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The Preacher's Husband

notes from a clergy-hubby

Still in the mode of self-discovery...

If you’re a regular reader, then I apologize for the lull in recent posts here. There are two reasons for this:

  1. I’ve had such a lot to say on my “The life-charged life” blog there just hasn’t been time to post over here
  2. Sometimes I’m not sure that there should be two separate blogs. My “The life-charged life” is the life of a preacher’s husband. There’s no distinction, so where do I post?

And that is – essentially – the point of today’s entry. Being “The Preacher’s Husband” is not a role I either can or should slip in and out of like my “Sunday best”. When I wake up in the morning and my feet hit the floor on my side of the bed I don’t reach out and chose a persona; it’s not “Which hat am I going to be wearing today?” I already know who I am (once my head clears), and it goes something like this:

  • Child of God – loved, redeemed, set free
  • Follower of the Way of Jesus – it’s how I am responding to the fact that I am a child of God
  • Husband and father – privileged and responsible
  • Writer – this is my calling; this is how I share the Good News of transforming love and healing grace
  • Citizen of the World – it is a gift of wonder as well as a constant challenge
  • American – to whom much is given, much is expected
  • Member of the local church where Rebekah and I serve…

All of these points of identity (and a dozen others, I’m sure) are constantly at work both above and below the surface of my consciousness. My identity impacts my behavior. And, at the same time, my behavior from day to day reveals a lot of the truth about “who I really am.”

Spiritual Gifts: At our church – First Presbyterian of Brandon, Florida, where Rebekah serves as senior pastor – we encourage members to take a standardized “Spiritual Gift Inventory” on a regular basis. The survey is not a one-time thing, our giftedness really does shift and clarify over time.

So I went through the exercise a couple of weeks ago. I was surprised at a few of the areas where I scored higher than in times past. Then I was interested to see that I only scored low (tragically low!) in two domains.

  • The first low score was in the “fix it” department. Evidently it’s not a great idea to ask me to participate in church workdays where any skill with tools is necessary! No surprise there. I’ve never been mechanically inclined and we have long since established at my house that it’s cheaper to call a plumber, electrician, appliance repair profession etc. than to let me loose. ‘Nuff said.
  • My other low score (tragically low) was in the area defined as “MERCY.” Mercy has to do with things like working the soup kitchen, visiting people who are sick or in prison, delivering Meals-on-Wheels etc.

My first response was one of embarrassment. But then a friend told me it’s not the best thing to attempt to pro-rate our giftedness, as if some gifts and skills are better than others. I’m awesome in some areas. Other people are amazing where I’m not. It’s Okay.

So maybe it doesn’t sound all “preacher-spouse-ish” of me to be so low in mercy. But I can’t be all things to all people, that’s never a strong move. And aren’t I the guy who’s always saying I haven’t been called to be a clergy-hubby to prop up anyone’s cultural stereotype?

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.” (1 Corinthians 12: 4-6)

Continue to call each one of us, Lord, and help us to embrace the gifts you’ve shared with us. Melt us, mold us, fill us – and then use us. Amen


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