When I returned to theological studies in the autumn of 2006 after being forced to take a year off for healing I found myself at a new (to me) seminary: Methodist Theological School in Ohio (MTSO or Methesco). One of my classes I took that autumn was Ministry of Evangelism: Theology & Practice (ME171 now ME670) taught by Prof. Joon-Sik Park. This class met in the morning in a classroom in the basement of the library, and each day of class I sat near the front on the right hand (professor’s left) side .One of my fellow classmates one morning asked me if I had not been feeling well lately. The reason for is inquiry, was my beard. I think in all the years I have had my beard, (since the Autumn of 2003, except for 2 periods of about a month each in 2009), he was the only one to make notice that I tend to let it grow longer, and/or not trim it as often, when I am not feeling well. Others might notice, but have never mad any indication to me… And I have noticed over the years my beard tends to reflect my health, at least to me.
So what prompts this memory to the forefront right now? Well for the past couple of months a thought has been flowing through my mind, that perhaps now is the time to once again try and let the beard go away for a time. I’m still debating it, but am thinking it might be nice to see what my face looks like now as I have not seen the lower portion sans beard since October 2009, and then just briefly. I’m not sure but… it is a change I am contemplating. What do you think? Should I shave off my beard, or not?
I am also contemplating how best to engage the evangelism portion of my calling. It is a part of my calling that scares me, and yet over the past few years I have felt promptings again and again to engage. Part of my struggle is a sense of not knowing where or how to engage in the inviting all to Christ part of my calling, part of it is… my lack of confidence in myself. It is something I need to pray and reflect on. It is something I need to find a mentor for, a ministerial partner, to help me find how it is I am called to share the good news in ways that invites others into deeper and more connected, healed, whole, and right relationship with the Holy One, self, others and the rest of creation.
Hmm things to think about…