As I said in the first post, I am working on a paper as a part of my ordination process. I like papers. I haven’t always. In fact, it took a conversation and a graded essay from Dr. Timothy Boddie, then English professor at Hampton University, before I started to like writing. Dr. Boddie told me something simple but life-changing. He said–and this isn’t spectacular literally–that I was a good writer.
I couldn’t take his words too far. It was my first semester. I had many more essays to write. He knew that. He knew that he was first complimenting or commenting on the work in front of him. He was speaking more to potential than to evidence. But. That conversation changed the way I look at myself and at writing. Suddenly it was something I could do. Writing was something I was maybe even good at.
I’ve written a few papers since that conversation as a freshman at Hampton. As I look at this essay for my ordination, I’m thinking, “I’ve done this before.” I’ve done it in seminary and other places. So I look forward to pulling thoughts down next week into some form.
It’ll give me another chance to articulate what I think, why I think it, and how it looks in the context of a church setting. I’m not working in the academy but in a congregation. In the congregation, everything a pastor does–not quite everything–should has some meaning, significance, or relevance to the mission of that church. Knowing for the sake of knowing, producing knowledge alone, doesn’t work. Knowledge ties to doing and being. So I’m looking forward to those paragraphs between next week and the September 1 deadline.
If you had to summarize what you believe–about faith, about life, about love, about anything that matters–how would you start? What stories would you tell? Who would be the indispensable characters in those stories?