Definitely interested

In Jeremiah it is clear that the excellence comes from a life of faith, from being more interested in God than in self, and has almost nothing to do with comfort or esteem or achievement. —Eugene Peterson, Run With the Horses

I made this for myself over a year ago, well before I began my latest educational adventure. The way my fall term is shaping up, the quote is prescient: I am four weeks in and am bewildered at the way ‘things’ are going. I’m uncomfortable, ‘quite sunk in my own esteem’ (as the English Regency phrase goes), and given the way I’m (not) doing my homework, any achievement that occurs will be more to God’s credit than to my scholastic efforts and known best practices.

I’m pretty cocky when it comes to school. But this is beyond any reasonable person’s hope.

It’s hard to keep reminding myself that right now Doing School (and its achievements) is beside God’s and my point. Writing seems to be the point. <nods firmly> That’s going.

I’m not prodding myself toward any grand concepts or overarching projects, but daily blogging is getting ever more rhythmic. And I’m not opposed to grandness if it decides to show up. As a matter of fact, I still have my book/class draft percolating in the back of my head, waiting for the right heft-y and depth-y parts to show up… in one of my seminary classes.

 

Here’s something I find odd and interesting: in the past few weeks I’ve gotten multiple kudos for my teaching skills. Like flowers picked from the side of the road: here you go; you are a very good teacher. If I’ve ever given my teaching skills much thought, it was years ago… now they’re as invisible to me as my brown eyes. In the wake of these offerings, then, a snippet from the podcast I finished listening to last night caught in my ear: the thing that’s incredibly easy for you is the thing that you should share with the world—and in their entrepreneurial context, for your higher fee. It’s linked in a subterranean way to the beloved Frederick Buechner quote, I think: “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

As my B recently commented, mentoring—teaching—is something I do all the time, without noticing. Sort of like writing the poems when they arrive, only my teaching is more body-skill than inspiration-driven. Still and all… my teaching gifts currently are a firehose without a fire to point them at.

 

Oh yes, God. Oh, I’m interested.
I’d be more interested in myself if I didn’t know I have no clue, but as it is I can only walk the few steps you, God, have revealed…
building the bridge in thin air below me.

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