Senior Warden Life

Tonight was my first vestry meeting as senior warden. It's different. The fact is the committee is full of talented people and I'm still surprised I was chosen. In the past, at the university years ago and then my college, when I did 'innovation' work I found one or two other people I could work well with, people with ideas, and then plowed ahead. What we were doing in both cases, new forms of web assisted instruction, was controversial; I found myself in pioneer mode, plowing ahead using my anger and stubborn personality to drive things forward. Also in both cases, the adminstration was on our side.

This is very, very different. It's a church, and a church's job is to care for people, not drive change forward at any cost. Also, I haven't found a brilliant partner as I said; everybody's pretty darned smart, and older than I. I feel, already, inadequate. But then I'd feel that no matter what I did, short of having the bishop drive to my house in the middle of the night to thank me for my work. That critical voice is always yammering, critiqueing, looking for mistakes and flaws and opportunities I missed.

It is such a different energy than a campus. I'm not sure what to do with myself.

I am feeling more and more directed towards considering being a deacon. It's a big, big step, but I find myself more and more curious as my faith grows and I look at who I am and what I like to do. That decision will take a long time, but I'm very grateful I was even approached with the question. I think it was my neighbor around the way who got it all started, but I don't recall exactly.

I'm glad I'm only senior warden for a year. Then I can sit back and watch what someone else does with the job and learn; I'll still be on vestry another year.
the job is so much bigger than I know, and yet smaller too. It's a mystery to me; One piece at a time. The church has been functioning for centuries like this, with bishops and priests and vestries, a few centuries anyway (vestrys are an American invention from colonial times, I believe). There's less to create or build than I'm used to.

Well, it's less stressful to work with a group this good. It may humble me every month we meet, but then again...that must be in God's plan, for I surely need it. I have an exaggerated sense of responsibility, and I'm tired. A friend of mine gave me Richard Rohr's cd set on the Enneagram. Being no great fan of personality tests, I still find myself intrigued with this one though I haven't listened far enough to see if I fit into one of the types. I bet there's one like me, with an excessive need to be above the norm, to live a life greater, more prominent, more mythic or fantastic than the average person.

***

I was reading Luke last night and I thought that if all I had was the story of the woman who annoints Jesus feet with oil and rubs them with her hair, the woman he forgives though her sin is great, I'd be compelled to look closely at this faith. Luke is the gospel I've read less of, and the stories there, organized, according to the author, carefully and precisely, are beautiful stories, stories human and divine at once, the lost coin, the lost sheep, the samaritan, the thief on the cross who is taken to paradise simply for believing. Wonderful pericopes, many original to Luke. A dramatic and moving account.

And the readings this month in my little 'day by day' are taken from John's gospel. Such weight in that book. Theology on every page. Even the reading tonight in our bible study at the beginning of vestry...'if you obey my words you will never die.' Like the passage at Lazarus, but a little different. Never die. How can that be? What do humans fear more than any other thing? What do we know and dread, what tears away at all human love and philosophy and sense of meaning? Death. Christ, with incredible confidence declares He knows otherwise...those who believe in him, those who do his will, who obey him, will never see death.

I've read the Gita, and a fair number of other world religious texts at least in part. With all respect for other faiths (I admit I may be biased) there is nothing in the world like Luke, or John, or Matthew for that matter. The story of the woman who wipes Jesus' feet, who weeps, whose response is so strong because her sins were so great...this could perhaps show up in another tradition, but not what else Jesus says to her: 'your sins are forgiven.' His tone is imperious in every gospel (also in tonight's reading...'before Abraham was, I am') yet his actions and teachings marvelous, essential. True, judgement is a tough one, and he talks about those who will be burned as trash at the last day. I cannot understand all of this.

I have to go, S is home.

Night all.

t

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