Several weeks ago, a young friend of mine whom I was just getting to know asked me, "So are you an internet pastor or something? I've been reading your blog . . ."
I was taken back by her words. Visions of creepy televangelists, folks who get ordained over the internet just to do weddings, and those without theological training who push ideas came to mind. I knew I wasn't any of these things.
But, the more I thought about it and other comments I've gotten lately like, "Thanks for your Facebook ministry" and "Please keep writing" might mean my friend was on to something. For it's true, I do connect with so many of you as a Preacher on the Plaza via this blog and other social channels (and I love it!).
Having a life with opportunities to pastor and be a human being in all sorts of contexts means that social media ministry is something I can always do (I recently texted for the first time on a transatlantic flight!) when more normal things (like being in the same city every week) can be much harder.
So, because of this, I'm always glad when folks ask me to participate in their writing projects or group blogging. I love doing it because it's a chance to add my voice to conversations that matter!
This week, I offered a post on to the Alliance of Baptist Voices Series called "Reclaiming the Ministry of Touch. Here's a teaser: "Isn’t our world hurting so much these days? I mean really hurting. People dying in churches. Police custody and questionable practices. Bombs going off and killing children in places all over the world. We say in the church that we’re called to the healing of the nations. But what does this really mean? . . ." You can read the rest by clicking here.
Then, recently, my friend Martha, the Director of Rev Gals, an online community of clergywomen invited me to write for for their newsletter. I was glad to do so because it was so fun to contribute this year to the Rev Gal book, There's a Woman in the Pulpit from SkyLight Paths books.
Today offered a post called "The Spirituality of Saying No." I have been given permission to re-post it here. Enjoy!
No matter if we are serving a local church or involved in ministries of all kinds elsewhere, our schedules this time of year can easily bulge at the seams. Saturdays are for Fall Festivals. Sundays are packed full of after church committee meetings. Our Mondays off are clogged with errands. And then we say:
“Yes, I can visit your mother’s sister’s cousin in prison 50 miles away.”
“Yes, I can lead that denominational committee with 2 hour weekly Skype calls.”
“Yes, I can be in charge of carpool even if it means driving your child home 20 minutes out of the way.”
These are all good things of course. But it’s one more thing. We all know what one more thing feels like.
So later we’ll complain to our friends, show up with bad attitudes, and our spouses will give us “that look” when they hear we’re away from home one more night.
So, enter then, the spiritual practice of saying, “No.”
“No, I can’t visit her this week. Maybe in a month when I am going through that town anyway.”
“No, I can’t be involved this year. But call me again?”
“No, I can’t do that. But would you like the numbers of some parents who live closer to you?”
See, don’t we feel better already?
Saying “No” is not rocket science of course. We all know how to do it. We all know why must do it.
But sometimes we just need to be reminded that “no” is as good of ministry as an “yes.” Our souls will thank us later.
Lord, we pray for one another. Help the word “no” come confidently from our lips when it’s just one more thing. And may peace rest in our hearts as we do. AMEN
As always, thanks for reading. I appreciate you my friends.
One of your favorite internet pastors