3/18/2007

The Ordination of a Complete Idiot

Back in December, I wrote an article for the upcoming Interlinc music magazine. Just a few short months later and it's in print. There's no online edition of the magazine -- but here is the entire article as I submitted it. (The one in the magazine is a little edited -- but it carries the same message.)

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The Ordination of a Complete Idiot
Written by Kirk Moore

May 1991.
I had recently left my job selling radio advertising. (OK, I left voluntarily, but I needed to be fired. However, that is a different story of me acting like a complete idiot.) One part of me was really looking forward to a new career doing . . . something else. Another part of me was thinking about a conversation I’d had with the pastor at my church a year earlier:
"I love being the youth minister here." (I’d started, with my wife, as youth minister at our church when it looked like nobody else was going to do it. I’d continued, joyfully, when my wife stepped aside while she was pregnant with our first child.) "How would I go about doing this for a living?" My pastor responded, "I suggest you take your family and move to Kentucky and enroll in seminary."
At that point the conversation had been over. I wasn’t about to pick up the family, quit my job and move to another state to go to school again. I never mentioned the conversation to my wife.
But now I was thinking about that suggestion again. This time, however, I was thinking about attending a seminary that was very close to home. I thought the situation would work. But I did still need some kind of a job. I investigated what I needed to do to enroll in seminary and I also applied for a job at a local school bus company. "I’m sure this is the right direction." I remember myself thinking. "Everything is going to work out perfectly."
I’d forgotten something extraordinarily important. I’d never talked to my wife about any of this. I called her and told her that I’d gotten a job as a bus driver and that I thought I should enroll in seminary.
And I was amazed that she didn’t start jumping for joy at my decision.
It wasn’t until at least a year later that I realized and owned up to the fact that I had been a complete idiot.
What? How can enrolling in seminary and pursuing the path to ordination be the path of a complete idiot?
It was the parts I omitted. I’d never talked to my wife about considering becoming a minister. I’d gotten a job in a field that was too different from the one I had before. ("My husband used to work for a radio station. Now he drives a school bus.") And instead of talking with my wife about wanting to enroll in seminary I just told her.
I don’t think I was operating with the "man makes the decisions" mentality – at least not consciously. I simply thought that whatever I did, the people around me would agree with it. I thought that deciding to go into vocational ministry automatically got the approval of everyone! I did, essentially, make one of our lives most important decisions without talking about it with my wife.
Why does that make me a complete idiot? It makes me a complete idiot because I am not the boss of my partner. I am not the one who decides alone what our life is going to be like. We share equally in our relationship and we make decisions together. In this case, I made a huge mistake. The mistake wasn’t in pursuing ministry as a career. The mistake was in how I started pursuing it.
We did eventually recover from my mistake. There were a rough two years followed by continued healing and strengthening of our relationship. I’ve been an ordained pastor for 10 years, and we’ve been happily married for almost 20 years. We’ve even got three wonderful children!
Making the mistake, learning from it, and having a stronger relationship with my wife through it, because of it or in spite of it doesn’t mean that we have it all figured out. We still have issues that come up in our marriage. We still have times we disagree about big decisions. But we talk about those struggles and share openly about the things we want. Sometimes we realize that we can’t make a big decision in a way that we both are satisfied with. But through it all we love each other, respect each other’s opinions and ability to make decisions. We live joyfully and fully without either of us being the one who can "put their foot down."
I understand that some reading won’t see anything wrong with me "making the decisions" for our household. Yet I know that my wife, created in God’s image, is not only capable, but she deserves the respect, love and admiration that I neglected to give her when I acted without her. I don’t think God has ever intended for couples to rule over one another. What do I think God’s desire is? I trust the two greatest commandments: Love God and love each other as we would ourselves.
I know we even mess those two up. Thankfully, God loves us even though we can be complete idiots.

2 comments:

Tim said...

Thanks for this, man. I'm not always the best with communication with my wife. Or, I'll say something but it doesn't always end up to be true. Like, I tell her I'll be home from the church in 15 minutes, but an hour later I'm actually walking through the door. Gotta show respect by staying true to your word and dependable for your wife.

Kirk said...

My Achilles heel is writing things on the calendar.