In 2001, Diane and I moved to Glenwood to answer the call of incarnational ministry, because we believed strongly in living among the people that we wanted to love and reach out to. Then, a year and half ago, I began working for our church, which is 3 blocks away from our house - the commute is amazing! I was given the role of Director of Outreach, which seemed like such a good fit - I was already reaching out in the neighborhood and loved the poor, and so now I could just extend those into my work week. I would be working with our Wednesday dinners for the homeless, helping handle calls for financial assistance, and working with our outreaches to youth in Glenwood. Last week I realized how that sometimes is more than I bargained for, more than I really want. On the good days, I am glad to be seen as "the pastor" on Silver Avenue, and I welcome the opportunities to extend church ministry at the home and vice versa. I love the chances we have to hang out with the youth if they come to our home.
On other days, I wish there were more separation. It's hard for me each day when I pass one of the women who was asked to leave our winter shelter (along with her daughter), seeing them living in a rooming house infested with drugs. It's hard to see some of the men and women who come to the dinner, knowing that they are barely making rent or living in a home without water or lights. Our wonderful housemate and friend Suzanne, who hangs out with our kids, eats dinners with us from time to time, and is also our teammate on the Glenwood ministry team, also reports to me as her supervisor at church.
And so it hit me that my life sort of all runs together, and it sometimes is more wearying than satisfying. I wonder if it might help to have a different role at the church so that my work role was a little different than my neighbor role. Or perhaps I just need to be content to live in the tension. Stay tuned.