Conversations at the end of sermons can go many places. I have forgotten most, but a few stand out. I particularly remember one that took place some thirty years ago. I was just into my first Senior Pastorate, having worked my way through the ranks of Youth Pastor and Associate Pastor. I was still in the process of completing my Ph.D. in Systematic Theology, having acquired a Master of Divinity and a Master of Theology degree. Nonetheless, I felt overwhelmed and woefully inadequate. I felt very much a novice at preaching, pastoral care, and board leadership.
As a woman called to teach the Word, I’m often looking for ministries or resources that better equip me to teach women. When I discover a good resource or get to be a part of a ministry that helps women handle the Bible well, I want to share! So I’m highlighting the Verity Fellowship, an excellent ministry in the Pacific Northwest geared towards women who minister the Word.
It’s a rare seminary prospect who visits campus with his or her parents, so I clearly remember when Jeremy brought his folks with him just over two years ago. They had come from North Dakota, and as we waited in line for sandwiches at East Side Deli (just down Hawthorne Boulevard from Western’s campus at the foot of Mount Tabor), I wondered what they thought of Portland. The art for sale on the walls that month was a rather risqué set of cartoon illustrations, and I wondered if ¿Por Que No?, just across the street, would have been a better choice.
By taking off the pressure of having to excel, we allow ourselves to live in the moment. Released from the burden of needing to be better than good, needing to claw our way to the top, hit the sermon out of the park, we can relax a bit.
In part one of this series, I provided observations of the grey milieu in the Pacific Northwest (PNW), exploring themes of ambiguity, disorder and confusion, and emptiness and loss. Additionally, I suggested a framework for grey theology. Here in part two, my aim is twofold: first, I articulate briefly why this grey reality exists, and second, I reflect on the construction of a grey theology.