Starting on a Tuesday. Which is really fitting, if you think about it.
Some of my dearest of dear imaginary friends (well, one’s not really imaginary, and one is once-removed from real), have decided to begin a Ministry of Reality Monday blogging project. I agreed to sign on. Here are links to others who have described it better than I can (or, at the very least, with far fewer words): the originator of the term “Ministry of Reality,” the originator of the blogging idea, and my friend Jo, who’s also joining in. And I will add other friends here, as I find them: Soggy Mommy, Knit Together.
There will be more. And, apparently, there’s this way to link things together or have all the links to others’ Ministry of Reality Monday blogs on everyone else’s blog. I think it’s safe to also invite others to have their own Ministry of Reality Mondays on their blogs too. I know so little, I don’t even know how to describe it.
But I like it. From the moment I heard my friend describe her Ministry of Reality, I fell in love. I fell in love with the name. It put into words–succinct words!–that which I’ve been trying to do since the earliest days of my pastor’s wife journey, during my husband’s seminary years.
From the moment my co-workers at Big N Giant Booksellers found out my husband was in seminary, out came the cart-loads of assumptions. Assumptions about me, about my husband, about our lives, about our faith. Swoosh! A barrier would be pulled up between us, like those windows that separate the limo driver from the passengers. You know the ones I mean? They generally show up in movies before the passengers start to . . . er . . . get to know one another in the back of the limo and they’d like a little privacy. That’s what would be drawn up right before my very eyes. My husband is in seminary, therefore I am Other, must be kept at arms’ length. I am not exactly sure why. I was suddenly not safe to be with. Was it because I couldn’t possibly be any fun? Was it because I was going to carry judgment with me wherever I went? Was it because my very presence brought conviction for the things they knew from their childhoods they shouldn’t be doing?
I don’t know what it was. And I still don’t. I still don’t know what it is that makes people think I’m so special simply by virtue of my husband’s (and, now my) vocation. I don’t think it makes me special. I think it makes my schedule more hectic. I think it means it’s always Sunday in our home, as there is always a sermon to be written. But other than the ways this particular job affects our schedule and home life, I don’t see the difference. And I have made a career out of making sure other people see it too. See that I’m human. See that my husband is human. And now I have a name for my ministry. Ministry of Reality.
While my friends will be sharing stories of their household and parenting moments of reality, I will be doing the same. But I also feel strongly about another component to this Ministry of Reality thing. Faith. Specifically, Christian Faith. So, my Ministry of Reality Mondays might include some reflections on that. The Ministry of Reality Faith.
I’ve seen too many instances of people outside the church perceiving people in the church as Holier Than Thou. I’ve seen too many instances of people within the church killing themselves–sometimes literally–to be good enough, to have the right stuff, the right attitude, the right family structure, the right wardrobe, etc. etc. etc. To prove themselves genuine Christians. And I’ve seen too many people all around who believe that the Christian faith is about some list of rules, some set of requirements, a to-do and to-don’t list. And it’s just not. And it saddens me that the world would see it that way; and it sickens me that the church would ever portray it that way.
We’re all a mess. Not one of us has got it all together, no not one. The Good News of the Gospel is that we don’t have to. Someone else got it together for us. Ours is to revel in that and to extend the same generosity to all we encounter.
So, I’ve resurrected my blog. In the hopes of intentionally spending at least Mondays thinking and reflecting and sharing my own Ministry of Reality. A home of chaos with a three-year-old who refuses to stay clothed, a five-year-old who is insisting she is a super hero whose day-to-day persona is a teen-aged girl getting read to go to college, and an 8 year-old who’s sick of the teen-aged five-year-old and is struggling against the desire to lock her in the basement. And a couple of supposed grown-ups–though how we ended up the ones with the title, I’ll never know–trying to slog through this life together, bringing Glory to God in spite of ourselves. That is my reality.