The speaker in this morning’s general session was Ruth Haley Barton. Her ministry and her focus today was the need for pastors to care for their souls, to spend time in solitude in the presence of God. Lots of good stuff…which made me grateful for our Quaker circles. Her message did not strike me like it struck many others here: many hear it as revolutionary, rather than normal.
God’s word to me through her message came as she discussed her amazing surprise that God has led her to lead a non-profit organization that is NOT a church. She said she wrestles with her ambivalence about her calling with God, alone and often. This is so that others aren’t confused by her ambivalence.
I think God and I have been wrestling with my own ambivalence about calling for quite some time now, and it’s leading me to a much better place. I have faced with God who I amâ€“my fears, my longingsâ€“and already here I am feeling God’s energy to move forward.
One great, huge irony that saddened me today… Ken Medema is here this week. He does only one thing: at each general session, he listens intently to everything; the speakers, the music, the drama. At the close of the session, he writes and performs a song that sums up the whole session. It’s a powerful sign of God’s Holy Spirit at work, a chance for prayerful reflection. Here was one of the refrains from the song he wrote in this session:
“Let me not be in a hurry
to leave and start again…
the frantic pace.”
He sang these words as pastors were pouring out of their seats to the door, because the speaker’s words on spending time reflecting on the presence of God had ended.