I am large, I contain multitudes

So, 2011 is about to come to an end. I know many folk for whom this year has been one crapfest after another and are glad to see it go. I’m feeling thankful that my experience has been a bit different. My friend and “what we always hope will be a business” partner Carol Howard Merritt reflected well the other day about feeling a sense of contentment at the loose ends that were not tied up this year, and I feel that the post provided me with some words to express what I am feeling. While I had some pretty big highs this year, I’ve struggled to gain some traction in a few areas of my life.

2011 saw me reach a significant milestone, meet a life goal, check something of my bucket list: I had a book published. I have dreamed of the moment I held a book of mine in my hands for as long as I can remember and it was exhilarating. Working with the folks at Alban was a treat. Having Carol write the forward was humbling. Hearing that so-and-so was referred to my book by one of you was a grace to me.

2011 also saw a continued opportunity to serve the PC(USA) and the Moderator if the 219th General Assembly as Vice Moderator. I have met some incredible people, been to some amazing places, and seen that God is still working on this thing called the Church. While I admit to being ready for July to arrive and a new moderatorial team to take over, I will be sad to leave this most wonderful of experiences. I tell Presbyterians all the time, “Being VMod is the best job in the church. I make no decisions or assign anyone to anything, but I get to meet incredibly faithful people as see what God is doing in their midst. Everyone should get to do this.” I also started a new job in 2011. After 4.5 years, I left the congregation I had been serving to work for a regional level of our denomination. I’m only 4 months in, but it has been rewarding.

However, there have been a lot of stops and starts this year. Carol and I tried to take God Complex Radio to the “next level” and I found that I just didn’t have the space for that with all the other responsibilities I had. I am glad that Derrick is in the co-host chair now. He’s great and I think he brings a good flavor to the podcast.

I also feel as if I’ve sputtered with what this site, The Metanoia Project, can or should be. That sputtering stems from my confusion over who it is I want to be. Do I want to be a religio-expert of some sort (even though experts are overrated)? Short answer: yes. I have LOVED being able to travel around and speak about my book for the last year. I have so many ideas about different ways to see the Christian life, and I want to share them. I want this work to continue, but I don’t want that to be all that I am.

After writing Theology is Art I have rediscovered a part of me that was buried for a long time. I am, at heart, an artist. I love to create and writing Theology is Art has convinced me that the best theological work done is artistic work. I want to cultivate that again. I want to return to the days when I would write song after song (like the ones I’ve recorded under the name Eighth Day Collective). I want to write a big, epic novel, and I want to be goofy and write mysteries where a pastor is the amateur sleuth.

In short, I’ve got a lot I want to do. As Whitman said,

Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

I guess I’m ready to stop painting myself with some veneer and passing myself off as some shiny version of myself. I’m ready to just be me. So expect more things from me and this site than just theologizing. This could get ridiculous.

8 thoughts on “I am large, I contain multitudes”

  1. i’m sorry, but is there something wrong with being ridiculous? or artistic? and have you read any avivah zornberg? duuuuuuude. i think you two could be quite amazing friends, too.

  2. i am SO ready for a pastor-as-amateur-sleuth mystery. can you bump that up to the top of your to-do list?

    also, i feel that the ministry itself calls us to be large and contain multitudes. or at least good ministry anyway. i’m going to keep that quote in my pocket…

    1. I think you will be happy to know that the mystery book is currently in the works…🙂

      And I wholeheartedly agree about ministry. yes, it does.

  3. Argh. I think my comment landed in the spam file, so I am going to comment using Twitter now…. anyway – great to meet a cool Presbyterian who is also an artist and writer. Me, too! I only consider myself “cool” because many of my non-Christian friends enjoy me so much… they sometimes refer to me as “the coolest Christian they know.”

    My daughter is a Religion major with aims to be a Presbyterian pastor. Hooray!

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