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I have less than one month to change the name of this blog.

April 19, 2006

Well, folks, I’m in the home stretch. Graduation. Commencement. Sending forth.

I shall no longer be known as a seminarian, and therefore the title of this blog will be obsolete. As of May 12th, I shall henceforth be known as “Master of Divinity,” a rather arrogant-sounding title to be sure. Heck, I prefer to be called “Willie.” Not “Pastor Willie” or “Reverend Willie,” or “Preacher.” Well, there is one old guy in my church who just calls me “Preach,” and I’ve grown fond of that. And I don’t discourage anyone from calling me reverend or pastor. It’s not like I mind, but I simply prefer to be called by my name rather than by a title. But I have a relational leadership style and a deeply relational theology, so I think the name thing is consistent with my beliefs.

But graduation is causing me to have an IDENTITY CRISIS!!!

For the last four years I have been a student at Eden Theological Seminary. During that time I have come to understand myself as a student, a licensed student pastor in the United Methodist Church, the pastor of Grand Tower-Wolf Lake-Ware United Methodist Churches, and as the husband-father-musician-goofball I am. Now an awful lot of ingredients are up in the air. I will no longer be a student (well, I’ll be a lifelong student but I will no longer be enrolled in an academic institution). No more papers, class presentations, three page reflections, critical book reviews. I’ll have more time to read what I choose, engage in pastoral care and spiritual formation.

The chances of being moved by the Cabinet are pretty high since the conference has a strong need for seminary-educated clergy. As a full-time pastor (rather than a part-time student pastor) I’ll have tons more meetings to attend (and run), more Christian Education to program, and more demands on my time. I look forward to that. Looking forward to this new way of life is stressful, but it’s good stress – the stress of anticipation.

But it’s also the stress of redefining oneself, redefining MYself. For the last four years I have been a person who is being prepared for this vocation. Come May 13, I take on the mantle of the pastoral vocation on a full-time basis. I have been prepared by Eden, by my family, by myself and most importantly by God for this. And I believe it is my true calling, a genuine extension of who I am as a person. I’m just a little nervous is all.

I’m reminded of this exchange from the movie The Big Kahuna.

Bob Walker: Throw me in the water and see if I can swim
Larry Mann: I think you’re missing the point here Bob, we’re about to throw you off a cliff and see if you can fly.

I am up for this challenge and my family is incredibly supportive. Thoughts and prayers are appreciated.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. gavin richardson permalink
    April 23, 2006 8:00 pm

    i suppose not being an academic student is a good problem to have. we never stop being students though.. so if you really want you can keep the old id. &:~)

    shalom
    -g

  2. Chuck Currie permalink
    April 25, 2006 10:55 pm

    I know how you feel. Wish I could be back for graduation. Enjoy it!

  3. Kansas Bob permalink
    April 29, 2006 9:44 am

    Congratulations Willie! How about “Preach Blogs”?

  4. Michael permalink
    April 29, 2006 1:07 pm

    Best wishes to you in your new journey, Willie. I agree with Gavin; we never stop being “students”. Is this not the definition of “disciple”?

    Your heart is reflected in your writings, so it seems apparent that the Lord made a good choice in you to “feed” His sheep!

    Godspeed!

  5. Willie permalink
    May 1, 2006 7:35 pm

    Thanks for the kind words of encouragement.

  6. James Fletcher Baxter permalink
    May 6, 2006 11:00 am

    Consider:
    The missing element in every human ‘solution’ is
    an accurate definition of the creature.

    The way we define ‘human’ determines our view
    of self, others, relationships, institutions, life, and
    future. Important? Only the Creator who made us
    in His own image is qualified to define us accurately.
    Choose wisely…there are results.

    Many problems in human experience are the result of
    false and inaccurate definitions of humankind premised
    in man-made religions and humanistic philosophies.

    Each individual human being possesses a unique, highly
    developed, and sensitive perception of diversity. Thus
    aware, man is endowed with a natural capability for enact-
    ing internal mental and external physical selectivity.
    Quantitative and qualitative choice-making thus lends
    itself as the superior basis of an active intelligence.

    Human is earth’s Choicemaker. His title describes
    his definitive and typifying characteristic. Recall
    that his other features are but vehicles of experi-
    ence intent on the development of perceptive
    awareness and the following acts of decision and
    choice. Note that the products of man cannot define
    him for they are the fruit of the discerning choice-
    making process and include the cognition of self,
    the utility of experience, the development of value-
    measuring systems and language, and the accultur-
    ation of civilization.

    The arts and the sciences of man, as with his habits,
    customs, and traditions, are the creative harvest of
    his perceptive and selective powers. Creativity, the
    creative process, is a choice-making process. His
    articles, constructs, and commodities, however
    marvelous to behold, deserve neither awe nor idol-
    atry, for man, not his contrivance, is earth’s own
    highest expression of the creative process.

    Human is earth’s Choicemaker. The sublime and
    significant act of choosing is, itself, the Archimedean
    fulcrum upon which man levers and redirects the
    forces of cause and effect to an elected level of qual-
    ity and diversity. Further, it orients him toward a
    natural environmental opportunity, freedom, and
    bestows earth’s title, The Choicemaker, on his
    singular and plural brow.

    Human is earth’s Choicemaker. Psalm 25:12 He is by
    nature and nature’s God a creature of Choice – and of
    Criteria. Psalm 119:30,173 His unique and definitive
    characteristic is, and of Right ought to be, the natural
    foundation of his environments, institutions, and re-
    spectful relations to his fellow-man. Thus, he is orien-
    ted to a Freedom whose roots are in the Order of the
    universe.

    Let us proclaim it. Behold!
    The Season of Generation-Choicemaker Joel 3:14 KJV

    – from The HUMAN PARADIGM

  7. Disciple permalink
    July 6, 2006 5:29 pm

    I just jumped in from the blog roll:

    My favorite scriptures when faced with change is the comfort that God knows where I am going, and he is shaping me into who he would have me be.

    Jeremiah 29:11

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