My curriculum vitae, from the Latin expression 'the course of my life'.
I am a concierge. The word concierge evolves from the French comte des cierges, or “the keeper of the candles”. It was a term which referred to the servant charged to welcome those arriving to a castle when the king was away. Later the role of concierge came to be known as “the keeper of the keys” in prisons, public buildings, and places of lodging. I am a concierge for the Kingdom of God. I have the privlidge of representing a King and welcoming people into His Kingdom. Through my life and work I am to be a "keeper of the candles", bringing light into the world. The keys I hold are the invaluable doorways of connections, relationships, and trust. The Psalmist first wrote the importance of being a concierge, “It is a good thing to be a doorman in the House of God”.
I enjoy cocktails. I am from a faith tradition of teetotalers. My first drink of alcohol was at age 22. It was Jack Daniels - with two others pastors. I have come to see a glass of wine, a pint of beer, or a well made cocktail as one of life’s great gifts. The spirits lighten the head and the heart. Glasses are raised for two reasons - in consolation or in celebration. Cocktails are my drink of choice because they’re made in the moment. They are a unique combination of time and place - bitters, spirits, citrus, sugar, mixed, shaken, and stirred. Introducing people to unique places where a proper drink is crafted one of my great joys. If we get to choose what to do in eternity, where all is made new, where nothing is broken, where there is no tear or sadness, then I’ll choose being a bartender. As I see it, in the new heavens all glasses will only be raised in celebration to life.
I serve and lead as clergy. It is not what I imagined I would do, but it is what I have done. The faith community I served and led in various ways over the years, is not what many would imagine as a church. TNL has met on Tuesday nights for over 25 years. They are the people and place where I learned how to pastor. I now lead The Sacred Grace, a small family of parish churches in Denver, Colorado. I believe clergy to be an honorable and humble profession; necessary even in a time when many may question why it is still needed. I stand in a black suit at both weddings and funerals. I pray in hospital rooms with parents when their children are born. And I pray with children in rooms as their parents, and now my own father, have died. I spend days writing sermons, reading commentaries, and reciting prayers. Other days I create spreadsheets, review financial statements, and compile annual reports. I believe the most important thing for clergy to do most is listen. Listen to the people for what they trust about God. Listen to God for where those they have been entrusted to lead may go next. It’s difficult for me to clearly state what my experience of being clergy is, but in a few words I would offer it has been: divine humor, severe mercy, and endless grace.