No, I’m kidding. Don’t call me that.
But it’s true, I am an elder now. I answered the questions correctly – “yes, with God helping me”, so they let me in. I had my feet washed by the pastor (a nice touch, I might add, though I wish I could have washed HIS feet too). I knelt on the floor, the current elders prayed for me, and I was commissioned.
If you think that makes me old and wise and beyond reproach and spiritually mature, then you would be WRONG on all counts. I’m none of those things. I’m weak and foolish and I have a faltering faith. I gossip too much, I’m slothful, I’m impatient, I struggle with arrogance… I have a long list of undesirable qualities that I won’t expound on in too much detail, lest you think less of me (yes, I’m insecure and proud too.) But despite all these things, for reasons I’m not sure I understand, people in our church seem to think I have the right giftedness to serve them as elder. I hope they’re right.
You could say that, for the most part, I’m working out my faith with “fear and trembling”. I don’t have very many answers – in fact I have way less now than I used to. The older I get (or should I say the “elder” I get :-), the more the questions outnumber the answers.
My friend Jo said this “I’m glad you’re an elder because I know that you understand people like me, people who have trouble with faith.” It is for people like Jo that I will be faithful as an elder. For that reason, it was worth accepting the challenge, as much as it still gnaws at my belly somewhat. As much as I can, I will continue to offer a safe place for people with questions. I will try to reserve judgement, and have an open mind and an open heart. I will try to serve in a way that honours people and honours God (or at least the God of my understanding – that’s the best I can offer, because my understanding is limited).
Don’t come to me for wise answers. But if you have wise questions, I’d be happy to listen.