Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Here's a Spot for You!

As I have alluded to in earlier posts I am working on being a little more present with The Boy. Currently he will tell me to come sit on the couch and I will usually respond with, "just one minute." There will be a pause and he will then say, "Here's a spot for you!"
You can't turn that down, you just can't - and I won't. So I sit and cherish that moment knowing it will be all too soon when I am looking up on the blog just when exactly that was when he used to clear a spot for me on the couch.

In some ways I feel like I am waiting for the Holy Spirit to clear a spot for me in wherever it is that God has planned for us next. (And just a warning, the first person that comments, "patience is a virtue" will be shunned... for life). I trust in the Holy Spirit and I trust that this is not where I am called to be much longer and so like anyone who has decided that their future is not where they currently are I am anxious to move to wherever that place may be.

But Call processes are time consuming and right now we are in the prime summer vacation zone and so a lot of committees have slowed down to a crawl if they are moving at all.

It has been hard to wrap my head around the fact that I already have two strikes against me that I had no part in creating - woman (strike 1), divorced (strike 2). And yes I get that any committee that cannot look past those things does not represent a church I would want to go to anyway - blah, blah, blah....

The thing is I work with these committees and I know even good people are looking for ways - subconcious even - to taper down their lists so that they can focus their time on only the best of the best. I just want a chance to come to the table and talk. Do I think that if I had a more gender neutral name at the top of my resume I would have received more contacts - you DAMN well better believe it!

I am prime age with prime experience and background to make the step from solo pastor to Head of Staff that many men (and women) have made before me. I KNOW men (some of whom I even like) who are younger with FAR less experience who have made HUGE leaps in their careers because let's face it, they looked the part. All the committee had to sell the rest of the church on was their age. With me they will have to sell the church on my gender AND my marital status.

That sucks.

All of that said, and as anxious - and excited - as I am to see what God has in store next for my family, I continue to diligently walk through the process. I pray for the opportunity that I may not even know is about to become available. I continue to keep up the energy level in my current call. And I keep my ears open for when the Holy Spirit in the voice of a committee and congregation somewhere will say, "Here's a spot for you!"


God_Guurrlll said...

AMEN sister friend. I've had similar struggles.

It burns my butt that search committees seek a young man, with wive and 2.5 children thinking that this will make their church grow.

Sean said...

It totally and completely sucks.
But it is not impossible.
I know for sure.
But God does love a surprise.

Listing Straight said...

Wow. Very well written.

I hope that the space is soon evident.

Preacher Mom said...

You just verbalized perfectly what I've thought and experienced for over a year now. I'm still waiting. Patience may be a virtue, but not one I possess.

Teri said...


I know that we will be looking for a Head of Staff in the coming year, but I don't know if you want to wait. I also don't know if the congregation at large is ready for a woman SP--a LOT depends on which interim we end up with and how they do. I think there's potential, but we'll see.

Anyway, I'll keep you posted as I continue to watch your blog and pray for your process. peace, friend!

Songbird said...

People are ridiculous.
That is all.
Except for this: *[

cheesehead said...

I for one am just too damn tired of the excuse that the church "might not be ready" for a woman, a person of color, a GLBT person, somebody with brown eyes, somebody with a limp, pick your favorite discrimination.

Is anybody ready for the gospel? Do we think they were ready for Jesus 2000 years ago? Hell to the no.

When we make excuses, we expect far too little of God. (I know that you were not saying that this is okay, Teri, just calling it like you see it, so this is not a rant against you.)

*Sucks* doesn't even begin to describe what this is.

Yes, I have been at a church trial, why do you ask?

PK said...

Patience is definitely NOT a virtue... it's a journey of pain... anger... frustration... angst... and a whole bunch of other stuff... rolled up with just enough joy to keep us going.

It frustrates me for you... that trying to find a new call is so painful. I know that pain... too well. It seems as if (and I think someone else commented on it)... no one has a clue what the gospel is all about. If they did... being female... wouldn't matter one iota.

Keep doing all of the things that you are doing to get the "junk" outside of you... and I'll keep praying. Peace.

Purechristianithink said...

Last week I listened to a retired pastor/seminary prof. in my congregation tell the story of how, 30 years ago, he couldn't get search committees to talk to him because he was in a wheelchair. If it's not one damn thing it's another . . .

will smama said...

Cheese, your tone sounds like mine when I get done with my monthly denomination uber committee meetings.

Yes, Teri is calling it like she very clearly sees it. So weird because it is such an excuse and rare would be the other employer who could get away with a similar phrase.

I didn't believe it when I heard it in seminary but now I have witnessed it: Coming out of seminary women can find ordained positions, men are challenged (because everyone assumes they are going to leave for the next big thing). Then the second job: men have little problem, and the women struggle.


stinuksuk said...

