Let me see. What can I say about this one of my personalities? Which one is it again? Oh, yes, the respectable one. Hmmm. There’ll be so much to leave out. Oh, yeah, this is me with my winter hirsuit on.
I am a second career minister who had been serving a church in Schenectady, NY. My first career of 25 years was as an optician and a greedy, unscrupulous businessperson. Yes, well, thank you but I am feeling much better now. After the battle between my relentless need to accumulate and my conscience reached the point where there was nothing left to do but fall down and curl up into a ball, I walked away from the rat race and became poor and happy.
After a few years making reproduction furniture for food and pocket change, along with the other usual and customary life changes that accompany a mid-life crisis, I entered the seminary in 2001. I signed on with God for the ride of my life, and I’ve never looked back. I spent the first2 years with the remarkable faculty at Methodist Theological School in Ohio and the last two with the incredible professors at United Theological Seminary in the Twin Cities. In between, I had the good fortune to refine my Hebrew with the celebrated Janet Tollington and learn my Greek from the distinguished John Proctor of Westminster College at University of Cambridge in England.
Yes, I am a Biblical language geek. Don’t laugh, nobody’s perfect.
I am a recovering addict – been clean for 24 years – and now it appears I have Bipolar II Disorder, which may have cost me my pastorate. For years I thought I was just functionally insane and a really depressing person, but now I know I may need to be medicated differently. More common than we really know, I’ve found out. I have also been addicted to power, profit and prestige – that one was tougher to overcome. Some of the most heinous things I had to recover from are my ingrained biases. I am still working to overcome my learned racism, sexism, heterosexism (actually, I was truly homophobic), able-ism and age-ism. Yes, but I liked anybody who was just like me – well most, some, okay a few. Fear of difference is just great, isn’t it? Makes you so loveable – not to mention unGodly.I was a walking bigot – that is until God got hold of me.
Rather than just believe what other people told me the Bible said, which I had done all my life, I actually learned to study the original languages myself . And what do you know? That part about being made in the “image of God” – well, that message flows through all scripture. It is especially true of the Laws of Moses (10 commandments) and the prophets, which were the scriptures that Jesus held dear. Realizing that I am not the judge of who is and isn’t a Child of God has been the most freeing thing that has ever happened to me.
So that’s where I am now – looking for the face of Christ in every face I see and striving to embrace all, even those that are as unloveable as I once was. Praise God, from whom all blessings flow.