How strangely life unfolds . . .
I grew up in the country, a couple of miles outside a town of 2,000. Since the county line ran down the middle of our road, I went to elementary school seven miles further into the country, outside another little town of a few hundred.
(The school's FB page says something about a playground surrounded by fields and cows.)
My Catholic boarding school for grades 7-9 was also in the country, WAY out.
My boarding school for grades 10-12, in the Connecticut Valley, was located on the edge of a town of a couple of thousand.
I have spent a LOT of time in my life walking down roads lined by cornfields and beanfields.
Eventually I made my way to cities for college and law school and adulthood. It's no secret that I love the diversity and energy, the arts and conversations and coffee shops, of the city. I love my particular city, in which the older houses are all architecturally intriguing and different from one another and in which I can walk to pretty much anything.
And so . . . of course . . . I've been called to a Small Church in a Tiny Town.
Much discussion has ensued, there and here. And will continue, as there is still time and there are still processes in which things can fall apart. But I don't think that they are going to. There is too much excitement on all parts.
Much of the discussion in this household and in my head has focused on matters rural and urban.
My field ed church was downtown; the immediate issues at stake there have to do with the crises of the city: homelessness and unemployment and education. The senior pastor refers to himself as an urban theologian.
As far as I have been able to glean from my conversations with SC, the immediate issues at stake in the country are homelessness, unemployment, and education.
A deep sense of community and cohesion arches over it all, however. A deep longing to love and be loved.
These are folks who are interested in home visits, not in twitter.
They are impressed that I can identify a soybean field.
I have George Herbert poetry by my bedside.
I think that I am about to become a rural theologian!