Thursday, January 25, 2007

Do You Miss It?

I’ve been a SAHM for a little over six months now, and I have not only survived but maybe even thrived. One of the interesting aspects of my life is talking to friends and colleagues who knew me before I had this job and who may have never expected that I would leave the world of outside-the-house-work (especially work that I loved so much) to stay at home. One of the questions I am asked regularly is “Do you miss preaching every week?”

The answer is a resounding “No.” I loved preaching. I loved everything about it. I loved choosing the text to use. I loved studying the text and reading commentaries. I loved struggling with the scripture and discerning the “good news” that I was going to share from that scripture. I loved the feeling of my finger flying across the keys as I typed, so aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit in the preparation of the sermon. I even loved it when I struggled, wondering what it was that I was supposed to say and whether anyone was going to get anything out of this drivel that I had written (ironically, those are the sermons that seem to get the most positive feedback).

But I don’t miss doing it every week. It’s too much. And the difficulty of being a sole pastor is that you don’t get a break from the weekly preaching unless you plan well in advance. And sometimes that’s more difficult that preparing the sermon.

On the other hand, I’d love the chance to do it again every once in awhile. Joseph Sprague, retired bishop from the Northern Illinois Conference, wrote wonderful book called Affirmations of a Dissenter. Among other things he gave some guidelines to pastors who want to take their calling seriously. He suggested that pastors spend 50% of their time—50%!—in study time each week. Half of a pastor’s week should be spent studying—preparing for sermons and bible studies and reading theological texts unrelated to sermon and Bible study preparation.

If only.

As a sole pastor such was nearly impossible, despite the fact that I would have loved to meet that goal. There were too many other tasks to tend to—administration, visitation, meetings, the list goes on and on.

Now that I have time to read, however, I understand his suggestion. I feel like I would be more prepared to preach now than I ever was because I actually have the time to read and study. Ironic, isn’t it, that that time is available only now when I no longer have that responsibility.

Do I miss it? No. Would I like another shot? Someday. I still have more to read.

8 comments:

Ruth said...

I would have liked to hear you preach. I enjoy your commentary so much that I imagine your sermons would be both interesting AND meaningful (not something just any preacher can pull off).

Darby said...

I would get asked the same thing about teaching. And my answer was always the same as yours. I loved it, and want to do it again someday. But I didn't miss it! I think that if we did truly miss what we were doing "before" then we would not be thriving as SAHMs. :)

MasonDixon said...

Clearly, you are in denial.

Your complete disregard for MomsTown and the sacred text of its omnibenevolent guardians leads me to believe that in spite of your protestations you are content to live with your glass half full.

I hope you can get some help with this matter.

Jennifer said...

I was going to say what Ruth said! :)

TLS said...

I know what you mean...I am still pastoring (and quite frankly should be writing a sermon as I type), but went from two churches to one 1/4 time. When I left the other (more traditional) church, I felt a lot of grief and thought I would mis being in the parish.

But, now, six months out, I don't miss it at all. In fact, the thought of going back to a traditional parish is enough to make me shudder. Trustee meetings, committee conflict, finances, church suppers and flea markets that just recycle trash...nope, don't miss it at all.

Now, because of my national work and really talented lay folk in my 1/4 church I preach far less and enjoy sharing ministry with others.

martha said...

It's true, you guys, she's really, really inspirational!

I wish I had a printed version of the homily from that one service the first week of June (I think I'm supposed to be cagey with that, right?) But I know it was handwritten and probably swept away in the move...sigh.

Jenny said...

Masondixon, you're just trying to start trouble again!!!! SHAME! Next thing you know, you'll start getting everyone else all riled up, too.
Can't you block people's comments, MB??
(JUST KIDDING! Very much, in fact...)

FE_Under_35 said...

I'm finishing my seventh month out of the pulpit--appointed to school to work on a PhD. I miss it dearly...more so than I thought I would. Sure...it's nice having anxiety-free Saturday evenings, but I'm not a good parishioner--I get frustrated with anemic preaching...especially when I suspect that the sermon I'm hearing was hatched on the way to the church on Sunday morning...

Glad to see your endorsement of Joe Sprague's book. I was in his church when he was elected to the episcopacy. He was an important role model for me.

Glad to find your blog...