Wednesday, May 28, 2014

About Time . . . Or Not

I've wanted to write a post about "Time" for months. Alas, too many projects and too little time. So much time has passed that I don't remember the original purpose of the topic so I'll just wander a bit.

My ego is attracted to hopeless causes that eat up my time. It's easy to get bogged down with the noise of other people's priorities and hard to hear the quiet inner voice of my heart. Gary calls me a "cause-a-holic." Ouch, the truth hurts.

My latest cause involves a worshiping community where Gary and I grew up, Mt. Tabor Presbyterian Church. It was a safe and supportive place to connect with peers when we were young, but we both left the confines of their narrow religious views in our twenties thinking we would never return.

Two years ago we discovered new life in the beautiful, historic Mt. Tabor Church building in the form of a community coffee shop/event venue called TaborSpace and a new Sunday morning conversational coffee house service led by a progressive female pastor. We couldn't believe such forward thinking could happen in the church of our youth where women were not allowed to serve on the governing board and male pastors held tightly to dogma. The welcoming community of wounded Christians, ex-catholics, soul searchers, Buddhists, and even an atheist or two became our spiritual home.

Too good to be true. The tiny group of old guard who still worship in a traditional sanctuary service, decided they needed to bring in a male pastor to reign in the progressives and put a "Christian" stamp on TaborSpace. They chose an evangelical no less. It wasn't long before conflicts between the pastors and the two worshiping communities began to flourish. One of the big issues - how to pay for two pastors when many of us were happy with one.

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for a traditional service of poetic liturgy combined with heart touching music and art in a beautiful setting (I can only dream). I also love many of the older folks I've known since I was a child and give them credit for keeping the doors open in spite of a dwindling congregation.

So what is the cause that consumed me? I volunteered to chair a budget/mission task force set up to look at all income and expense categories in an effort to balance the budget. After eight weeks of effort by our amazing five person team, we presented a not too pretty picture to the governing board last night. We told them, "WE CAN'T AFFORD TWO PASTORS!" as diplomatically as we could with the two pastors sitting at the table.

Why is it hopeless? Our 45 page report will fall on deaf ears. Magical thinking and politics rule. Maybe I'm just tired and discouraged after eight weeks of sleepless nights. At least I've done my best.

On to the next hopeless cause or maybe this time I could listen to my heart.

So back to "Time." I remember now why the topic appealed to me. In the midst of the chaos of these past months, I realized the only dependable clock in our house is one inherited from my no nonsense grandmother. The anniversary clock on the piano spins back and forth at it's own pace regardless of time; my mother's Westminster mantle clock has been stuck at 10:00 for years; the clock on the microwave switches itself off and then flashes a "set clock" message, the 1970s pre-digital oven clock rolls over to a new minute every few days; the atomic alarm clock in the bedroom ticks to a random celestial drummer.

Are these broken clocks sending me a message? What is the meaning of time?

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