oscar the grouch in ministry

I had a wonderful day today.I got to make music with positive and wonderful people at church.

We had a visit from one of the nice near-retired priests who help us out on the weekends. He was especially funny today.

George, the local Clydesdale was out for a stroll with his dad and passed by the house a few times.

George, the local Clydesdale passed by my house to pick me up in the drop-top. One of those guys is George’s dad. The other is a guy in an orange shirt.

There was free coffee at the Heritage’s. I spent quality time with my plants, including Ford the lone white eggplant and with my new electric guitar, Blue McHugh. There were at least two cloud rainbows in the sky.

Blue McHugh is a blue guitar, not a blues guitar.

Lately, though, I’ve been encountering some negative folks. Yep, I have even been running into some people- even people with the mark of orders (gasp! would you believe it?) who have been embodying Oscar these days. By the way, when I say Oscar, I don’t mean a certain prelate from Central America either.

Check out the video below. Is this you? I know I’ve been there.

What troubles me about the Oscars [non prelati,] Grungettas and Grouchketeers of the pastoral world is their seeming infallibility. Yes, I have had priests and deacons actually justify their rude interaction because “I’m the deacon,” or “I’m the priest.”

A good friend advised me on how to respond to the negativity. He said that I should continue to treat people with kindness. Other acts of self-improvement have encouraged me to stay close to my own accountability. My strength is in my humility, not in whether I was right or wrong. Moreover, I continue to remind myself every single day, that I am only responsible for myself. How others act towards me is about as much my responsibility as it is to learn the Grouch Anthem.

What does all this mean?
I strive to be my best at being myself. I have stopped taking on more than I can handle out of pride. I just do me: baggy t-shirts, Mephistos and my John Courtney Murray glasses. If I made an error, I admit it. I speak from an I place as best I can.

So, to my friends in ministry, be aware of your humanity. Stop thinking so much and just let yourself feel. Go a little out of your mind- or better yet, get out of your mind and go into your heart.Take time to enjoy the sunlight. Savor the Add9 chords in a Steely Dan song. Marvel at the chartreuse gradient of a perfectly ripe avocado and the juicy, dimpled curves of a fat tomato.

Pay to human nature its most basic need: forgiveness. Your past does not dictate your future decisions. Pay the rest forward with your whole self. Don’t give it thought- give your heart to the desires God has planted within you.

You are worthy of peace and joy in this life and in the life beyond.

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