Six Months With a Quaker Preacher Project

As you may have noticed it’s been quite a while since I’ve blogged with much passion, or interest. This isn’t necessarily a problem, things like this come and go, and in the grand scheme of things this blog is inconsequential. Where it becomes a concern for me is that I really enjoy writing and have always felt I process best when I write (now this is different than thinking I’m a good writer, which I do not. I just realize that I processor outwardly more than I do inwardly). This staleness isn’t surprising to me given the fullness of life right now and I don’t need anymore projects, that is unless it’s something that will actually be something I find enjoyable and restful. So I’ve decided to share my life as a minister in daily posts here for the next six months.

Since starting back into ministry this past May, I’ve wrestled with WHAT to write here. Besides not having much time, I’ve wondered what is appropriate to share and what is not. And let’s be frank, no one wants to hear some guy who  has been pastoring for a few months try and give tips on ministry (But then again, I’m the kind of person who won’t read a book about parenting from a person who’s never parented). But this doesn’t mean that I haven’t been working through issues that need to be processed, because I have. Over the last year I’ve been learning how to preach (every week), how to learn and grown into a new community, a town with a history and a small church that’s trying to find its way, how to adopt visions and dreams already in place, what God is calling us to here and now and how to carve out something of a new path that always comes when you add different (and new) people into the mix.

And then there is the whole paradox of being a QUAKER PREACHER, which in my estimation is something similar to a silent-2yr old. And just like the latter metaphor, when you put these seemingly incompatible things together it can be a really beautiful thing. For instance, in my mind, a Quaker preacher is one who does not preach in order to give answers (you need to live this way, do these three things, etc), but rather to open up a space where we can connect with God. Anyways, this whole paradox freaks a lot of people out, or at least makes them scratch their heads. I’ve had many many people genuinely ask “Quakers have preachers?” and of course, “what on Earth does a Quaker preach do?” While some may discount this role as either a) not enough Quaker or b) not enough preacher, I feel that it’s just the paradox I’m called to explore. And so I ask patience as I still work through what all this means for me (and us). As an aside, I’ve been feeling as of late that my learning curve (from pastor, to  father, to husband, to Northwesterner, to doctoral student) is less like  a curve and more like Mount Hood.

So considering all this, I thought it would be interesting to do a project where I invite others into this process of, well, processing, rather than shying away from it. So I’m going to do a six month day-in-the-life of a Quaker preacher thing right here. I’ll go until  July 9, 2009 and at the end figure out what’s next. The challenge for me will be to pay attention, remain open, clear and succinct and write about this everyday. Where in everything that happens is God? Listening for that still, small voice, that is so easily drowned out by the noise of the day is not something that comes naturally for me.

This all means I’m not going to be writing about much of anything else in the next six months, I won’t be posting my sermons as much, and will shy away from academics. This is really just going to be about my experience as a Quaker preacher. I want to sit with the tension this calling holds for me, share the aspects of my life where the paradox is evident, and show where I strike a balance between these two things, and where the scales get tipped.

I did my first post yesterday on a memorial service we did yesterday.