Isn't that the truth!!!
I interviewed for a couple positions (1 small part-time) and it came down to me and this younger male, guess who got it? Yup, the male.
I also don't interview well. Too nervous. I've known some pastors who interview "well" - ie: give all the right answers to the questions, then up serving a church where it isn't the best match (because they gave the "right" answer instead of an honest answer).
However, although I may have to work harder (at interviews, etc.)I have trusted God and the Holy Spirit has guided me to where I needed to be through the years, and you know, so far so good!!!
I trust it will be so for you.
WOW 'em!!!

RevDrKate said...

ARRGHH!!!! Prayers for you daily! And *[

Barb said...

Just to reassure you (in a bleak sort of way) that these issues cross the Atlantic - although in the UK we don't often bathe in the luxury of being a head of staff.

It is a hard road to walk, but it is one with more integrity than the smooth path of the stereotypical white, middle class male, with a wife and two kids (preferably one of each gender)

Peace (which passes all understanding)

zorra said...

OK. Button pushed. Rant ahead.

You know what? I'm on our PNC right now (and we are going full steam ahead, no summer break), and so far we have received only one PIF from a woman. One. We're open! We're willing! We're reading lots of PIFs! Hello? Anybody?

Not you, WS, I know you don't want to come down here. But hey,everybody else, it's really not so bad. Give us a chance to look at your PIF.

Not every PNC is full of reactionary pinheads who will only consider a white male in his mid-30s with a stay-at-home wife and 2.5 kids.

Rant concluded. Carry on.

St. Casserole said...

I'm not sure what to say.You are a prize. The church who calls you will be very fortunate.

I'm sorry about the waiting. I can feel your frustration.

Lomagirl said...

Maybe you should put your blog handle on your resume. (joking)
I've been waiting all summer for an interview and then a second interview which I finally had today for a job that I've been doing on a temp basis for two years. The job starts Monday- the position posted last March. So I've spent a lot of time waiting and trusting God. And then they called and offered me the job this afternoon, but at a lower salary than I was making, which is a mistake that I have to solve- not then. So I just cried. How can I accept a job where I'm not valued enough for them to even offer me a fair salary, after making me wait all summer to even offer the job. What I'm really wondering is if I was crying about the salary or because they offered me the job to begin with?

Lomagirl said...

Sorry, that last post became about me. I started out trying to commiserate about the whole waiting thing and got carried away- but I do commiserate. Wouldn't it be nice sometimes if God gave us a future timeline? Of course, than the surprise element and faith itself would be missing.

sherry said...

I think (and this is coming from the lay side of the pews and search committee) that you should address these things in a straightforward and blunt manner:

"I am sure that my gender and marital status will come up in discussion of my qualifications for this call....and I can not change either. The one that I could change was not to be and I have learned to accept that with grace. On the other hand as a good friend has said.."I am just too damn tired of the excuse that the church "might not be ready" for a woman, a person of color, a GLBT person, somebody with brown eyes, somebody with a limp, pick your favorite discrimination.

Is anybody ready for the gospel? Do we think they were ready for Jesus 2000 years ago? Hell to the no.

When we make excuses, we expect far too little of God."

That statement would make me sit up, take notice and along with your more gentle qualities and adorable son reconsider any bias I may have because of your life situation.


mid-life rookie said...

Hey does any one but me find a resemblence between Will Smama and Kerri Walsh? Everytime I watch her move, I think of you and smile.

lorna (see throughfaith) said...

waiting on hearing that "Here's a spot for you!" too - isn't it horribly frustrating? Right now every door seems to be closed to me ... but trusting that God will open the right one inHIs time - but oh boy - I want His time to be in line with my time. (yeah I've got it the wrong way round - and for me maybe that IS the problem)

but loving you and huggin' you from afar sis.

and personally I think patience is over-rated. Yep. You heard it fom me :)

lorna (see throughfaith) said...

oh and I second what mid-life rookie wrote. Well said :)

Teri said...

Actually, what's funny is that I didn't see it, I was told it by other staff--they don't think the church is ready. I argued and argued and argued! They might be right, but I'm with Cheese--who is ready? Get over it and be the church, people.

I think we're working on it. The interim search committee is presenting a candidate tomorrow night, and then hopefully we'll be on our way. their preferred candidate is a woman who has potential to go a long way to opening some eyes or closing some hearts--I'm interested to be part of the ride. In the meantime, i have another friend who is a wonderful lesbian woman (also divorced) who would be an amazing pastor for this church, but same problem (except with the added part where my presbytery is slightly...umm...different from my congregation). GGRRRR. Sometimes I don't even like people.

okay, I'm going back to playing scrabble on facebook because it makes me mildly less angry about the state of the world. But WS, I'm praying for you and your call process! I hope it all turns out great even if God does take her own sweet time about it.

Identity Mixed said...

I think you should change your name to Bob. You might be surprised by the calls you get. I'm still convinced that everyone thought my hubby was a different nationality - Biblical first name with a name that sounds very Asian.

You never know..... Bob.

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

damn. right there with you.