Learning the Faith, Beliefs and Spirituality blog on NOLA was widely read gave me something worthwhile to do, but I continued to look for a place of service in the church. I taught a Bible Study on Friday’s nights for a short time at an independent church. The church fell apart and we moved to another church. Our new pastor was very supportive. I started a Women’s Ministry. When I realized Women’s Ministry wasn’t my place, I released it to another’s leadership. I started a drama team but knew this wasn’t my place either. Then my pastor offered to finance the production of a book.
We met to discuss book publishing. I was prepared to give the church rights and profits from the book so they could recoup their investment. But I wanted my pastor to understand the perils of self-publishing before he presented it to the board. During the course of our conversation, I accepted that my God given purpose in life is writing.
After the meeting, I called a friend and prayer partner. I prayed God would “shut the door” on this opportunity if it wasn’t from him. Several weeks later, my pastor called and said, “Teena, the door is shut.” He offered to let me ask the congregation for an offering to finance my ministry of writing. Firm in my conviction that God is able to finance what you do, I turned him down. The board had already shurt the door and I didn’t think climbing through a window was a good idea. I had not asked my pastor to finance a book, so I wasn’t disappointed when God said “No.”
I turned my attention to NOLA’s faith blog. Writing one entry a week proved difficult and I was floundering. My entries were diverse, a video, a devotion, story of answered prayer, news of church events. To keep the blog fresh and interesting, I enlisted others to contribute material. Posting articles months in advance of their release made the blog manageable as I looked for my niche.
I found my stride the day popular Bible teacher Anna Donahue repeatedly came to my attention. She became the subject of my first profile, Who is Anna Donahue? I outlined her journey from broadcasting news to broadcasting the love of God. An unshakable name occurred more than once. Pastor Anthony Marquize, who was running for the United States House of Representatives, came to my attention three times in one day. I already had a list of people waiting for me to write their story, and opted not to contact him. Before the week ended, I met him at a minister’s fellowship and relented. His story left me in awe. He lost the election but gained something greater. Finally, I denied multiple invitations to Dr. Kathy Baker’s Interfaith Bible study before a friend convinced me to attend. Dr. Baker became a cherished friend.
Friends were a rich resource of remarkable stories. Jeremy Quintini, a lively child in my husband’s children service, fulfilled a 100 year old prophecy in a foreign nation. Pamela Binnings Ewen’s struggle to find a faith compatible with reason produced credible evidence that the gospel stories can be trusted. George Zanca disqualified himself from pastoral ministry but God did not. Mark McLean stared out his office window in the World Financial Center at the aftermath of the first plane’s collision with the Twin Towers. He looked up to witness the second plane heading for his office.
A friend, who edits some of my work, told me several times that I should turn the stories into a book. I toyed with the idea on occasion but was too busy writing stories to pursue the task. The task I refused to pursue, pursed me. More about that in my next post.