Hello world! I am again joining the blogosphere. I briefly blogged awhile back about a fitness journey, but ended the blog after finishing the program. (http://stephsroad.blogspot.com/) Life has changed since then and I recently felt, for the first time, that internal "itch" (as I like to call it) to express myself in writing.
So...an introduction to myself and to this blog...My husband and I are co-pastors (aka we share the role of lead pastor) at a small church of about 75 in Kingston, MO. We've been here for almost three years, during which time I have attended seminary in Kansas City. I'm finished with my MDiv now and will walk in May while Tommy began his seminary program in August. While I was in school, I preached a couple times a quarter, sometimes more in the summer, because unlike some people I didn't feel like I was able to preach on a weekly or bi-weekly basis and go to school full-time (and do any measure of justice to either one). But, now that Tommy is in school, I have been preaching every week since September. I was incredibly anxious about this new arrangement, primarily because my husband is funny and down to earth. He seriously could relate to anyone I think, from promiscuous Italian soccer players to hardcore country boys, but that's another story. I'm different. I mean, I do my best to live incarnationally, but at times I struggle to live as "a Jew among Jews and as a Gentile among Gentiles." And when it comes to humor, I think I'm hilarious, but not everyone would agree with that sentiment! I am more academic and I don't move a whole lot while in the pulpit, something Tommy does quite a bit. Oh yeah, and I am a girl. Not a real common site in most pulpits. So, I felt self-conscious I think. However, taking on this new role has been affirming in that I have begun to appreciate in a new way my personal gifts and to remember that God speaks through many types of vessels. My confidence in myself and in my skills and knowledge has grown, in spite of my constant awareness of ways in which I need to mature as a believer and pastor.
Walking into the pulpit each week has changed me in ways I didn't really anticipate, which I think has been my primary motivation for starting a blog. I have become more reflective than I already was, which is saying something frankly, lol. I have also become much more cognizant of my role as shepherd. I feel the weight of the office in a new way and I am consistently struck by my need to pray without ceasing.
However, I have hesitated to start a blog because in my mind, the term "blogger" has become synonymous with "arrogant wordy internet saavy writer," especially (ironically) theologian/minister blogs. That sounds so harsh when I type it out, lol, but that's how I have felt, as if everyone thinks what they have to say is so important to share with the world that must post it online and share the link 27 times on various social media sites. Don't get me wrong, so many bloggers have wonderful things to say and I love family blogs that update friends on people's kids and all that. I read some of my friends blogs and they definitely don't fall into this category. But overall the culture of blogging tends to be marked by arrogance. I don't want to be one of those arrogant pastor-theologians that comes to believe that everyone should hang on my every word. Instead, I want to blog for two reasons. First, I want to intentionally set aside time to reflect on my life and ministry. This isn't going to be a purely ministry-oriented blog or a purely family-oriented blog because, for me, my life isn't broken up into neat categories. It's all connected and each piece informs the others. Second, I want to humbly join online conversations that are currently taking place concerning matters of faith and practice. I am only too aware of the fact that when it comes to information, knowledge and all that, I am almost 100% a consumer. I rarely offer anything up to the community at large to receive critique or feedback, much less help anyone else on their journey of life and ministry. So, it's time I start becoming a contributor.
Finally...my blog title: Lobdell Lantern. In the middle ages, it was very dangerous to travel from town to town, especially at night. Robberies were very common occurences. And of course, a traveler couldn't exactly hop off the road and stay at a Holiday Inn when the sun set, so they relied on the hospitality of others, something that surely required a great deal of trust on the part of the traveler, I'm sure. Well, during this time, monks began to hang lanterns in the windows of their monasteries to indicate to any passerby that their monastery was a safe place for the weary traveler. So, the lantern became in many ways a symbol of Christian hospitality. I want my life (and my blog) to be a hospitable place, a place where all are welcome to come and sit awhile, to share their thoughts without fear and to experience the hospitality of God. I do not always succeed in being the hospitable follower of Christ that I long to be, but I press on toward the goal....