Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Friday, January 22, 2016


CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith for the Years of Winter… ©

They listed rabbi, but not minister, or pastor, or preacher, or priest, or padre, or clergy.

I was on a site where I had to give my profession. My profession was not among their options.

They listed poet, song writer, golfer, both football player and coach, meteorologist, stunt man, interior designer, judge, fitness instructor, guitarist, drummer, race car driver, poet, and photographer, all with fewer practitioners than clergy

The reason is obvious: “Don’t want no preachers ‘round here.” Or, more likely, computer site designers don’t know that clergy exist. A lot of people don’t.

A lot of people do, though, and are not enthralled. Clergy in media are portrayed as hapless, although sometimes winsome, dimwits, i.e, Father Mulcahy on M*A*S*H. Or as hypocritical one-dimensional extremist money-grubbing power-mad demagogues. Those are both accurate. Those clergy exist.

They are not the only clergy, however. There are also the open-minded, kind, well-meaning, helpful types who work long hours for low pay and constantly wonder if they are doing any good.

For a long time, after I retired and wanted people to think I was a writer, I tried to keep my clergy identity in the closet, for fear folks would think I was one of the dimwit hypocrites. Now, though, I just own up to it. I tried to be that third type, the ones who try to help people figure out how to live good lives, find better ways of dealing with their problems. I always thought of myself as a broker, getting fragmented people into touch with the people and resources that could help them get put back together, become whole.

For Christmas, Helen gave me a book of poems by Carrie Newcomer, the Quaker singer/song-writer. In one of them she uses the phrase, “intentional wholeness.” I like that. I’m glad I had so many opportunities in my professional role to help people become intentional about wholeness.

But isn’t that the role of any of us? Unfortunately, that site does not list “human,” either…

 John Robert McFarland

I started this blog several years ago, when we followed the grandchildren to the “place of winter,” Iron Mountain, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula [The UP]. I put that in the sub-title, Reflections on Faith from a Place of Winter for the Years of Winter, where life is defined by winter even in the summer! [This phrase is explained in the post for March 20, 2014.] The grandchildren, though, are grown up, so in May, 2015 we moved “home,” to Bloomington, IN, where we met and married. It’s not a “place of winter,” but we are still in winter years of the life cycle, so I am still trying to understand what it means to be a follower of Christ in winter…

I tweet as yooper1721.

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