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Too much… too much…


Monday, well as I sit to write, yesterday was my day to post to the door.  In the words of culture I seem to be a day late and a dollar short this week.  There  was a time in the not too distant past where that would have bothered me tremendously.  I’m one of those 10 minutes early kind of people.  However, as I sat to compose tonight I didn’t feel the anxiety, the frustration with myself, the bubbling anger.

At first I thought, “GOOD!” My doctor would be proud that I’m not letting the little things cause my anxiety and stress to get too high, but as I thought more about it I realized that the reason I didn’t begin to fret and my blood didn’t begin to boil was because for far too long this has been becoming my new normal.

Today was a typical Monday.  I don’t know about you but for me Monday’s are chaos.  All of the follow up from worship on Sunday, plus a couple of impromptu meetings tossed in, phone calls to return, and trying to move my mental focus from yesterday’s worship to this weeks planning.  This was a normal day where at times I was on the phone, reading an email, looking at my phone light up with a text, and having someone knocking at my door.  So many things get pushed aside and pushed down that missing a deadline for The Door was just another in a long list of things that didn’t get the proper attention today.

Back when I was in seminary the Arsenio Hall show was just starting and everyone was watching.  He had a segment entitled, “Things that make you go, ‘hmm.'”  As I was pondering this new reality in my life tonight I had to stop and go, “hmm.”  I wonder if in some ways that’s what happened to our pastors that causes such a high rate of depression, burnout, and so many leaving ministry.  We could talk ad nauseum about that issue and it is important to discuss – but that’s not what this entry is focusing on.

What I was really wondering though if our parishes suffer from the same paralysis.  I look at Annual Reports and see wonderful ministry happening in my context and in many others.  However, one thing notice over and over and over again – is how often a congregation attempts to be all things to all people.  It’s like an all you can eat buffet of ministry opportunities – which may be a good way to get people to come in at first, but does it keep them coming back to be fed and nourished?

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good buffet – a place where you can have roast beef, ham, fried chicken, prime rib on one end, almost every vegetable you could thing of, and the self serve ice cream on the other end.  But if I am being honest, those kinds of places aren’t the places I think of when it comes to going to dinner with friends or family.  Those aren’t the places that rush to my mind when I think of a date, or a gathering, or meaningful conversation over a well cooked meal.

Could we in the Church, in an effort to be faithful be stretching the gifts we have too thin?  It’s not a question that I have an answer at this moment, just a query that has given me a minute to pause, to observe, to wonder.



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