Lost in Translation.

I was all set to write about lessons from kayaking and its relationship to sailing on stormy seas.  (We only had difficulty paddling back to shore on a very windy, slightly rainy day, and I was ready to cry, “Don’t you care that we’re perishing.)  Then I went to our Conference Annual Meeting.

And after sitting next to two youth at plenary…

Talking to association folks about lack of lay involvement…

Attending a workshop on multi-sensory worship…

Participating in a panel on open and affirming churches…

Being asked why my husband and new step-children weren’t with me…

And swapping stories with other new clergy in their 30s, I could not longer write the quaint vignette about our kayaking trip.

I needed to say that in my mind all of these half-sentences relate.  The world has had a seismic shift within even the last ten year.  And much of the day-to-day of our churches at both the local and conference level feel like a time before my time.  Sometimes, I just get tired of translating.

I say translating because that’s what I believe is part of my call.  Born in the mid-1970s I’m not quite in the tech generation and I’m not part of Christendom either.  I guess, I’m a classic gen-x-er–the missing church generation, but that’s a topic for a different day.  I see this timing as a gift.  I do remember a time when Sunday was pretty open.  When our schools had Christmas break.  I also have fallen in love with the Internet.  And enjoy both multi-sensory and cultural references in worship.  Perfect for translation.  Most times I am energized by translation.

Some days it’s tiring.  Somedays feels like a lack of understanding for just how much work it is for those of us “outside” to stay in the conversation.  Sometimes I just feel tired.  Tired of doing things because that’s how we’ve done them.  Tired of justifying why I’m open and affirming.  Tired of seeking ways to sneak in multi-sensory worship.  Tired of listening to the woes about youth while not offering anything that relates to their lived experience.  Tired of explaining that my husband (who is 40) has his own faith tradition–and that I’m GRATEFUL that he has a pastor, and I am not it.

And in those moments of tired I think about all the lay folk out there.  And I think I get why they don’t readily sign up.  Step in line.  Wave their hands.  I get it…or at least some of it.  Who wants to work that hard?  Life is hard enough.

I think we, the church, have some really amazing gifts to offer.  I think our world can’t wait to unwrap them. But it’s time to stop hiding the gifts in secret closets or placing them at the end of a long row of hurdles.


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