Pastor, Curriculum Director, and Friend in Charlotte, North Carolina
I’ve learned to be quiet, to listen and to love. My experiences as a Chaplain Intern at the Levine Dickson Hospice House helped me relinquish the need to speak first. I believe a byproduct of being in the seminary environment for such a lengthy period of time is the formation of an innate desire to speak first; always have the “right” answers and in some way be the savior of the situation. Certainly, there are times when words and actions are necessary. But I’ve grown to understand that a calm presence and attentive ear in otherwise overwhelming and challenging situations can be one of the greatest gifts a pastor can offer. Additionally, in an era where culture is marked by irreverence and judgment, I’ve come to understand that as ambassadors of reconciliation we must exhibit respect for each human life regardless of their faith, socio-economic status, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or other verbalized judgments and labels. Our call is simply to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. If those who walk with Christ do indeed have compassion as scripture admonishes (Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:12-13, Philippians 2:1-2 & 1 Peter 3:8), then we have to "walk with" and accept people exactly where they are in their life and on their spiritual journey.