One of the nice things about keeping a diary is that every once in a while you can look back over it and find what you were thinking about on a given day.
I was reading back over my journal and found an entry in which I described some of the struggles and tensions of serving as a Graduate & Faculty Ministries Staff. On April 6, 2005 I wrote:
“I live in between the world of the academy and the world of the church–sometimes (!?) the two do not want to meet. They look askance at one another–the church perceiving the academy as a faithless daughter who has sold herself to foreign gods, and the university seeing in the Church a mere collection of antiquarian rules. In between the two of them is me. In some ways a tug-of-war rages within me. Some days I envy my brothers and sisters who have or are getting Ph.Ds and will teach. Other days I envy my brothers and sisters in the parish, who are more respected [and respectable] and more visible in their work.”
I think that all campus staff feel this tension. We love the university, thinking it a worthy institution and somewhere in which we feel called to invest (and lose) our lives. We also love the one Holy and Apostolic Church–the company of all faithful people. We desire serve as a bridge between the university and the academy. And, unfortunately, we are living in an age where the divide is sharp and deep.
What I do is often perceived as a second-tier ministry. Even on campus, I occassionally feel that the denominational ministries are afforded more respect. In some ways I am like a monk–a religious worker who is not ordained. All things considered, a monk is not a bad thing to be says Father Jude, the Conventual Francisan Friar who occupies the office across the hall from me. I think he’r right.