We are on the verge of May. The bees are buzzing, the flowers are blooming, and the pollen is pollen-ing. Sometimes I like to helpfully remind my friends that Charlotte is usually on the list of worst places to live for people with allergies. A few years ago, one doctor even coined the term “Charlotteitis.”
The Part Where There’s an Essay: Boring People Needed
Over the past few years, my husband and I have gotten to know quite a few people who are in college or who’ve just graduated. Many of them have come out of a college ministry of some sort, and many of them were encouraged to go on staff in the ministry. The ministry desires that students consider giving a year or two to continue the mission of the organization. Many times, this is a good and healthy idea, but I am afraid it gives a false impression.
If we encourage everyone who’s involved with a ministry to be a staff member, we run the risk of minimizing other vocations that aren’t full-time ministry. If only the “most spiritual” among us are chosen to be staff members, we elevate that above other roles that students and graduates might play in the world. I have heard students tell me almost apologetically that they just couldn’t go on staff for one reason or another; they act ashamed of this revelation.
As a “career” layperson in the church, I always try to rally to cheer these students on for having made a different choice. The fact that they’ve chosen to get a job instead of going into full-time ministry isn’t a lesser thing -- it’s just different! Let us never succumb to the falsehood that the most spiritual among us (at any age) are those who are career clergy. This would minimize the role played by our deacons, our elders, and indeed most of our congregation.
One unfortunate byproduct of this “ministry-first” approach to college ministry is that when graduates emerge from the ministry, they haven’t been given a vision for ho-hum, run-of-the-mill, “boring” church life. They’re not sure what to do week to week. They also feel “lesser-than” with the role that they might play in the local church and in the greater, global body of Christ. Do not walk in fear if you are called to a lifetime of non-professional service to the world and the church. Most people are.
In the weeks ahead, I want to encourage you, dear reader, in some small things. None of them will win you awards or snag the headline on the front page of your local news website. They might not even get you a like on an Instagram post. But when you add them all up, they might just bring you to a different place -- one which might turn a corner in your life, your church, and your neighborhood. They are small things that cast a long shadow; they are little rudders that, over time, turn a big ship.
These everyday things are small, boring, and brave.
For the Anglophiles
This week we’ve got some scandal in a recent ultra-marathon in the UK. One runner was disqualified after her split time showed her running a mile in under two minutes. The answer to this mystery: she was in a car.
Reads & Listens of the Week
This is a good summary of modernism, postmodernism, and Christianity. It’s at least a very good place to start. “Among Christians, the tendency has been to respond to postmodernist critiques of modernism either by rejecting those critiques and entrenching in a modernist perspective or accepting them and embracing broader postmodern attitudes.”
Your conscience, Christian liberty, and some diagrams here.
The Daily brings us a story about a unique annual festival in Italy: “Over the next three days, 8,000 people in Ivrea would throw 900 tons of oranges at one another, one orange at a time, while tens of thousands of other people watched.”
Those of you who keep up with Wrexham FC news might have seen that the team was promoted over the weekend, after fifteen years out of the league. Mayhem ensued:
Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. - GK Chesterton, Orthodoxy
In 1980 Rosie Ruiz "won" the Boston Marathon by simply jumping into the pack one mile from the finish. The best belief is that she intended only to "finish" the race. She had not intended to be the winner, but she miscalculated when she should jump in.