July 14, 2008
Being a single girl I am wont to seek out or be given advice about finding someone to marry. This usually comes in the form of books, articles, blogs, and the occasional sermon. When this is coming from a Christian source a nearly universal point is this: Soul mates don’t exist so stop looking for one. God did not create one special person for you. Get real about what truly matters, and butterfly feelings are not it. Are you at the same stage in life, do you have the same priorities, do both want children? Those are the questions that matter. Things that you’ll have to ask to find out, not receive in a lightning bolt of harp music revelation. And Vance takes it one step further. He says that Americans (westerners) think that the key to a successful marriage is compatibility (hey aren’t there 40 dimensions of that or something?) when really it is commitment. That’s why arranged marriages can work, because love can grow out of strong commitment.
But these Christians aren’t taking their own advice when comes to hiring staff and selecting leaders. They are looking for their soul-pastor. The one who can say that god directed there life’s journey right to this moment and this church. The one who felt a calling from age… well the earlier the better. And then they have the compatibility check. You need 3 years of experience, killer guitar playing ability, and super organizational skills. Don’t get me wrong these things are not unimportant, just not most important. The most important thing is commitment.
A few weeks ago I applied for the youth director position at Saint Paul’s (In the UMC we call them that not “pastor” unless they are ordained. And I would have said soul-director but the pun just was not as good.) Here’s what I want them to know.
Dear Saint Paul’s UMC, I can’t tell you that I have always wanted to be a youth director, or that working with youth is my life’s passion. The fact is that I even made some unwise decisions that lead me to a time now when I need a job. We seem compatable but other people may look more so, I can’t help that. But here’s what I can offer: my love (I love you already, you are my church,) my respect, my faithfulness, and most of all my commitment. So Saint Paul’s, will you hire me?