My friend Linda wrote a great post about becoming a pastor. It’s given me lots to think about.
I go to this awesome church where people are authentic and honest and compassionate and flawed and faltering and doubtful and all kinds of other things that make us human, and we’re SO lucky to have Linda become one of our pastors. She’s already been a leader for quite awhile, and I’ve been very lucky to serve with her. She ROCKS!
I’m also taking a “step of faith” and becoming an elder. Some of you may have read my post “elder, shmelder” and know that I have serious doubts about my capacity to be a spiritual leader. Linda and I stand together in our doubts, and yet we’re both taking a step forward because we believe we have something good and valuable in our giftedness and that we can serve the church with it.
No, the doubts haven’t gone away. I still struggle with the place of the church in today’s world. I still struggle with all the hypocrisy I see. I still struggle with the crap that doesn’t make sense. Why are people killing other people in the name of God? Why are people swaggering around with superior attitudes because their religion somehow lifts them up above the common man? Why would God accept the faltering and flawed faith of Christians and reject the earnest heartfelt faith of all those other believers – Muslims, Hindus, you name it? Why are people using the Bible to justify racism and sexism and war and hatred of so many flavours? Why would so-called “Christian” nations be so greedy and gluttonous and hoard so much wealth that millions are starving? Why is there so much in the Bible that just doesn’t make sense?
Maybe I should resolve some of those questions in my mind before stepping into the role of elder. How will I provide “spiritual leadership” if there’s still so much that doesn’t make sense for me? I don’t know.
I think it was Madeleine L’Engle who said we have to learn to “sit with the questions”. That’s something I’ve been learning along my journey – that questions are okay and that the grey areas aren’t necessarily bad. A black and white world doesn’t have as much depth if you can’t see the shadows.
So here I am, making a tentative step forward into my new role. Because maybe, just maybe, my comfort with the questions is just the kind of leadership that’s needed for authentic and honest and compassionate and flawed and faltering and doubtful people.