Fitting into the larger picture…


There are a few factors behind today’s post.  Three or four years ago, those would have been non-factors and most probably a surprise to those who know me.  In the mix is a friend turned minister, plentiful contemplation time when one lives alone, stumbling into a funky little church, and the larger wonderment of what the larger picture might be for me, or rather, where I might fit into the larger picture.  The pieces aren’t all in place by any stretch of the imagination, but I suppose better to feel the stirrings now than not at all.  Maybe it’s a mortality thing.

Most days this non-theologian waffles on the big issues.  Far be it for me to get all preachy; my glass house has very thin panes.  I relate all this to Ellen and Reid only because they have seen everything else that has gone through my mind so this might as well be in bounds, too.

———————

March 14, 2011

Ellen/Reid: So Reid, how does it feel to be a short timer?  Too bad there’s not a short break built in between work stints, but worse things could happen.  The downside is your NCAA picks in the office pool probably will come to naught.

Holy smokes, mankind managed to nearly kill off one ocean (south of New Orleans) and now it looks like we’ll trump that in far worse ways in Japan.  If the catastrophic loss of life isn’t painful enough, we’ll insure that even more will be in peril for a much longer period of time.  I don’t know.  It’s all mind boggling.  I turned away from a lot of the pictures.

Delivered my 30-somethingth church newsletter yesterday.  It’s been nearly three years of cranking out 12 pages once per month for my little church.  It’s somewhere between 25-35 hours per month.  But the response is pretty good and my banker-friend turned minister-friend, John Cleghorn, is happy with it so I suppose that’s what counts.  You can see the past issues at Caldwellpresby.org.  Click on “News”.  It’s really become my one creative outlet (beyond what I send you guys).  John gives me total editorial latitude and I can do it in near complete anonymity.  I get a charge out of putting all the pieces together, although prodding/begging parishioners for news tidbits is draining blood from a turnip.  It’s not a highly politicized process by any means and it’s relatively easy to herd the cats.  I always tote my camera with me and am finding that I head to Caldwell a couple of times a week to cover various events.  If you can figure out a way to make church potlucks look appetizing in print, tell me now.

In the larger sense, it’s a rite of atonement for me.  People keep asking me why I persist with this and I just tell them it’s part of my penance.  And I think that’s true for the most part.  It’s my way of giving back and hopefully it will grease the skids a little bit somewhere down the line, if you catch my drift.  It’s really my one contribution to the church because I’m not good for much else.  John is one hell of a preacher, and when he gazes out at his flock, and his eyes settle over my little sphere, it’s almost like he knows I have numerous weak areas that are ideally suited for his railings.  Actually, he never rails.  He’s just incredibly well considered.  I keep telling him I’m the “heathen-in-chief” and to stop looking at me during his sermons.  The truth is, some Sundays he sees me only in spurts.  When I was playing a lot of golf – and will no doubt do again once the healing process takes its course – I’d duck out during lulls in the service to make my tee time; my escape was abetted mostly during the 10 minute window early on when the parishioners get up during the service to pass the peace.  John never mentions my absence but he’s sure to know about it.  At least he gets me for a little while.  Better than nothing.

If this was any other church other than Caldwell, I probably would not be a regular.  I’m even dragging Felicia along with me.  It’s just a funky, mixed race, enthusiastic, non-image conscious congregation.  No suits.  No finery.  No posturing.  You can get on with the business at hand to the degree you want to.  Most of my religious thinking occurs during the service (when I’m not scribbling notes about copy/story ideas for the next newsletter), but one way to look at it is the rest of the heathenistic week gives me something to contemplate in my back pew.

I was beyond lazy this past weekend.  I had a bit of a setback last week and just needed to call of the dogs (and stay off my dogs).  So things felt a lot better this morning, and I am in the office, chipper and ready to go.  If you believe that, I’ve got some swamp land in South Carolina to sell you.  But I’m not sure you’d want to live there.

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