The Poet as Minor Pastor
I wanted to be a pastor. Seventeen years old, word-loving, soul-loving. It seemed the thing. So I declared a Bible major.
That was before I considered what it would take, where the openings would be. Before I sat in classes as a woman among men. It occurred to me one day... this might be an uphill journey I wasn't willing to take.
So I declared an English major.
It was a good decision. I don't say this to make a statement about women in the ministry. I say this because I truly believe I've found my sweet spot, as a prose-poet... and even... dare I claim it... as a poet-poet.
In The Pastor As Minor Poet, M. Craig Barnes suggests the image of pastor as poet...
"Someone has to teach the people how to dream."
"It takes a poet to find that presence beneath the layers of strategy for coping with the feeling of its absence."
"The minor poet knows these people. He or she knows the unique struggles, confusions, and yearnings they carry around in their hearts because they are perceived not as people in general but as the collection of individuals who have made their way into the heart of the pastor."
At one point he quotes Barbara Brown Taylor, who says, "The parts of the Christian story that had drawn me into the Church were not the believing parts but the beholding parts." And I found myself scribbling in the margin... my job, then, is first to see, then to describe and say, 'Behold.'
It was in that moment that I thought... I am reading a book about being a pastor-poet. Why does this stir so deeply? Is it not because I am the inverse? I am the poet as minor pastor. And it is exactly who I want to be.
a while in the red
rocker, tell your
cares to me. Day
is still young, wisteria
hangs purple from the
wainscot porch roof,
dew poised on its turning
leaf. Drink a shivering
glass of sweet tea, suck
lemon on your way
to settled sugar endings.
Rock your cares into
my floorboards. Come,
rest a while with me.
Poetry prompt: let's go out to the porch (or the deck, or the yard if you don't have a porch... or, maybe you write about a porch from the past or the one you dream of having). Please post your offering by Thursday, August 20, for possible feature and definite links at High Calling Blogs. Leave your link here in the comment box so I don't miss you (I'm a little busy these days and I do miss things.)
Pastor as Minor Poet photo, by L.L. Barkat. Thanks Scot, for bringing me to this beautiful book.
Thanks to Wendy for this lovely review... "I don't think I could have chosen a more appropriate book to begin with during my reading time at camp. Stone Crossings: Finding Grace in Hard and Hidden Places, by L.L. Barkat, was a breath of fresh air to my soul..." continue reading
Monica’s Shoe Rack
Joelle’s Asphalt Halls
A Simple Country Girl’s Hall
Lance’s Altered Jesus
Liz’s The Hallway
Yvette’s Dark and Dank
Amber’s A Hall Gathering
nAncY’s The Hall
Jim’s Sanctuary of Nothing
Ann’s Read the Writing on the Wall
Deb’s Great Hall Presents
Emily's Hall Hell Redemption
Laura's Down the Hall
Wendy's At the Corner of Now and Then