So as many of you know by now, I'm beginning to believe that I am called to be a pastor, or something ministry related at least. There are a number of reasons that have been more or less "snow balling" within me, however I believe the conclusion was finally triggered a few days ago. And so Im going to attempt to walk through the process that brought me here, in hopes to clarify to myself (and to others) what I'm thinking on this...
The last several weeks/months have left me very frustrated with life, what with my car dying, my job giving me less and less hours, and my graphic design leads giving me less than stellar results. I had been feeling for a few months now that maybe I was supposed to do something that didnt strictly pertain to my graphic design degree, but I wasnt sure just what. That and I tried to avoid thinking about it, since I didnt want to be one of those American morons that spent years going to college for something, only to realize afterwards that they wanted to pursue something else entirely. But the doors of opportunity appear all but open in this crappy economy. So finally I prayed in desperation, asking God to tell me what I was supposed to do even if I didnt want to hear it, and the idea of a pastor and ministry immediately came to mind. Being as its something ive only passingly entertained in my mind before, I naturally asked God if He had gone completely mad or if I was just hearing things.
After mulling it over for awhile though it began to make more sense. Over the past several months I've heard time and time again, from both Christians and non-Christians, that I should be a pastor...though I'd always respond how I didn't feel cut out for that line of spiritual duty (and Im still wondering if I am). After all, who am I really? Just some artist/musician guy who writes religious blogs and works at a supermarket. I have a number of issues that cause me not to be the model Christian more often than not(ex. impatience, laziness, selfishness) , and I struggled with giving speeches in both high school and college. So I certainly wouldn't seem to be the most likely candidate for a preacher-type.
Though I guess when you think about it, Jesus chose some pretty unlikely people to first spread His word; A couple of them were fishermen, Matthew was a tax collector and the apostle Paul murdered Christians before Jesus appeared to Him. Prior to Jesus calling them, none of them probably had a clue as to the great roles they would play in God's story. And perhaps in a similar way, God has used other people to call me to something I never would have considered in years past.
Another thing thats helped spur me in this direction, is my over all frustration with "church" and Christianity in general. As ive stated before, its really been a struggle finding my place within a system that I no longer believe in. I love God, I love the scriptures, I love all my Christian brothers and sisters and I support many things that churches are doing throughout the world. However, going to church in the attempt to salvage what truth I can and plant seeds of knowledge, has been an endeavor that has left me more frustrated than uplifted. All you are given in church today, are traditional interpretations and ideas(with small variances here and there) in a manner that leaves little room for personal interpretation. And if you are so bold as to question the clergy's interpretation, you are often looked down upon and told how you cannot possibly be right. Which makes my biggest problem with Christianity not the fact that I disagree with it on a couple key beliefs, but that it has fooled itself into thinking its beliefs are beyond reconsideration.
As long as Christianity lives in that delusion, it will continue to discourage its participators from thinking and discerning for themselves. As long as people arent discerning for themselves, they will continue to commit the most tragic crime of religion: elevating man-made beliefs above God's conviction within us. And the more I realize this, the harder it is to simply sit by while good-intending leaders of faith, direct people down a path that can cripple their spiritual growth (as it did mine). Thats why, God willingly, I want to bring believers together in a setting where people arent guilt-tripped into believing a certain set of doctrines, but are free to have their own interpretations. A place where I can give a message according to what I feel God is showing me, but also let everyone voice their opinion. A place where I can tell people about Gods truly unconditional love and salvation for humanity, that I never learned about in "church". A place where I and others are truly unbound by fundamentalism, to search the scriptures ourselves and see what is true. Perhaps some meetings we wont even talk about the God, but simply go out into the community and reflect God in deed. And the only setting I can think of that this would be realistic would be in like in a home or some other non-formal location.
Im not sure whether God is really calling me to ministry or not, or just how exactly I am supposed to go about that. And my views on any of the above ideals could change or become more specific, especially in my ordination process (which is part of the reason I want to go through with it, to give me time to sort out my vision). But if He is calling me to minister, I hope I can help give people the tools to search out God themselves through the scriptures, and underpin it with the fact that God's spirit is the ultimate teacher...not a creed, not a church, not a theologian, and certainly not me.
So to preach, or not to preach? I dont know, but either way I'll still make annoying Facebook statuses ;)