July 2017

posted in: Minister Blog | 0

I highly suggest everyone try being a minister sometime.
First of all, you get to be spiritual as much as you want. Sometimes, we ministers don’t want to be spiritual but being a minister helps us to become more so. Like when I want to honk at someone driving by 5th St. and remember that they may be sitting in church on Sunday. That slows me down, but in reality, it helps me to remember that I have a commitment to be as virtuous and patient as possible. Not just at church but outside of it too. It’s also pretty neat to realize that at some level, I get paid to be spiritual. Score!
Second, you have to get up and share your thoughts each week. Yes, hopefully you like the message, but get past the spiritual part and isn’t it pretty neat to have an audience to speak to? How therapeutic to have folks listen to you talk for 20 minutes and sometimes even appear to understand what you are saying. And if you’re lucky like me, and you have family members close by, they can come and visit, and have to listen to you for all that time with no ability to talk back. Pretty cool!
Third, after all the complements about being great and loving and smart, you actually start to believe what people are telling you. It actually even feels that it may be true. Did I mention that I have on mismatched socks, can’t quite find out which day it is today on the calendar, got toothpaste on my shirt, and it’s not even 9 a.m.?
Fourth, being a minister is the perfect job for someone who doesn’t want to admit that the reason he goes to church is entirely selfish. When you’re the minister, you imply you have to be there. “I’m here to serve.” It’s such a great trick. It’s a great way for someone who is too shy to admit that he longs for the connection of community and spiritual family, to keep showing up under the guise of service and just keep being more and more served.
I am pretty sure I am this church’s ninth senior minister since it’s founding as a study group in the early 1960’s. Dodie Dyrenforth for decades, followed by Betty Mendeeza, Dwayne and Devona Cox, Lee Hite, Margie Clark, Patricia King (who gave me my first ever Sunday sermon giving opportunity in 2004 at guess where? Seal Beach), Peggy Price, and then me. What an honor. I am grateful. People keep asking me who the next minister will be. Number 10. Maybe it should be you? Maybe until the next licensed minister is carefully, patiently, and healthily chosen, we can all be ministers for SBCSL. Ok, maybe you can’t give the sermon or read through all the juicy prayer requests, but you can:
Be as spiritual as you want.
Prepare your thoughts on life each week and share them to whomever will listen.
Actually receive nice things people say about you and step into them, even when you know they’re only partially true.
And most importantly, keep showing up to be of service knowing in reality, its you being served.
I know of nothing like the church experience which gives you that thing you needed but didn’t realize it. It’s a sense of Spirit in the heart, a feeling of peace with your God, an acceptance of your life and your own wholeness even in the sometimes seeming fragmented pieces of it all. If I was any part of helping to create that experience for you these past seven years, I feel I’ve done my job. If you’ve shown up here these last seven years, you’ve contributed in some way to me having that experience again and again. Thank you.
I want to thank everyone who has made my time here so special, but my words here are running out quickly. Thank you Rev. Peggy Price for helping me find my way here. Thank you all of the board/leadership council members, practitioners, and to Julie Guerrero in our office. Thank you April Reeves for helping to build an amazing youth program that helped grow our church. Thanks to all of our dedicated part time staff and volunteers. Thank you to those longtime church members whom I was the last Senior Minister for—Judy Miller, Freida Wright, Agnes Wilfley, Buzz Jandelli, Margaret Litteral, Jeanne Looman, Ed West and so many more precious souls. I know our church will carry on your legacy of spirit, sincerity, and inspiration.
It is very sad to be leaving such a wonderful place, but that sadness does not even begin to compare to the amount of gratitude I feel, and take with me into my future endeavors.
And so it is!