Monday, March 15, 2010

Lenten Discipline 2010: Who 'Jacked My Lenten Discipline?

We have enrolled my daughter in a Roman Catholic school this year because to be blunt the public school system where we live sucks (can I say "sucks" in a pastoral blog? guess I just did) when it comes to students with special needs. It seems they consider her to be a normal functioning 5th grader, when in fact she functions more at a 3rd grade level. Suppose they didn't want her dragging their TAKS scores down (Don't even get me started on that brain fart called the TAKS test, that's a whole other rant). Anyway, She's going to this Roman Catholic School, where they celebrate school masses every Friday morning, and during Lent they do Stations of the Cross on Friday @ 2:30. School mass and Stations of the Cross, a perfect Lenten discipline I thought to myself. And God laughed.

You see, I've been on Facebook for, oh, maybe a year and a half. I got on it because the Dean of the San Antonio Conference (it's an ELCA thing), got the brilliant idea that it would be easier to communicate conference events and news via Facebook than regular e-mail. Okay, I'm a loyal, dutiful person and I get on Facebook. Pretty benign, until lately.

Throughout my life I have drifted across the paths of many people and have enjoyed their company for a time and then just kind of drifted off. I've really led kind of a disconnected existence. Well, God's Lenten project for me seems to be in re-establishing many of those old connections. And Facebook is the vehicle by which this is being accomplished.

Facebook which started out as a benign, professional endeavor has grabbed a bigger time share than I ever would have thought possible. Now I trade barbs and puns with my 18 year old niece whom I've only seen once in her life, but who now knows that her uncle is a certified loony. I now converse regularly with a gaggle of fraternity brothers most of whom I haven't seen since college graduation in 1982. While commenting on the relationship status of one of my colleagues, I began a running conversation with a person who turns out attended the same Cursillo weekend back in 1988 and was even a fellow table member. And as a result of that conversation I will be writing a piece of palanka (it's a 4th Day thing) for my internship supervisor's daughter, whom I may have met once, back in '87-'88. Then there's the seminary buddy turned homletics professor; and the first guy who ever came out to me who is now happily married to his husband (and the world didn't come to an end). It's like, who's next? The milkman who delivered our milk when we lived in Cincinnati back in the late '60's (yes, we did have a milkman!)?

It has been an awakening for me, to see that spider web of relationships that I have ignored for so long begin to take shape before me. And to just ride with it and let it happen. God may be messing with me via Facebook (not to mention this sudden urge to author a blog), but I'm sure enjoying the experience. And to think, I was willing to settle for a school mass and stations of the cross. Just goes to show God's ways are not our ways and God's thoughts not our thoughts...

I am the unlikely pastor. Welcome to my world.

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