My Hobby is Jesus…

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 2

I was hanging out with my friend last night, and I was thinking about how my hobby right now, is basically, Jesus. I go to church about five times a week, RCIA, and then whatever else I can squeeze in. Then I spend time writing and reading about it.

My hobby, is Jesus. Sounds so wrong.

It’s not easy. Great at first, but right now, I’m definitely in that phase of monotony. I seem to have forgotten what the point of me doing all this was. I went to RCIA last night, and so far so good, but I don’t know. Sometimes I just don’t feel it. Actually, that’s the best way to put how I feel. I just don’t feel it anymore. Or it feels different. Not bad, just nagging and annoying, and weird.

My friend asked me if I’m “allowed” to preach at one church and go to RCIA at another. I’ve thought a lot about it, and I think yes? What do you think?

As far as I know, in the Catholic church there is no rule against preaching for whoever. Technically, only priests are supposed to preach in the Mass, but they can also kind do whatever they want during the homily (like let someone else “reflect” on the the readings). And I have certainly witnessed some risqué things during Mass homilies.

As for the Brookline Church of Christ, they love to have more ecumenical/integrative engagement. So, I’m okay there.

However, my difficulties lie in how much I disclose. This whole endeavor is mostly a secret. On some level, I’ve convinced myself that the information is irrelevant to each group. Obviously, I wouldn’t lie if someone asked me if I preached last Sunday, but how is that going to come up in RCIA conversation unless I bring it up?

I’ve thought so far ahead about Easter, if I decide to be confirmed Catholic, what do I tell Brookline? Do I tell them anything? I know I would still be welcome, I could still preach, everything would be the same…

I must have some sort of internalized residual stigma, “Why?! On earth!? Would you be confirmed Catholic if you already consider yourself a ‘saved’ Protestant Christian?!”

Covering my basis, I guess. I joke.

I ask myself the same things…

Is it because I think the Catholics have something secret or more than everybody else? No.

Is it because the Catholics are right and everyone else is wrong? No.

Is it because I agree completely with everything the Catholic church teaches? Definitely no.

Is it because I feel lost and alone in my Protestant faith, and don’t know what to do with it? Maybe a little, but mostly no.

Maybe a little on that last one. It’s like, I dove into theology school with nowhere to go, and really no plans to go anywhere with it. As a Church-of-Christer, women can’t do anything, and they shouldn’t bother learning. I look at what the Catholic church does, and the people that are in it, and I think I fit in, I think I can do something there. I think there is space for me there.

And I want to believe that as I come into that space, in the Catholic church, there will also be openings in other Christian communities… That really doesn’t make any sense. It makes more sense that once you go through the Catholic door that all the Protestant doors close and vise versa… I don’t know why I think this.

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Reactions to My 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.

October 1

I received a text last night from Clint, the CoC preaching coordinator, that said, “Great job! Everyone was touched by your sermon! You will have to preach again!”

I don’t want to put myself down, but I have serious doubts about his sincerity. They could be saying:

“Great job!” (For your first time.)

“Everyone was touched!” (Because you gushed all over us about how great we are.)

“Preach again!” (Because I’m an overwhelmed married first year PhD student who needs as much help as I can get.)

I might be reading into it too much. Yeah, probably.

One Day Preacher, The Next, RCIA

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.

September 30

One day I preach, the next I go to RCIA.

This is weird. How do I feel?

I enjoyed preaching, I think, but it’s not about me, and I don’t exactly know what people thought. It’s weird the way you put the words out there into space with little to no feedback. I mean, I got feedback from my friends, which is very good.

 

It was weird feeling like you need to talk to everyone and stay late, but I snuck out with Doug and had chicken and waffles and a Bloody Mary—AWESOME. Laid around, went to Mass at 5:30, hung out at Young Adult get to know you time, and then watched Breaking Bad. Going to Mass, it is totally refreshing to go to church somewhere else on a day that you preached.

I’m just not sure what to say about the whole experience because I’m used to bouncing my feelings off other people’s feelings. I’m not sure, but I think that Brookline CoC would totally have me again/put me on the once a month schedule, and I totally would. But I would honestly say, “If I’m no good, don’t let me do it again.”

My best friend and boyfriend thought it was good, but they’re biased.

First draft: Done.

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.

September 23

The first draft of my sermon is done. When I started writing it, I thought, “Ok. I’ll step away, and then come back and see how I feel about it.” Then when I came back to it, I thought, “This isn’t bad at all. It’s pretty good.” Then, after reading it over and over and over, I’m, of course, insecure again. So, I sent it to my friends to judge.

Catholic Learning Small Group AKA RCIA

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.

September 18

I went to RCIA last night. I was very nervous, but warmed up pretty quick. It was a very strange feeling. This week in RCIA, and next week preaching. This week hanging out with undergrad seniors who know nothing about the Bible, and next week preaching for theology professors and Ph.D. candidates.

