Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Monumental Journey Towards Ordination - Volume 4

When we last left our caped crusader, he was precariously perched on the precipice of pandemonium. Well, not really...

I was working with my lay guide through a book called Ministry Inquiry Process. Before I move on to the next step I want to fill some more details of what was going on during this process. The process took several months. During these months, I experienced what was probably some of the most intense spiritual growth of my life. This all happened in the midst of some pretty intense activity in my life. I apologize in advance if I mess up some of these details. As the presidential primary has reminded us, sometimes we remember things as being a little different than they actually were.

So there I was, flying into Bosnia under heavy fire from artillery. Wait...

So there I was working through this book with my guide Sue, meeting about once a month. My spiritual hunger brought about by this experience and by my call in general caused me to exhaust most of the resources at the church I was baptized, so I went looking for another one. Not to replace the first one, but to supplement it.

I was searching around on the web (this was back in the day that not many churches had websites) and found that First United Methodist Church in downtown Austin had a Saturday night alternative service. They had their very own website with pictures and it looked really cool. So I went. And as God would have it, I met one of the most significant people in my spiritual journey: my friend Tina. If you don't know her, you will see her if you come to my ordination service. She will be one of the one's laying hands on me as the Bishop ordains me. She was interning at First UMC at the time and launching this new service.

We made an immediate connection, which may be less telling for her since she is all about connections, but it was something for me. I am getting chills as I am writing this because I have never really thought back to the enormous things that happened in God leading me to that Saturday evening worship service. Tina was there as I made my decisions about seminary. Tina was there as I decided to get married. Tina drove me to the hospital when I found out I was deadly allergic to ant bites. Tina performed the marriage ceremony for my wife Alisha and I. She sat next to me during Alisha's brain surgery. She helped me decide to transfer to seminary in Austin. Well, let me not bore you with every major event she was part of. (There are a lot more.) And don't let it seem like she was the only person who had an enormous impact of my journey. I could write whole books about Jen, Barbara, John, Mary Beth, Sandy, Alisha, Grant, Sharon, and on and on and on (sorry if I left you out, but there are more posts to come). The reason that I write about Tina at this point is that it was a fairly "random" decision that sent me to worship at her church. But for me, it was clearly a decision that affected my decision and ability to follow my call to ministry.

Calls to ministry, just like the other aspects of what God does in our lives are clearly built on relationship, intertwining interactions of God's people who are called together to be the church.

More soon!


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