I took a break from blogging because I didn’t want to tell you that I didn’t get the job. The woman from the church that called me said that the meeting went on for a long time, that they thought I was brilliant and that I had a bright future in ministry, but that I was just a little too green. I asked her what might happen if the already ordained ministers got a call for churches of their own and didn’t last very long. She said, “well, we might be having a different conversation.” So I know that I did very well in the interview, and one of the things that they thought was interesting is that I was the only one that interviewed the kids as much as they interviewed me. None of the other candidates thought to ask the kids what they’d like to see in their own youth group. It got me big points with the committee, and lots of fans. She said “you cannot believe how close it came because we liked you so much. We just thought you were a little green.” I could agree with that assessment, and I thanked her for being honest about what went on in the meeting so that I had some context. It’s never happened to me after a job interview before, that someone would actually describe the meeting that happened without me. There were many people on the committee that were sad that I didn’t get the job, because they saw a passion and drive in me that they didn’t see in the other candidates. I have a feeling I will know who those people are, because they’ll come up to me at church and tell me so. Even though I didn’t get the job, I actually feel good about it. I impressed several people, more than I thought I would, and they gushed about me. I think I will volunteer so that if the pastor running the program does get a call to a church of his/her own, I won’t be so green anymore. I’ll have one more thing to put on my resume unless I get a call of my own from another church as well. I am not hesitant about that possibility. To have a committee fighting over me was very cool indeed. I do have the mad skillz. I just need more on my resume to convince people of that.
Matt told me that my resume didn’t have much in the way of youth ministry, and why would I want this job? I told him that I’d been running from a call since I was ten… and then later in the meeting, I said that I’d run from a call since early adulthood. One of the other ministers in the room (it’s a joint youth group with another church) said, “I thought you’d been running from a call since childhood. Speak to that.” I said, “this is the first time I’ve ever put my money where my mouth is. I have been running from a call since childhood, but I didn’t know how to get there from here. For the first time in my life, I’ve actually applied to school with the intention of finishing my MDiv, and the $50 I spent to apply to Howard meant more to me than gold, because it represented a new chance in life, one I knew I would take eventually, but now I’m ready (je suis prest).” He asked me why I chose Howard. I said, “first, it’s a UCC school. Second, I’ve been to majority white schools my whole life and if it is my job to be Christ in the world, then I have to understand race relations and how it affects us nationally and globally.” He said, “I have so many more questions to ask you, but I won’t in the interest of time.” We could have gone on for hours, and I hope we will meet again. If anything, I need him as an ally, because the UCC and the Presbyterians have joint ordination. It would mean a lot to me to follow in the steps of Katie Morrison and Michael Adee, who were the first lesbian and gay candidates to be ordained in the Presbyterian church. I met Katie at the More Light conference in Portland in 1997, and then in 2001, when I took Kathleen to Lambda Rising, we found a book that featured both Susan Leo AND Katie Morrison. Her chapter was called, and I remember this clearly, “Black Leather Bible Dyke.” In 1997, meeting her was one of the great moments of my life, because not only did she have her head on straight theologically, she was, in two words, fucking hot.
I keep up with Michael Adee on Facebook, and he is just a joy. His feed lights up my day, because he always has uplifting quotes and stories that don’t focus on negativity, but how we are all Christ in the world, degreed or not. I found him on Facebook because I remembered his name in all the articles about Katie and Michael getting ordained. He’s like an angel to me, because we haven’t met on the ground, but he blesses me from the cloud.
And now that the interview is over, I want to go on the record as saying I think joint youth groups are a terrible idea. The idea is to feed your own church with growth. What happens if all the youth that are supposed to go to one church end up feeding the other because it’s more “fun?” Then, one church is effectively poaching kids from the other…. and their parents, too. It also skews the relationship between the churches if the events are held at one church more than the other. In the interview, they said that I would have offices at both churches and I’d go to church there as well. The possibility of growing two churches at once floored me with awe, until I came back into my head and realized that this relationship was probably going to end poorly. They say it is working now, and I hope for them that it continues to be true. However, my church has many more programs for kids and it is word perfect (I see what I did there). I could see the poaching happening and it did not make me happy, but of course I did not say anything about that in the interview. It’s just something I saw happening in the long term, rather than right here, right now.
They also missed a chance to mold me exactly how they wanted me… that I would learn more on the job than I would in a million years of Google (from whom all blessings flow). It was a disappointment, to be sure, but not one from which I can’t rebound. I have the confidence I need because there were people on the committee set on hiring me, and in the end, they lost. But the fact that the debate was so long makes me feel incredible. I am blessed beyond all measure, and it is my plan to keep it that way.