Monday, July 31, 2006

Minister Karma

I wedge my wide-body into the overly-narrow seat in the airplane and wonder, again, how I am going to handle the next four hours of uncomfortable back problems and knee cramping. The man next to me, also on his way to Las Vegas, excitedly looks out the window at the swiftly moving runway and together we feel the plunging guts as our plane steeply ascends into the azure sky. After the first hour we both find we cannot sleep and he turns to me for conversation. He is excited because he is heading to Vegas and he always has a great time there. He asks me if it is business or pleasure and I tell him both, since I live there. Even more excitedly he tells of his favorite casinos and shows, expecting me to agree with him. After a barrage of excited gibberish he finally takes a breath to ask me what I do for a living. I tell him I’m a pastor of a church. His talking stopped and you could almost hear the gears grinding in his mind before he said, “Well, I only go a couple times a year. And it is just for entertainment, you know? I spend only what others would spend hunting, nothing more.” He quickly backpedaled into his own seat and went back to looking out the window. He didn’t want to have any bad Minister Karma on his trip.

My drive was between a slice and a fade, so not too bad, as the golf ball landed in the rough to the right of the fairway about 200 yards out. My friend and his friend, whom I’d never met before, got into the cart and I followed behind to search for our balls. Three strokes later we are on the green joking about choking on a five foot putt. At about the 6th hole my friend’s friend, who was quickly becoming my friend, asked me what I did for a living. I tell him I’m a pastor of a church. Suddenly things change. The language is not so easy, the swearing is caught before it leaves the lips, and I hear whispered conversations between the two friends as they get back into their cart. He didn’t want to have any bad Minister Karma on this round.

In my move from the Business world to the “Minister” world this has been the hardest thing for me to handle. After 13 years of business networks and friends who are able to “be themselves,” suddenly people feel they cannot around me. There is some mystical “Minister Karma” that surrounds me. Like it is bad luck to swear, to gamble, to be angry, and to simply be honest around me. First, there is no added bad karma to swearing around me than at any other time. Second, there is no bad karma in simply being around me in real life situations where you might get angry or frustrated. So please show me, and all people, the REAL and not the fake. We will love you or we won’t, that is up to us, not the performance you put on to try to convince us. Please be real, if not, I just might use my Minister Karma and put a hex on you.

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