It is amazing what happens when a pastor is free from the demands of a congregation.
In the past couple of weeks I have had meaningful conversations with a local politician, a rabbi, a union organizer, and variety of parents at play grounds. I have had the privilege of sitting with pastors and hearing about their struggles with the direction of their careers and pressures on their families. I have listened to an executive director as he struggles with how to tackle poverty in our city. I find my self listening to my family in a whole new way. Suddenly the meaningful conversations that I often yearned for working in a parish seem to just flow naturally in the midst of everyday life and looking for a job.
What I also find interesting is how much easier it is to experience grace. There is time to just be and receive the joy of the moment. There is time to reflect on one’s soul in the midst of life’s struggles. When you don’t know what is coming next, there is space to just trust and enjoy God. When you are open to possibilities, invitations to share what you have learned seem to open up. Interestingly I have also been noticing how many more people smile at me.
Of course there is a lot of meaningful things that happen in and through congregations. I am just amazed at how, when a pastor is freed from the demands of a congregation, there is actual space to be a pastor to a larger community.