Friday, June 25, 2010

Workin' Hard, Or Hardly Workin'

Today, I spent most of my day not working. The majority of the hours I put in had nothing to do with work at all. Yeah, it started recognizably enough. I wrote up the weekly email newsletter for the church, edited it, and sent it out to our little circulation list. I then edited the circulation list. Then, I pulled together our bulletin. And updated the church sign. And did some prep work for VBS. And ordered some emergency lights that a recent visit from the fire marshal made necessary. I met with our building manager and my clerk of session. That was all very workey. But it only carried me through noon.

At noon, I got on my motorcycle and rode north. It was hot, but so long as I was moving, things were fine. Pleasant, even. At 1:45 pm, I arrived at the state psychiatric hospital where the young man who was arrested outside our church two weeks ago is being treated. He was pleased to see me, which one can't always say about folks who you've gotten arrested and detained in an institution. But then, he gets few visitors, so I did break the monotony. I spent the next hour with him, listening as he described worldview. He's a bright guy, and our conversation veered wildly from some fairly mundane stuff to long talks that reflected his fractured mental state.

At 2:45 pm, I begged his leave, got back on my bike, and motored homeward through the afternoon haze. The Beltway, she was not kind to me this evening.

Pretty much all of my afternoon was spent doing something that, from an organizational standpoint, was no more constructive than playing Bloons. Go, Dart Monkey, Go!

I wasn't attending to membership, or to the needs of the facility. I wasn't doing development...sorry...stewardship work. I wasn't developing a prospective new member. I wasn't getting new pledge units...sorry...members. By the baseline standards of measuring the organizational health of a church as a human institution, what I was doing served no conceivable purpose.

And yet it was what needed to be done, in an Imitatio Christi, dubyadubyajaydee sorta way. From conversations I've had about it with members and leaders of the church, it was what everyone eagerly wanted me to do. Even though it served no organizational purpose, it was the thing the pastor of my church...meaning me... needed to be doing. Which is how it should be. How it must be, for church to be church and not just another institution.

It reminded me again of how when I sometimes say to my kids "I'm going to work," that isn't really what I'm doing at all.