During the time we spent together last night, we read some of the lectionary for this coming Sunday. Sr. Mary literally asked, “What would you preach on?” I chuckled to myself… because I am preaching in the coming weeks. But I am also learning. I’m learning with a bunch of 20-somethings who know very little to nothing about all this. I am at the bottom and I am at the top, per-say. And it is very humbling. Even though I’ve done faith formation my entire life. I’ve dedicated hours, days, probably even entire weeks to memorizing, studying, and writing on Scripture and spirituality—I still sit with a group of adults who know nothing, and learn something and grow somehow. It’s a miracle.

Being in this little RCIA group, I also felt a nostalgic feeling of missing Christian education and desire to grow in Christian community. Even though the whole RCIA process could feel annoying, repetitive, and pointless because, well, I know everything already. In my gut, it feels like a calling.

While we were sitting there listening to Mary, and listening to her STM graduate student helpers, I couldn’t help but think, “I can do this. I want to do this.” Now, looking at this written down, it looks like I pep-talking myself into confirmation, but mostly, I was thinking along the lines of teaching. I could teach the class. But I have to experience it first.

It is amazing how Christianity allows for transformation and conversion within itself. So, if you’re “born and raised” whatever, you can still grow and change and be “converted.” You can experience the transformative power of Jesus even in your own desensitization to Christianity. Not to say that you can’t experience that in a “born and raised” situation, but there is so much we can experience in Christ that Christians like to block themselves off from. It’s too bad we, Christians, get stuck.

I mean really, who wants to go to square one in another church? It’s terrifying.

I think I like the RCIA group I’m in. I like seeing these budding Catholics. Having been at Boston College so long, and now, considering taking the plunge. Nadia Bolz-Weber says, “It’s spiritual physics: Something has to die in order for something else to live.” What is dying in me?

To Go to Church or Not Go to Church

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.

September 9

Hot coffee. Hot shower. I can think better.

The next big decision is whether or not to go to Mass this morning. If I feel like I can accomplish something substantial, then no. But If I can’t accomplish what I want, then I should just go. Reading Merton for 30 minutes could be seen as substantial. Well, I haven’t done any writing this weekend, so, I guess I’ll do that.

Also, I am preaching in 3 weeks. I’m not sure how this happened. I just said ok. Protestant churches are so easy and quick to get involved in. Granted, I am Church of christ-ish. Not that this church of Christ would really care anyway.

Changed my mind: Mass time.

Do I wanna 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.]

August 28

September 29,

That’s when Clint asked if I would preach. And I would like to reiterate from August 26th, “Is he crazy?” He doesn’t know me. I don’t know him. The church doesn’t know me. I don’t know them. I’ve been attending less than a month! Well, I suppose in a broader sense, being from the CoC, I do know them, and they do know me. It has been barely three days, and I’m on the preaching circuit (if I want).

On the first day of creating my spiritual habits (Mass, CoC, and RCIA), I asked myself, “I wonder if they’ll let me preach.” I got that answer quick.

Last year around this time, in my spiritual life, I was simply seeking grounding, discipline, comfort. This year, I’m issuing for a challenge, and in three weeks, I have it. RCIA hasn’t even started. So, “Do I want to preach?”

If the answer is “No.” Excuses being, well, I’m not that Church of Christ. I’m a bit of an imposter. I’m kind of more Catholic (but not really). I’ve never preached before. I’m not smart enough. I won’t do a good job. I don’t know what to preach about. I’m not going more than 20 minutes. I never ever planned on being a preacher(ette?). Nothing will come of it. I’ll preach a couple times, and be done. Probably just give up on the CoC again.

If the answer is, “Yes.” Reasons being, well, the Church of Christ needs it. I was asked. I have the education. I have the background. I like to rock the boat. It’s in my blood. Being Catholic really makes no difference here. Having a pastoral degree, being a woman, being Church of Christ, and attending a Church of Christ I’m kind of asking for it. I want to?

I can’t honestly say I want to or not, because it was never an option for me growing up. No one asks the little girls, “You want to be a preacher when you grow up?” Not even in a joking way. I could be a NFL referee or a construction worker before preacher. So, how can I know?

Now that I think about it, I have no idea how women in the CoC end up being on the payroll (outside of secretary). Like, how? Linda Truschke has been Campus Minister at Pepperdine for about 15 years—how did she get that job 15 years ago? Same with countless ladies representing in the CoC. It couldn’t have been easy.

It’s been a fight for them. But me? I’m just asked randomly on a Sunday morning, “Want to preach?” No weirdness. No fight. No question. Just a matter of fact need for a woman. And here I am.

In my opinion, every woman there is capable of preaching. It’s not like the CoC has some standard (obviously), except maybe being church of Christ. In my experience, the males aren’t even jumping at the opportunity to preach (or pray, read, pass communion plates). I never really understood that.

Then there is this form that I need to fill out to be “a member” of the Brookline CoC. I was hesitant about this too, but then I remembered that I’m planning on attending all year… So, I guess that’s fair then.