In the previous episode we noted our protagonist choosing the pathway that led to college rather than taking the fork that led to immediate employment with a promise of a bright and lucrative future.
I drew a little chart before I started writing these episodes, vignettes, whatever one chooses to call them. The map contains fully a dozen Ys. I think I need to be selective, lest I bore you to tears. Thus I will skip over the various forks I encountered in pursuing a college education, and there were many. Suffice it to say that after seven years, a wedding which united me with the young lady of whom I was enamored, and the birth of a daughter, I completed the baccalaureate degree which I pursued.
Then one day, almost before the ink on the diploma had dried, I got a letter from the secretary of the board of a community church in a small town in Central Washington State. Like the phone call I received right after graduating high school, this missive purported to be a firm job offer. The pastor of the congregation had moved on, and while they had an interim pastor they were looking for a young man, a go-getter who would provide the spiritual guidance and perform all the other chores that a pastor performs. This is a full-time job, and it pays an adequate salary to provide for your family.
Now how did that happen? I was not a theology student, nor a graduate in Christian ministries, and I had no intention of ever pursuing a seminary degree. My mother, in fact, was the only person who had ever suggested the ministry to me as a possible career.
Well, here's how that happened. I majored in philosophy and had taken some courses in biblical literature along the way. My major professor had been approached by this congregation seeking his recommendation for a young man to take over the pastoral responsibilities in their community. He recommended me, and here I stood, once again, stunned.
Suffice it to say that my wife had never entertained the notion of being a preacher's wife, no more had I considered being a preacher. We had traveled through Central Washington on our way west, but neither of us had ever been in the town from which the offer came. Population, 3800. Climate, temperate, semi-arid. In the back of our minds we were always entertaining the notion of moving back to the Midwest to be near our families. Central Washington was still over 2000 miles from home, and nearly 300 miles from the friends we had accumulated around the Sound.
I drafted a carefully worded letter, thanking the board for their consideration. I would be happy, I said, to visit the community to get acquainted with the people. I will give careful and prayerful consideration to your offer.
Next installment will take you into the life we found in the ministry.