In 1973 I first began pastoral ministry. Yes, I was a teenager.

I have often said it should never have been allowed, but God knew what to do. With a passion for the Bible, one year of Bible College and a huge supply of naivete I took a three-point charge. I knew I didn’t know, and the people there were kind enough to teach me. Some of the lessons really hurt (not because the people were mean, but because some lessons rip great chunks of us away in order to reveal the God-at-work part inside).

Without proper supervision I burned myself to a frazzle in less than two years. That, too, became a lesson which has still only partially sunk in through my thick skull. So I took time away to work in a bank and take university courses. In 1980 I returned (married now), in a different denomination, though.

My family 20 years ago

My family 20 years ago

As of August 1, 2013 I retired from being clergy (a bit of irony since politics had kept me out for years already). No, I am not old enough to retire. It was just time to give up hoping to go back.

So I work in a secular field in security. It’s fun (with a bit of irony, protecting stuff and property when I have never really cared about such things).

Last Sunday I preached in a congregation I served over 16 years ago. I haven’t preached in two years (the house church we belong to doesn’t have sermons, but uses a discussion/study model). On the way home I said to Margaret that I don’t think I will do it again. I love the people and going back, but being out of the flow of that kind of thing took a toll on me. I even took notes into the pulpit – and had to use them once!

Besides, through writing and living I can spread Good News of radical love for Jesus alone, living faithfully instead of religiously, and no one can take my ministry away anymore, right? No religious tribunal can make another hop into kangaroo court and deprive me of another half million dollars (Canadian 🙂 ).

ROM828I am convinced that what I do is God’s Plan B for me, because Plan A was thwarted by religious authority. Yet I’m okay with that. I would rather be in God’s Plan Z than the devil’s Plan A! I would rather live in peace with God than at peace with worldly power.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, keep your thoughts on whatever is right or deserves praise: things that are true, honorable, fair, pure, acceptable, or commendable. Practice what you’ve learned and received from me, what you heard and saw me do. Then the God who gives this peace will be with you. The Lord has filled me with joy because you again showed interest in me. You were interested but did not have an opportunity to show it. I’m not saying this because I’m in any need. I’ve learned to be content in whatever situation I’m in. I know how to live in poverty or prosperity. No matter what the situation, I’ve learned the secret of how to live when I’m full or when I’m hungry, when I have too much or when I have too little. I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me. Nevertheless, it was kind of you to share my troubles” (Philippians  4:8-14 God’s Word).