Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Ministry OUTSIDE the Box; LIFE Outside the BOX - John Chuchman

Read this John Chuchman poem on the Catholica website.  Thought it needed a UK hearing. thanks John

Ministry OUTSIDE the Box; LIFE Outside the BOX

Invited to speak at a Conference
with the Theme
"Ministry OUTSIDE the Box,"
I had to ask myself,
How/Why did I move
Outside the Box?

I never planned to move outside the Box.
I was essentially
a Pay-Pray-Obey Catholic
for over fifty years of my life.
All of my formal education
was in parochial institutions
(though the Jesuits at John Carroll University
might be considered resident on
the inner part of the outer edge).

All of my children were Baptized
inside the Box
and dragged to weekly Liturgy
as long as we could do so.

I thought I was content
inside the Box
paying my dues,
praying in the prescribed manner,
obeying the rules
to earn my
pass into heaven.

Thank God,
I was pushed, called, cajoled, forced
Outside the Box;
God was NOT resident in that Box!

What/Who pushed?

The Guys in control of the Box
had a swinging back door out.
They abused little children
and protected the abusers,
perpetuating the abuse.

The "celibate" Guys in control of the Box
were not so celibate.

The Pay part
of my pay, pray, obey,
was not being used for
the Good I thought it was;
much of it spent by and for
the box-controllers.

The Obey part
of my pay, pray, obey,
related to
rules which were
not only discriminatory,
not only man-made,
not only spiritually stifling,
but also,
Totally Un-Christlike.
The rules were created
to keep people
inside the box,
while keeping trouble-makers
outside the box.

Yes, God was not resident In a Box,
But neither was trouble-maker Jesus!

The Pray part
of my pay, pray, obey
pushed me out of the box
and at the same time
called and cajoled me out of it
as being rote, shallow, repetitive, dogmatic,
focused on formulas, superstitions, and beliefs.
I needed more;
My Spirit needed more;
Life was more;
Love was more.

People lived and died
in the box
never questioning their Faith,
never expanding their Faith.

Thanks Holy Spirit,
for blowing my spark of Spiritual Thirst
into a Raging Inferno,
for Seducing me
Outside the box.

After retirement from 32 years in Commerce,
I thought about
Ministry within the box,
joining the box-controllers
albeit only as a subservient Deacon.
Thanks, God,
for that not being a chosen path.

Instead, "I did it My Way"
Hospice Volunteer,
Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministries,
Certified Bereavement Counselor,
Free-Lance Author, Speaker, and Poet,
Spiritual Companion,
Trouble-Maker Rabble-Rouser,
Consoler of those Grieving Loss of Life in the Box,
Helper of those needing to escape it,
Celebrant of the Good Life
Outside the Box.

I don't know if it was My Way
or the Way ordained for me,
but I'm sure Joy-Full I found it
and am traveling it.

It seems that
the people to whom I Minister
are outside the box
or at least need to be;
those discriminated against
by the box-controllers,
(married men, women,
gays and lesbians, those divorced,
the alienated, and us trouble-makers)
and perhaps most importantly
those the Holy Spirit is helping to discover that
life inside the box
is not life at all,
but spiritual death,
or at best paralysis.

But,
Trouble-Maker Ministry Outside the Box
is not all peaches and cream;
Ask Jesus.

Friends and Family inside the box
separate themselves from me.
The Box-Controllers and their idolizers
deride and exclude me.
There is always a price to pay
and
It can be a lonely path.

But I think the Box may be crumbling;
so many are growing out of it
that it can't support all the Box-Controllers
sitting atop it.

The Flame of the Holy Spirit
seems to be casting a brightness into the box
exposing the swinging back doors
and the hidden nooks and crannies
maintained by the box-controllers
for all to see,
enabling many inside the box
to see that
a pay-pray-obey fully punched ticket
is good only for a life-time ride
on the merry-go-round
Inside the Box.

There are no two
Ministries Outside the Box
exactly alike, completely identical;
It's more simply like
using one's unique God-given Gifts
to help others
wherever the need.

Instead of pay-pray-obey,
I chose to follow the call of the Holy Spirit
(out of the comfort zone onto a Great Adventure)
and to
Go, Grow, and Glow.

Love, John Chuchman
Leave the Nest, Join the Quest, And Be Blessed!

1 comment:

Jo Lauer said...

What a marvelous reflection! Thank you so much.