I was in fourth, fifth, and sixth grades during the height of the Apollo Space program. I spent fourth and sixth grades at Carachipampa Christian School in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Those two years often blur together, so I’m not sure if our astronaut craze was during my fourth or my sixth school year. When ever it was, I was part of a group of boys destined to the moon. We would squeeze into eight pairs of pants and eight shirts since an astronaut’s space suit had eight layers (we always had trouble coming up with suitable helmets), and we would amble around the campus on our space missions. We would lay chairs on the floor in front of our large French dorm room windows and from our backs longingly peer into the starry night sky.
I’m not sure when it was I realized I did not have the math/science wiring in my brain required of an astronaut. Maybe it was the C in Algebra I in ninth grade. In my high school years, I really had little inkling of where I was headed. I just knew it wasn’t college.
Instead of college and instead of making a career decision upon graduation from high school, I chose to attend a two year Bible school and give myself two more years to make that life decision. It was there, not so much in a voice as in an inclination, that I felt the call to ministry (and with it eight more years of higher learning).
I often wonder why God called me into ministry. I really don’t have the temperament for it. Somewhere in the early years of ministry I was directed to Survival Tactics in the Parish by Lyle Schaller where I discovered the pastoral offices of prophet and priest. I am much more the prophet, by one accounting maybe 90% the prophet; so I’ve had to work hard at also being the priest.
What I do believe I have is a gift for teaching, and maybe that is why I have ended up full time in the classroom and “part time” in the parish. Whether in full time or part time ministry, I have only sought to be faithful to the call and to be part of fulfilling the office gifts Christ gave the church “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.”
“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” – Ephesians 4:12-16