I Could Rock the Collar

Or not.  No I couldn’t.

But should I?  That’s the question, isn’t it?

I’m not a socialite.  I’m not an extrovert, nor do I hold extroversion to be superior to introversion.  A pastor is a largely social role, no?  Undershepherd of the flock is a silly title if you don’t spend any time with the sheep.  It is a silly title if you don’t spend most of your time with the sheep.

Well, most of your time tending the sheep.

I looked at the class list.  I looked at the class list for the preceding Bachelor’s program I’d have to take too.  Most of those classes looked delicious.  The sort of thing where the papers would be a joy to write, the study something I would normally feel guilty spending time on.  Back at Oak Hills, I really dug the theology classes.  Christian Faith I.  Old and New Testament overviews.  Those were good stuff.  It was the intro to writing nonsense that my AA should have covered (and did cover at BSU), and the ‘ministry’ classes that were all about people wallowing in emotionalism, and the ministry requirement that always got to me.

Ah, the ministry requirement.  There’s the rub.  Making a career out of one of my least-loved elements of Oak Hills.  But Pastoral Ministry is a little different than making fliers advertising a revivalist orgy of mildly Christianized Bandai theme songs, or trying to reign in native kids who don’t want to be their, but their parents don’t want them at home either.  And hey, those kids need people who give a damn reigning them in, no doubt about it!

Less than 10% of the Concordia St. Paul Theology Major courses look like pathetic attempts to be overly relevant.  (You know how to be relevant in today’s world?  Easy: stop trying to offer them what they already have.  Be different.  Be true.)  And even in those courses, you find scary truth words like ‘doctrine’ in the description.

None of these are the kicker.  The kicker is, I went to Oak Hills because I love the faith.  I love digging deeper, devouring the deep truths that form the pulse.

At Oak Hills, only about a third of the teachers and a percent of the students seemed to give a damn.  The rockstar hero of my class flunked out of theology three times and passed youth ministry on the first go.  I flunked out of youth ministry and aced theology in my sleep.

Now, years later, Rev Fisk’s expositions of Lutheran Doctrine, paired with my own inquiries (and years after I signed on to the Small Catechism) have ignited the old spark again.  Burden after burden of my life has been torn away.  The doctrine of Vocation melted the intense pressure I’ve felt to missionary-ize since I can remember.  Ironic, then, that I am leaning towards a vocation that would make that primarily my responsibility.  But I digress.  The doctrine of Baptism vaporized my doubt and despair.  Every pain, tended.  Every burden, lightened.  I  can’t understand how I used to live with the weight of the world on my shoulders.  I am so much smaller than Atlas; Jesus is so much bigger.

I want to know more.  And I can learn more, on my own, in stolen moments.

Or I can learn more as my objective, for my vocation.

I want, I want, me, me, me…  If I were to go this path, it would be an extra load of responsibility before God.  I would be held doubly to account.  I have thrown off one yoke!  Am I strong enough to bear another?  The correct answer is no-one is.  But perhaps I am less ready than others.

To be a pro-Bible nerd… I spend as much time, if not more, composing and writing rants exhortations as I do writing stories or games.  I could do it on a schedule.  And I can take confessions without batting an eye, and forgive with an inhuman equanimity born of my broken brain.  But can I enact discipline?  Can I excommunicate?  Can I visit the shut-ins?  Meet with those who are sick and in prison?  Online, I may be brash and decisive, but in person I’ve the spine of an egg of Silly-Putty.  This is no time or place for spineless shepherds!  There are wolves without and within.

Meh.  There’s not much more I can do until I can talk to Pastor or to the recruitment guy in a couple of weeks.  But this won’t leave my poor, addled brain alone.

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