Am I doomed to the outside?

I was up at George Fox Seminary for my weekly Pastoral Counseling class and I started to think about the way I come across, how I communicate - how my sisters and brothers in Christ view me.

At the Seminary, I might be something of a novelty. Maybe "the cute little Emergent guy." I don't know, and I don't say it with any malice or discontent: I've made this bed...

I was talking to an acquaintance from a prior class - a big Texan, about my age, currently a youth pastor in Portland. He asked, "Commit any heresies lately?"

I replied, "I can't seem to avoid it these days." We laughed and headed for our respective classes.

But I got to obsessing over my particular calling and path in ministry. I wonder if there's a reason the Lord hasn't released me from my current employement (as much as I've prayed and kept my eyes open for paid ministry opportunties) and why he keeps blessing me professionally while clearly calling me to Seminary and ministry.

Yes, Paul was a tentmaker, and that's probably my lot in life because I can't imagine a church that would be comfortable having me on staff. More and more, however, I'm starting to worry if there are many churches that would put me into leadership (aside from my current one... well, maybe that's my answer) knowing how "rebellious" and "impertinent" I can be.

I love the church. I'll say it again: I LOVE THE CHURCH. I'm passionate about her. I know how silly it sounds to say, but I cry over the church - her sordid, sorry state. And even that sounds arrogant, as if I'm not sorry, sordid and spoiled, myself.

I don't know what my specific calling is. I think it sounds prideful to suggest I'm a "reformer," but maybe that's just a nice way of saying I'm a Devil's Advocate. It's scary. I worry that I'll find myself on "the outside" for much of my life if God continues to lead this way. And for an affirmation-craving people-pleaser, "the outside" is a terrifying place to remain.

read more about my thoughts on Christianity in the real world at


J. Pete Strobel said...

I am absolutely convinced that there is a place for you: a pastoral position, somewhere at sometime, and maybe soon. But be willing to go on God's timing and with God's conditions. Don't fret the money: you aren't doing it for the money. Don't fret the fact that whatever you want it to be it won't be. It just won't be what you imagine, because you can't possible imagine each unique individual you'll meet and have the blessing to serve and be served by. You will be loved in ways that will make you shake your head knowing you aren't deserving. And you will be frustrated and annoyed all the time. But you'll be with REAL people, REAL disciples: and it will be messy, crazy, exhausting, confusing, scary, exciting and edifying all at once.

Hope you're rocking the GFU campus in ways that redeem...


2Pete said...

Pete (the other Pete),
Thank you. You're such a blessing to me. I miss our deep and engaging conversations. I hope the Lord has more opportunities in store for us to meet together and fellowship.

Pam Hogeweide said...

no, you're not a reformer.

you're one of those lovely revolutionaries who rides the waves in the undercurrents of evangelicalism. surf on, dude...

Pam Hogeweide said...

that's meant to be a compliment, btw, in case a surfing metaphor is negative to you...:-)

2Pete said...

No, I took it as a compliment :) I WISH I was cool enough to be a surfer. Alas, the Oregon waters make my toes curl just thinking about them. I tried it (surfing) once in Pacific City and almost cried.

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