Virgin Voyage Into the Blogosphere
I'm not sure how to christen properly this virgin voyage into the blogosphere, except to say that I've been noodling for some time now on entering the communal discourse that a blog affords.
I am presently emerging from a complex pastoral experience that defies easy interpretation, and requires the input of my larger community to make sense.
I recently resigned the senior pastoral position at Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio, a big-steeple fellowship in the rigors of a congregational culture change at the heart of our 8th largest American city.
Five years ago, I followed a noted minister of 42 years in this pulpit, and faced all the dangers that such a transition entails. It is an axiom of church life that ministers of such lifelong tenures simply do not let go of their pastoral position and platform, and that such leadership transitions on the whole are difficult, at best.
In the technical parlance of our field, the succeeding minister in such a situation is called an "unintentional interim." There was no misunderstanding of this challenge coming in. We waded in, eyes wide open.
That alone, would have been daunting enough. But, there is more.
Trinity was an almost exclusively Anglo congregation in at the heart of a city of more than 700,000 Latinos. For years, she had been in numerical decline, as young, middle class families moved further and further out into the suburban regions of our city. Even a casual observer of the demographic context would have concluded that, in order to maintain a dynamic ministry in San Antonio, Trinity had to move from a monocultural to a multicultural constituency. That is, we had to become a family of faith that looked like God's great family at large in San Antonio: brown and black as well as white, class inclusive as well as affluent, interdenominational as well as Baptist. In short, just as all the major freeways in San Antonio converged at our church's physical location, so all the defining and difficult demographic indicators in American social life came to bear on our church's spiritual self-identity.
In the great cosmic Kitchen of the Lord, God pitched us off in the middle of big diverse metropolitan melting pot.
And then proceeded to stir the stew.
It is this concoction of vulnerability and possibility that I want to publicly digest in this space over the coming months.
I look forward to your input.