So, this is how I feel, and it may bother you, but this is my moment to write, so here goes.
I am in ministry NOW. When you,( retired clergy I know) shake your heads and say, with false support, “Sure am glad I’m not in ministry now!” you are not proving supportive.
You are in point of fact, being really nasty. You make my passion, and the hard work and hardships of ministry in the 21st century, seem stupid and pointless. Like it must have been so much better back then.
But I am passionate about my vocation, so don’t for God’s sake, give me this sort of snarky comment. If you can’t really support my ministry; with all the added layers of accountability, responsibility, legal restraints, boundary expectations and cultural sensitivity then, just shut up.
And while I am at it: the same goes for parenting and grand-parenting. So, you say you are so relieved that your kids were safely raised before this age of technology, Internet, police brutality, terrible government? Will you please cut that out!? NOW is the time when I am learning how to be a grandmother, NOW is the time in which my children are practicing parenting, growing in parenting, experiencing parenting.
We practice and grow in parenting, because parenting and grand-parenting aren’t something you learn in a class, get your grade in, and move on…no…these are lifelong endeavors, challenges, and scary great opportunities. (Not unlike my life of ministry, going on 30 years now.)
Christian parenting, and grand-parenting, is the only kind I really know. I don’t know much about other cultures and religions and the parenting that happens there. I do know that my new job as a Christian grandmother means teaching by doing: practicing patience, love, restraint, discipline, generosity, faith, openness to mystery and awe, kindness and humor. Over and over again. Right here and NOW.
I understand grand-parenting to mean singing the lullabies and the hymns I sang to my kids, and oh yes, some of the tunes from “Frozen” as well. It means Dora the Explorer (long after my kids) and Burl Ives as a snowman (long before my kids!). I will pray over meals with my grandchildren, tell them of God’s love, share Christmas and Easter and Sunday morning and weddings and funerals and church potlucks. I will point out the perfection of dandelions and snowflakes and long walks being quiet. I will take them to a protest, and to the ball game. All of this is of value to me as a human being and a minister of the gospel and I practice living into these blessed experiences all the time. I hope to teach my grandchildren to practice living this way as well: loving and caring, welcoming and sharing, working for justice and sacrificing for others, and seeing that life is good, right here and now.
Because really, for all of us, there is only NOW. Let the past be the past, I am a grandma NOW and I love it, right here and right now.
Join SpokaneFAVS for a Coffee Talk forum on “Faith and Parenting” at 10 a.m. June 6 at Indaba Coffee/The Book Parlor, 1425 W. Broadway. CastroLang is a panelist.
Andy CastroLang is senior pastor at Westminster Congregational United Church of Christ. She is deeply committed to civil discourse between individuals and throughout our community; in interreligious conversation, private conversation, intergenerational conversation and yes, even in political conversation. She has been a supporter of SpokaneFaVS since its inception because she supports this creative effort at thoughtful community conversation.
I’m ex-clergy and I’m a grandparent of preschoolers and I am sincerely glad that I am not currently active in professional pastoring or raising small children,. So, I hope you are primarily addressing the Snark Factor when your best shot at those who express such gladness is to tell them to “just shut up.”
Yes! We have to live in our NOW, and not be distracted by other’s THEN.