"All words are symbols that represent unspeakable realities. Which is also why words are magical." (Donald Miller tweet)

Monday, May 26, 2014

on the phone

The land line rang at my church the other day. I had to pause and consider what the sound was - most people just text or Facebook me. The day before, the land line had rung twice, but they hung up. From two different numbers, no less.

"Good morning, Crossfire, Patti speaking," I said, prepared to decline whatever this telemarketer might be selling.

"Hi," was the firm response.

"Hi..." I said. You'd be surprised how many phone calls start this way.

And then he burst out, strongly, "I'd like to talk about the issue of women in ministry."

Siiiiiigh.

No one ever opens with that line, in order to encourage you and tell you how glad they are that you are the fabulous (albeit female) pastor of such a great church.

Also, I've learned over the years that I'm not actually obligated to have those conversations with strangers who call in the middle of the day. Took me awhile to learn that.

Did I tell you that once, long ago, a lady called, asking to speak to the pastor?
That was when I was an assistant pastor, in Toronto.
The boss wasn't there - only me.

"I'm one of the pastors, can I help you?"
She sputtered and gasped, "I ... you ... I ... but I don't BELIEVE in women pastors!"

Honestly I came this close to answering drily, "... and yet I exist, despite that."

But I didn't.

And I didn't suggest that people should clap their hands if they believe I exist either,
in the tradition of Tinkerbell.

I thought it was commendable that I did neither of those things that day.

Anyway. On this day last week, I rolled my eyes, made my voice a little tougher. Hadn't had one of these calls in quite awhile. "Who am I talking to?"

He burst out laughing. "It's Jamie."

One of my pastor friends from long ago. Still a pot-stirrer, obviously.

I laughed. "I would have won, you know."

"It was just one of those instant things, one of those moments," he said, still chuckling. "Like the Spirit was leading me."

"It wasn't the Spirit," I told him.

"I'm going to end up in a blog post, aren't I," he mused.

"Yep," I said. "You are."

And he did.

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