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Help support the vision of Woodland Hills Community Church!
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Monday, May 25

Today’s Readings: Psalm 106:1-23; Ezekiel 3:4-17; Luke 10:1-17; 2 John 1-13; Psalm 106:24-48

Before I begin today, let me just say, "Happy 650th Post!" It's hard to believe it's been almost exactly 2 years since we began this blogging journey together. I would have NEVER had the drive to stick with this daily spiritual discipline without readers like you - so thanks for accompanying on this wonderful journey of introspection. Now, back to my daily post...
It’s not often that I get the opportunity to physically re-enact a piece of Scripture. In the year 2001, however, I did. Let me tell you the story behind my re-enactment. When I went to seminary in 1999, I was convinced I was being called to get my Master of Divinity degree so that I could finish my education and go work for a church agency. I thought that I could only work for a church agency because I was a gay man - and the denomination I had been in my entire life did not ordain gay men. Therefore, I refused to allow myself to entertain the notion that I might be called to ordained ministry. It wasn’t until the second year of seminary that I opened myself to the call to parish ministry. That meant starting the ordination process in a denomination where I knew it would be impossible to see through. In April of 2001, my fears were realized: my ordination process came to a crashing halt when my home church – the church in which I had been born into, baptized, confirmed, and served in a variety of positions in my first 34 years – rejected my candidacy for ordained ministry. It was a crushing blow to have some of the same people who taught me about the radically inclusive nature of the Gospel say, “Oh yeah, we forget to mention that there’s no room for you in this realm.” Five months after their vote, I found myself back in my home town visiting. The Sunday of that visit, I felt called to go with my parents and older brothers to worship. I didn’t know how or why, but it felt like something might happen at the church that could facilitate my healing process. As the service was culminating, the words from today’s Gospel reading unexpectedly came to my mind: “When you enter a town and are not received, go out into the street and say, ‘The only thing we got from you is the dirt on our feet, and we’re giving it back” (Luke 10:10-11 from The Message). Consequently, at the end of the service I went outside and shook off the dust of my sandals. It was a liberative experience as the wisdom contained in Jesus’ words freed me to leave the tradition of my youth and move toward a place that could fully embrace both my understanding of the Gospel and my call to ordained ministry. My entire life and ministry changed in that simple moment of release! Perhaps there is an area in your life where you have felt the painful sting of rejection. You might even be clinging to that area in hopes that the situation will somehow resolve itself. If that’s the case, I would encourage you to at least begin opening yourself to the transformative possibilities that might happen if you find the courage to shake the dust from your sandals and move on. Til next time…

1 comment:

Dutch said...

Instructions for my journey

Do not be distracted by inconsequential involvements or carry extra baggage.

Listen to the spirit. Do not be desperate to succeed. The Spirit will tell me when to press on or when to withdraw.

Be content with what I am offered for the hospitality offered is holy.