Thursday, October 24, 2013

Small Sips, Because Why Not?

The Big Scary Unknown Future of Ministry. Still. Again. Jan at A Church for Starving Artists writes about it a lot. In one of her latest, she describes a possible future of the ministry vocation:
Many of us who serve as professional ministers have one job. We are The Pastor or The Chaplain or The Theology Professor or the Middle Judicatory Executive or The Bishop. But the future of 21st Century professional ministry might well involve an assortment of “calls” all juggled, more or less at the same time.   
I’m not talking about traditional bivocational ministry (if we can even call bivo ministry ‘traditional’). I’m talking about serving smaller churches, creative projects, community endeavors, teaching gigs, and social media outlets as a cornucopia of ministries that support us financially and spiritually. 
I’m talking about the pastor who supports herself by serving a congregation 15 hours a week while serving a community ministry for LGBTQ homeless kids a couple hours a week while teaching occasional social media for churches while offering spiritual direction to 3-6 individuals. Yes, it sounds exhausting, but I’m wondering if it isn’t our future.
I wonder, too, whether I'm really going to be able to serve as a pastor full-time for my entire working life. It isn't necessarily that I'll want to, it's whether I'll even have the option. The increased need for pastors to be bi-vocational due to declining full-time positions is very real; it's happening around my own Association left and right.

But Jan is talking about something more than bi-vocational work. She's talking more about individuals cobbling a bunch of stuff together in order to make a living: a class taught here, spiritually directing a few people there, etc. It'd certainly be a very uncertain way to live.

If I was younger and/or didn't have a family, I'd probably be more excited about this sort of vision. But that's not my situation, so I'm not immediately jumping up and down about this. But I will keep pondering it, because the possibility is very real.

Behold, my first ever use of the word "squee." Five Iron Frenzy's long-awaited album, Engine of a Million Plots, comes out next month, and they've released the first single, "Into Your Veins:"

Did I mention that I'm also seeing them in concert next month? Ahem: SQUEE!

More video. The Michigan drumline:

Marriage lessons by experience, i.e., the best way. Rachel Held Evans recently celebrated her 10-year wedding anniversary, and has shared ten myths about marriage coupled with ten things that she's learned actually work:
Myth #1: The best way to prepare for marriage, and to thrive in it, is to learn the differences between men and women so you will know what men/women want.  
Reality Check: The best way to prepare for marriage, and to thrive in it, is to learn about your partner so you know what your partner wants.  
You don’t marry a gender; you marry a person. And yet the majority of Christian marriage books dole out advice based on gender stereotypes: “men need adventure,” “women need security,” “men like quiet time,” “women process verbally,” “men crave respect and control,” “women crave love and emotional intimacy,” “men are like microwaves,” “women are like ovens.” But even before we got married, Dan and I realized that just as often as we fit these generalities, we don’t. Dan knows I’d prefer tickets to a football game over a nice piece of jewelry and that too much security and not enough adventure leaves me feeling bored. I know that Dan is better at nurturing friendships than I am and thrives creatively when he has the chance to collaborate with other people.
This one kind of sums up the others: you marry a particular person, so learning his/her personality, quirks, and habits and figuring out how best you work as a particular couple will go way further than rigidly adhering to a bunch of idealistic advice given in a vacuum. Go figure.

Misc. Brant presents a handy template for writing complaint letters. Jamie on our tendency to use the phrase "better when." Matthew Paul Turner with some crazy things Christians apparently actually do for Halloween.