posted by Amy on Apr 22
I continue to be very curious about specifically what I might be called to do when I’m finished with school. I had been thinking my skills and abilities would best be served in some kind of high profile social action, perhaps working for World Vision or UMCOR, or being a lobbyist or an economic development consultant. But all fundamental social change starts at the grass roots. It begins with small groups of committed people who “walk their talk.” I am taking Introduction to Pastoral Care, Holistic Ministry, and Spiritual Formation (and three other classes) this semester. These three classes overlap quite a bit, and they all offer me much food for thought. Shane Claiborne keeps saying he’s not trying to start a “franchise” of “the new monasticism.” I think he’s just saying it’s not about starting a new church, or creating any organization that would be bureaucratic, hierarchical, and institutional. The first Christians were none of those things. They were just people living together and loving each other. But I don’t think he would object to having that kind of ministry appear, organically and spontaneously, everywhere that it’s needed.
The economic crisis, the environmental crisis, the energy crisis, resource wars, and other serious issues of the day all cry out for the same solution. People need to stop, take stock of their values, and begin putting time and attention into things that really matter, now and in the future. They need to love God and love their neighbors. Their neighbors need them, and they need to be in covenant relationships and real communities. So many families (including mine) get caught up in a trap of working harder and harder for money and possessions, spending more and more money, consuming and wasting, and having little time for friendship, companionship, family life, or God. Most of the things that individuals and families could do to correct these imbalances would also be good for the environment and would promote domestic and world peace.
That all makes me think that maybe I’m not supposed to be doing any big thing. Maybe I should relocate to a blighted area, start getting to know my neighbors, start a community garden, set up a small, informal after school program, start a Bible study, etc. See what the neighborhood needs. See what God wants me to do. But I could have done that without going off to get two new Masters degrees first. I even considered doing it, before I decided I was being called to Palmer and Eastern. So why am I here?