So our first day in our little cottage was very quiet. That was good … we’d spent the last three days being very busy, travelling and doing. So we needed to be quiet. We watched the tide come in and go out in our little cove. If that sounds rather mundane you have to consider where we are and that the tide comes in and goes out to the tune of 20+ feet here. You can see from the low tide and high tide pictures that it’s sort of dramatic. That is the same shipwreck in our cove at low tide and again at high tide.
I also caught up with my friends and their blogs. My AwakeFriend wrote a real doozy on Sunday. You really need to read the whole thing. But what really got me thinking was his description of seminary and the training he underwent for giving sermons. It made me think of the days when I was in graduate school and the training I underwent to become a teacher. There were many similarities. They are both very artificial training grounds. Which is sad and silly. Why do we (that is, the corporate we) think that we can reduce pastoring or teaching (or any profession where we are leading/mentoring other people) to a list of things that can be measured and then taught. These are not sciences after all. And then my thoughts kept wandering down that little path and came to this:
The other day we we had lunch at one of the most local of local diners. Actually we’ve had 5 meals in the last 4 days there. They’ve adopted us there. We met an elderly lady who is clearly well loved by all. Her name is Mimi (pronounced mimee, as in short i, long e). We were told that just about everyone in Lubec over the age of 30 had had her for a teacher at one time or another and most of those under 30 had probably had her for a substitute … she told us that last year was probably her last year … she didn’t think she’d sign up again. She’s definitely pushing 80 or so. Among other things, she told us the story of when she went to Normal School (as teacher training schools were called back then) and as she was filling out the paper work she was next to a girl who confided in Mimi that she (the other girl) didn’t like children. Mimi looked at us in wonder as she was telling this story. Still amazed after 60 years. How could someone who didn’t like children consider going into the teaching profession?
And that’s just it. I hope my AwakeFriend will forgive me … but I know that the same thing happened at his seminary. Clearly he was called into ministry. At our church we benefit from his calling on the weeks he speaks, and on the weeks he hangs out … we benefit from his gifts of grace and mercy that he models for us just by being. But here’s the thing … I wonder how many of his fellow students at seminary were just there because they mistook a fifty percent off sale for a calling (don’t snicker … it happens), or because their father was a pastor … or for a hundred other reasons, none of which have anything to do with the things of God. And it’s not just seminary, either. How many jobs in our world are filled by people with no heart for them? Like the girl that Mimi knew sixty years ago … there aren’t any spaces on our forms that ask us whether or not we like children when we’re training to be teachers. We forget to ask the most important question sometimes. I have to wonder about that. And it makes me uncomfortable.