I used to get a phone call every Monday morning. “I just wanted to let you know what’s being said,” the caller would begin, and my body would tense as if preparing to be punched. Then, I would get the rundown of every complaint that people had about me.
Sixteen years ago, I kept a journal of my first year in ministry. At the end, I remember pasting an illustration of a man who was white and naked, and was being pulled apart by different hands. It was almost as if he were on a medieval torture rack, except fingers stretched him. The drawing, I felt, perfectly illustrated my first year as a pastor.
Terra Pennington felt like walking away from her job. She was planting a church and feeling so burnt out that she didn’t know what to do. So she started counting down until UNCO.
I was taught that my labors as a minister don’t count for my own spiritual life. Realizing that this is untrue has brought me great relief and joy.
When we get the age breakdown of the Presbyterian Church's General Assembly, it’s nothing short of horrendous. 91 percent of the laity are 50 and older. 67 percent of the Clergy are 50 and older. A mere 23 percent of all commissioners are under 50. What can we do about it?
I’ve been interested in the idea of “taboos” for a long time—those intricate rules that overarch our society and ideas of the sacred. They can be tools to keep people from harming others or themselves. They can be used as social conditioning, arbitrarily enforcing certain behaviors as a means of control.
"I feel like a Hospice nurse," I sighed as I set down my bags. I had so many funerals in my small congregation that I had little time for anything other than caring for the dying.