a silver jubilee

by fritzg · No Comments ·

Twenty-five years ago, in October of 1983, the First Baptist Church of Lutz, Florida was stupid enough, or wise enough, to hire a 19-year-old idealist, fresh off the mission field of post-revolution Zimbabwe to be their Minister of Youth. That idealist was me.

25 years. It seems like a lifetime. Between then and now, I have served a few other churches, one denominational body and a couple of ecumenical institutions. I’ve been ordained, whatever that means. I’ve also been a lay leader in a couple different churches during times of crisis and times of growth. I’ve supported pastors and made the same ones mad when I called them to be their better selves. I’ve put a halt to my career so I could dive in deep and shape a few individual lives.

Today, in many ways my job is one of the best I can imagine. I get to organize people of faith and denominations to encourage Congress to take action on Climate Change Legislation. I’m supposed to help save the planet and it’s most vulnerable human inhabitants. I’m helping people with the spiritual practice of changing broken systems and working for justice.

I can’t imagine a better place to be 25-years into my ministerial career. I eat this stuff up. It gives me life. I feel I am finally on the path I imagined all those years ago.

And yet, I am full of doubt. I’m not sure I believe in the same God I believed in 25 years ago. I’m not sure I believe in the same God the community I call home believes in. I’m not sure the church should be as political an animal or demographic as many want it to be. I’m not sure the church should sacrifice being prophetic at the expense of being expedient. I’m not sure we should be the tool of any political party or issue.

But there are things I know. I know we should never be beholden to money. Or power. Or a specific interest. I know we should always favor the one without power or influence, while keeping in mind the needs of all. I know there are times when we should be willing to throw away all of our power in this world because of a single value or concern.

Twenty-five years is a marker. It causes me to look back and wonder, “What if?”

One of the most obnoxious questions I have ever been asked was when I was a part of our foster kids’ therapy sessions. We were playing a therapeutic board game. The card I drew asked, “If you could be any age what would it be?” I was appalled. My answer was, “The age I am right now. For if I wished to be younger, I would merely be repeating what had come before. If I wished to be older, I would miss out on what lied immediately before me. I love my life and I cannot imagine living without the company of those I love.” I could not imagine sacrificing the “now” for either the past or the future.

Twenty-five years later, I am still a humble servant. I’m still full of idealism. But I have the perspective of a few years. Some things just aren’t worth doing or worth sacrificing. Others are worth it all.

God help us. Peace be with you.

Tags: awareness

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