, Benedictine by tradition. Steve, my boyfriend, is Catholic, studies and writes mostly on systematic theology, but was hired to teach ethics. I visited there this past week, and the campus was pretty nice (it’s tough always comparing to Pepperdine). It’s in a nice hilly area (for Florida) overlooking a big lake. I also do not know any gender inclusive Churches of Christ in Florida, there are A LOT of CoCs there, especially around Tampa. My mom, grandparents, and a couple of my cousins attended Florida College in Tampa which isn’t too far from St. Leo, but is, I believe, quite far from gender inclusion. Church of Christ history in Florida is fascinating.

My best friend and boyfriend are planning on walking the Camino next summer with me! I’ve booked my tickets with Steve for June 12, and she’s going to try and meet us at the starting point at the same time.

Ha. Zach’s birthday party! That is a nice memory. I think we taught Libby how to play poker for the first time in her life.

I will have the sermon to you before Dec 18th! Could you send me a sample so I can match the format exactly? I don’t want to create any unnecessary work for you.

Happy Advent! Paige

I Miss Certitude

Just Be God’s: A Call to Continuing Conversion is a series of blog posts. You might want to start reading it from the beginning: Here.

October 16

Yesterday was RCIA, and the day before that, was church.

At CoC, I was overly complimented for my sermon, and I awkwardly didn’t know what to say. It made me wonder if I would make a good “Pastor.” It’s something that I’m out of practice at, but I think I would like. But then again, I wonder about being a teacher. I guess they go hand in hand. I was a bit caught off guard. I didn’t know what to do/say, so I just said, “Thank you.” For the moment, I’m not called to pastor. I’m just doing my thing: learn, grow, share.

Also, Bob said he’s giving my email and number to D’Esta (Pepperdine chaplain emeritus) because she is writing a book of CoC women sermons right now. I’m not intimidated at all…

Then in RCIA it was nice to sit and listen to people talk a little bit about their draw to Jesus. There were some questions that I hadn’t thought about for a while, like, what’s my favorite Jesus story? How do I see Jesus right now? What is it that I want from Jesus? Or even, Where did I see God this week?

I haven’t taken time to meditate on these things for a while or read the Bible in a big chunk. What struck me the most was the question, “What do I want?”

And this is where I pause, because, I don’t know. My first thought in RCIA class was “A job!” i.e., direction, vocation, calling, and more certitude. Certitude for me is really really really knowing, and knowing specifics, believing specifics. No doubt.

It’s strange the way once certitude leaves, it doesn’t really come back. I suppose you could be certain of something else? I don’t know what I want. And I get distracted easily from answering the question.

Paid to Preach

Just Be God’s: A Call to Continuing Conversion is a series of blog posts. You might want to start reading it from the beginning: Here.

October 5

$200 for preaching?! Yep. That happened. I received a check in the mail from someone I don’t know, but it’s from the “Brookline church of Christ” checkbook.

I had no idea this was a paid gig. Several people asked me if I was getting paid, and I was like, “No. You don’t get paid to preach. You’re just like serving, and the church is poor.” Apparently not. Now, I know why people do this, and I know why one of the regular preacher’s wives was looking at me all sideways asking, “So, you’re preaching on Sunday…”

I received a very nice letter, along with my check:

Hi Paige,

I meant to give this to you at church Sunday, but I didn’t catch you before you left… so here it is. Thanks for preaching, I really enjoyed your sermon.

Dave

It’s probably a good thing I didn’t know, because I don’t know if I would have preached if I knew I got paid, and I don’t know if I would have said I’d do it again if I knew I got paid.

I mean, I know everyone who invited me to preach knows that money is involved, and no one mentioned it?! Why does money make it more intimidating? Maybe I should have done their usual post-holily conversation—at least that way they get their money’s worth.

I don’t know why it feels so weird. But I guess it makes sense. It’s probably more economical to simply pay someone to preach, than to have a full time preacher.

When I decided I would be okay preaching, I guess it was sort of an intrinsic decision (besides that whole power trip thing). Obviously, there is also extrinsic motivation (besides money) like breaking church of Christ rules, getting attention and hopefully praise for whatever I preach, being one of those girls that preach, being able to use my degree… There was still a lot of risk involved, it was very personal. I want to serve, and apparently they need some women to say “Yes” to preaching (and I don’t know why they don’t). Though Brookline does expect a certain caliber, they want people trained in theology, and many are not theologically trained in the churches of Christ. I’m glad I could help, and I said I would help again.