The new laptop arrived. It’s okay. A slightly different model and they definitely meant “refurbished.” I think they sent me the most beat up one they had. But it works. I wonder what they’d have done if I was really rude? Anyway, I’m getting it all set up and finally can get back in the habit of blogging. I was laptopless from March 3 to May 1. But that terrible time has passed.
Things are good with the sabbatical. Teaching is still wonderful. I’ve had several students tell me they wish I could stay so they could take more classes from me and that feels really good. Part of me wishes the same, but I am also getting antsy to be back at church. I miss preaching and I want to figure out how to use my new-found passion for teaching in the congregation. And I want our congregation to be a teaching congregation again, sooner rather than later. I think it’s the best investment we can make in the congregation’s future and in the future of the Unitarian Universalist ministry. These students are so passionate, dedicated, and full of wonderful gifts, ideas, and energy. And the more I’m here, the more I’m reminded of how amazing South Valley is. Not perfect, but healthy in important ways and with plenty to teach intern ministers in so many areas. And most importantly, the congregation knows how to truly welcome and love ministers. And that’s something I want these seminarians to experience.
I’ve started working on sermon titles and topics for June and into next year. I want to explore how the congregation can become a place where people learn to counter oppression and really make a difference in the world. One title I’m considering is “Life, Community, Action!” What do you think? Too cheesy? Too obscure? Do you get the reference to “lights…camera…action!”? Or what about “Getting Down and Dirty?” Heh. Probably won’t use that, but I’m sometimes tempted…
I am also wondering how South Valley can become more relevant to people who need a community like ours. I mean, surely there are lots of people who long for a community that is truly welcoming to all, helps them learn and grow, and gets involved in making the world a better place? They may not be “typical Unitarian Universalists” (if that means white, middle class, well-educated…) but that shouldn’t stop us. What would we look like if we really welcomed the people who most need liberal and liberating religion? Where would we advertise? Who would we invite to church? What would our goals look like? How would we raise money? What kind of worship would we offer? What kind of music? What would our website look like? Who would we think “fit in” and was “one of us?”
The last thing that’s happening is that I’m getting more and more determined to begin a Doctorate program. I need to keep learning, keep challenging myself, and keep growing theologically and ethically. I don’t want to get complacent and end up being the minister of a church that is simply a comfortable place that exists to serve “us” and “our needs.” One where things don’t change much, because people like it the way it is. One that isn’t growing and deepening and risking and meeting the challenges of real religious leadership. And to keep myself from falling into those traps, I have to keep learning. I might as well earn another degree while I’m doing it!
So that’s what’s on my mind. It feels great to be able to share it again. Pray that this laptop lasts a long, long time.