aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,


Nearly thirty years ago, while I was working on my doctorate, I needed a job. So, I found myself interviewing for the directorate of a community center in Terre Haute. The committee asked me many questions. One of them was, "How would someone who knows you well describe you?"

I don't know if this is a standard interview question that is suggested by interview specialists to be asked, but as it turned out, I had an answer for it. Just a few weeks before, my sister, who was working on a Master's degree in English, had had to write an essay describing someone she knew well. She had chosen me to write about, and had told me afterwards of her analysis. So I knew exactly how someone who knows me well would describe me, and I opened my mouth and heard myself say,

"Like a cross between Chaucer's Clerk and Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show."
I didn't get the job.

Still, I accept the description, so far as it goes. Chaucer said of his Clerk, And gladly wolde he lerne, and gladly teche. I am a learned man, and I continue to learn. I love to learn. I'm not a snob about it -- I am not impressed with credentials, including my own Ph.D. -- but I value knowledge and skill and understanding. And I love to teach. I especially love to teach young people the way of Christ. The passion of Brother Love is not something I am too sophisticated to share. I am not ashamed of the gospel, said Paul, and so too say I. I want to follow Jesus, and I want others to follow him. I will follow him in all simplicity, but I am also sophisticated enough not to be bamboozled by those three pretended fellow pilgrims the World, the Flesh, and the Devil.

Well, what does all this mean now that I have retired? Now that I have given up The Job? I am no longer responsible for a congregation, and I don't want to be. But I am still called by God and set apart by the Church to be an ordained minister, an Elder, of the Church. So, I'm looking for ways in which I can learn and teach, and especially continue to teach the young about Christ. I study, I write, I preach (occasionally), I work with Scouting ministry, and I weigh in on a couple of groups that continue to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints amidst the chaos that is currently The United Methodist Church. I pray for others.

I'd like to do some teaching. Perhaps some of my colleagues would appreciate some of the workshops I could offer. I am, after all, a specialist in Christian Education, believe it or not. I could do a cracking good seminar or two in that field. I am also a pretty good church historian and an experienced trainer in Scouting ministry. I once offered Bishop Ntambo to come over and teach a seminar now and then for Kamina Methodist University. I've also made my interest known to IvyTech here in Bloomington. I might wind up teaching something there, in Philosophy or Humanities or English, now and then. I don't particularly need the money, I just want to teach. There are so many important things to testify to, and so many people looking for someone to show them things.

The Job eventually comes to an end, but the ministry to which one is called is lifelong.

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