Sanity: The Ongoing Quest

Sanity: The Ongoing Quest January 10, 2006

One question I get asked all the time: “Just how do you do it?”

Usually that question is followed by sympathetic (or empathetic, as the case may be) comments about pastoring and mothering and schedules and making dinner and soccer practice and any number of other stressful things.


As you know if you’ve read my blog, one of the ways I maintain this tenuous state I like to refer to as sanity is with the help of my most wonderful, competent, delightful, gorgeous and qualified staff members (I hope they read this). Feel free to email them to find out how wonderful, competent, delightful, gorgeous and qualified their boss is.

But I digress.

Another critical spoke in my rickety wheel of sanity is made up of my pastor buddies who meet me every Tuesday afternoon at Starbucks for “lectionary study”–also known as crying on each other’s shoulders, complaining about prominent religious figures in the media and recommending great movies to see Friday night.

Of course, as you’d expect in such an elite group, the primary make-up of our discussions involves the many-layered meanings of obscure Greek words, the best commentaries on Leviticus and the many, many accolades each of us received for our riveting sermons the Sunday before. It’s only very, very rarely that we get to the end of our meeting and someone says something like: “So, what were the lectionary passages for this week again?” (Back me up here, Donna and Jim).

I feel like I’ve won the lottery by finding such warm, generous, loving and faithful colleagues to help me along this path of faith.

See, they would never tell you this, so I will: Jim and Donna are superstar pastors. In each of their cases this means that they both are very, very good at what they do (pastoring First Baptist Church of Washington, DC and Mt. Vernon Place United Methodist Church, respectively)–both of them enthusiastic for the challenges of downtown church revitalization and each really, really sold on the belief that God is in all of this craziness somewhere.

You should also know that both Jim and Donna are sought after preachers, speakers and writers, and I have to tell you, if I were clinging to life in the emergency room I personally would want them there praying with me.

So in my quest for sanity and the occasional stab at excellence I am thinking it’s a smart thing to hang out with superstars like Jim and Donna.

You know the saying, “Fake it until you make it”? That’s what I’m trying to do.

I figure that maybe just a little bit of their commitment, compassion and creativity will rub off on me . . . and, at the very least, my weekly meetings with them legitimize liberal sprinkling of conversations with prefaces like, “Well, as my good friend Jim Somerville always says . . . ” or “Last week when my friend and colleague Donna Claycomb was flying on a private jet with Mario Cuomo, . . . “

I guess the bottom line is that we should all seek out people, companions for this adventure of life and faith, who spur us on, pick us up when we fall, lead us to interesting places and sit with us through the pain. I am grateful for you both, Jim and Donna.

Now, could you get me those sermons you promised to share?

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