Cautiously Optimistic

The end of my adult degree program looms. I’ve got a huge paper to write – the capstone project, which is bullshit, but which I’ll knock something together that will pass. COVID19 forced all classes to go completely on line, which makes things a bit easier – it’s more obvious that any token participation is good enough – but eliminates the human interactions which made things more interesting. On some level, it’s always been a token degree for me – I just need a Bachelors to tick a box so I can go to seminary. I’m sure I’ll use some of what I was obligated to learn in some way, but the overwhelming majority of it is twaddle that will never matter to me. A lot of it is twaddle that I wish didn’t matter to anyone, but I don’t get to decide the conditions that many people will squander their precious lives under.

I was planning on going straight from one college to the next – finishing the Bachelors in August and immediately starting seminary. That ain’t happening. Eighteen months of working more than full-time and being a college student, on top of simply living in the current collapse of what passed for western civilization, has begun to be tiring. I need some time to just relax and maybe cut down to forty hours a week. At this exact moment, I’m unemployed – I interviewed at an agency where I’d be doing peer support, working with crazy alcoholics and traumatized addicts, my kind of people. I’m immensely qualified and have a raft of references, but those things don’t always matter. They’re taking their dang time with the process, which creates an opportunity for me to get impatient and stressed. I’m trying not to take the bait. I was qualified for this job four months ago, when they weren’t hiring, and I was provided with an opportunity to work at the shelter, which gave me an income as well as more experience working with the population I want to serve. If I somehow don’t get this peer support job, I’ve no doubt it’s because God has something else lined up.

I gotta remember to tell the candidacy committee I’ma take a break from education. Hopefully, I’ll still get to meet with the committee in August to get the official green light on my road to ministry, a thing which should’ve happened by now, but the pandemic got in the way. I also gotta figure out what seminary I’m going to and get those ducks in a row. Of course, seminaries gotta figure out how they’re going to handle the new reality. And there’s the whole thing of riots and armed militias in the streets, the destruction of democracy from the top, and what may be a much needed re-structuring of the whole American experiment. It’s kinda impossible to really plan ahead.

I’m finally getting internet at the house. The guy is coming today to hook things up and get it going. I expect I’ll be doing more of this thing when I can just post stuff from the comfort of my red sofa. Prob’ly spend more time looking at gifs of cats and whatever other uselessness the internet has to offer. But it has to be done. Access is important.

And I am quite cautiously optimistic about the moment we’re currently struggling through. The possibility exists that things could improve, that we could come out the other side of this shitstorm and find ourselves living a more just, less overtly racist, society. A bunch of unnecessary dumbness will occur, and a lot of people will get hurt, but that’s hardly a change. Most of the revisionist history I’m hearing on the radio is as wrong as the old status quo, but occasionally somebody points out that history is a lot more complicated than it’s usually presented, and the end result will be more egalitarian. (Example: during the recent Juneteenth jubilee, I heard an African-American woman on NPR acknowledge that the Emancipation Proclamation did not free all the slaves, that the slaves freed in Texas on 19 June, 1863, which has been commemorated as Juneteenth, were not the last people held in chattel slavery in USA, that the last slave states were not part of the Confederacy, all historically verifiable truths which complicate the narrative. I’m waiting for someone to realize that the Union generals who defeated the evil, racist South then went west to lead the genocide of Native Americans.)

I got NPR on right now. There’s a story coming up about how white evangelicals in America corrupted Christianity. Damn straight. The message of Christ is so polluted and twisted in this country, it’s no wonder so many people of conscience believe His church can’t be redeemed. I used to be one of those. Now I see that Christ’s church just can’t be redeemed by people. He is certainly capable of pulling His church out of the ditch.

How will I be part of that? I’m called to minister to the poor, marginalized, crazy, chemically dependent and unattractive. I’ll do that, in whatever capacity He assigns to me.

p.s. Later, after I got the internet hooked up, I got an email informing that the selection committee found a better candidate for the job I was after. So that’s a kick in the teeth. I remain cautiously optimistic. God has something for me.


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