Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hurricane Irene and the Tools of Ministry

The area where I live was recently hit with this hurricane, and everything has pretty much been turned upside down around here.  My own home and church weren't affected, but the neighborhood around the church was badly flooded.  Several communities around us were devastated, and I have friends who are trying to hold their churches together, help the people in their towns, and deal with the loss of their own houses.  I can't imagine how they're doing it.  I'm exhausted, and all I'm doing is organizing volunteer groups and donations.  I've spent most of the last couple of weeks mucking out basements and gutting houses.  It's a whole different kind of work than I usually do.  I can't say I'd like to do it all the time, but there is something deeply satisfying about swinging a sledge hammer and tearing down a wall.

When I graduated from seminary, I asked for a copy of the Septuagint as a gift.  Don't get me wrong, I like my Septuagint, but other tools have proven a wee bit more useful over the years.  I didn't expect ministry to lead me to own my own sledge hammer, crow bar, and steel-toed boots.  My classes never mentioned how proficient I would become in backing up a 15-passenger van, making gumbo or goat curry for 100, or drywalling.  I'm glad I took the classes I did; I enjoyed them, and they fit the path I thought I was on at the time.  I believe in seminary education and the foundation it provides.  But wow, it sometimes seems pretty distant from the work that I do from day to day.

I also feel like I should have had a class in "How to Not Get Angry When People Don't Volunteer," but that's another subject for another day.

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