Preach the word;
be prepared in season and out of season;
correct, rebuke and encourage—
with great patience and careful instruction.2 Timothy 4:2
This is a transcription of the beginning of my thought process at Mahon Falls on 12th March 2014 at about 2.15pm. The out loud conversation stopped because there were other people passing and then I began to pray to God rather than speak out loud to myself. The full story is on another tape and I will transcribe that next. For fullness and to be honest I have put the audio file here too. The heavy breathing is my very unfit form trying to negotiate the path.
“Totally and utterly ill prepared to travel to Mahon Falls. I’ve got high heeled boots on a wee skirt, no coat. Totally ill prepared for the journey which is on little stones, loose stones on a path. I suspect it is a better path now than it used to be. If a hundred years ago I was making this journey my feet would be sinking into mossy, muddy ground.
But it makes me wonder…
Am I ready for this next journey, am I prepared, have I got everything I need for it.
In Timothy it says “Be prepared”
If I was going to school I’d have my pencil case, my pens and my pencils, I’d have my ruler, I’d have my books and I’d have my exercise books or copies. I’m not really sure what I need.
And it’s not because I’m not sure where or what or how God wants me to move. It’s because there’s people.
And I’m not sure. Two things.
Firstly I’m not sure I’m acceptable enough for them. I’m not sure that my lack of Methodist tradition is going to be a hindrance to them. I’m not sure that Irish speakers are going to speak Irish to me and the non-Irish speakers are not going to want me to speak Irish. I’m not sure how to traverse those two traditions. I’m not sure how I fit in with their tradition. I think I might be too different for them. I think I might be just too unacceptable for them.
In recent days I have been talking and writing to people who have been found lacking and I can’t see anything wrong with them. And so if they were not acceptable how could I possibly be acceptable.
The second point. Is all the changes people are making for me. Telling me that I should act a certain way, telling me that I should play the game, telling me that I should listen to the politics, telling me that I should change the way I dress, change the way I talk, change everything about me. Different people want to change a different aspect of me, and if everybody changed every part of me, there’d be nothing left of me. There’d be nothing left of the creation God made. And I’d just be a cardboard cutout of what other people want me to be. I hear how people in the church no matter what their status (if you want to call it that or position) have messed up. People like to tell me how their particular minister or their lay pastor, or their pastor or their local preacher have upset them and they want me to adapt so they won’t be upset by me.
I am what I am.
The honesty that is me is all I have to offer. The fact that I have nothing else that I can say is belonging to me, I can’t pretend a huge tradition, cos I don’t have it. I can’t pretend to dress how Methodists have always dressed because I haven’t been a Methodist and I can’t afford Jaegar.
What I have is the ability to immediately walk alongside someone, to encourage them, to admonish them, to shepherd them and I didn’t realise but I have been shepherding for over a year now. But just not in a congregation. Or that congregation is world wide and sporadic and small. And I am not trying to get people to think exactly the same way that I think we are all individual we are all unique, we are uniquely made and therefore we think uniquely. That uniqueness though once it is stamped with the tattoo of God we can come together, all differences together.
We preach that all the time, we hear that all the time. So how come it’s not acceptable when you’re going forward. Or is it just people’s perceptions cos no minister’s said this to me. It’s just people.
You have to whiter than white, you have to be above reproach, I get that. And I am living above reproach, I have been doing for some time now.