Thursday, August 31, 2006

Holy Grounds and Holy Grounds

I have found that most of my great conversations happen over a cup of coffee. These cups of coffee often are less than, er, gormet. And well, lets be honest, its weak Lutheran coffee. Even if Lutherans drink fair trade good coffee, it's still pretty terrible. But I know that when I sit down at the table and have a cup, it has been made with my visit in mind. And this, my friends, even if it is not great coffee, is, indeed, holy grounds. The coffee has been blessed by our sharing it.

Often in ministry I have found myself drinking holy grounds and standing on holy ground. I sometimes feel like Moses, called to remove his shoes before he steps forward onto the soil that surrounds God. So when I encounter the surprising presence of God, I take off my shoes, enter a home, accept the cup of coffee and listen to God speaking.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Industry: Religion

There is no good way to try and define what we do. I suppose we revs are part counselor, part non-profit manager, part academic, part cheerleader, part teacher and part coach. (please feel free to add job description titles) But when the profile asks the kind of industry I am a part of... well, that raises all sorts of questions.

Given the number of catalogues, seminar listings and general swag that comes accross my desk each day, I guess it is no surprise that religion is indeed an industry. The main question is, who is profiting? God? The pastors? the congregants? the least of these...?

I had a professor in seminary who often reminded us that we are the "paid believers" in our congregations. This is often a humbling reminder to me that no matter how frustrated or hopeless I feel about my work, there are people who give of their time and energy to see that this job, this pastoral call, in this small church in this small community- can achieve great things.

Industry: Religion- well, maybe this institution has hope after all.