Janet Sunderland’s introduction

Talk about journeys! Building this blog site has become my latest adventure. Oh, I’ve been blogging, one could say, using the church web site and my writer’s web site as platforms. But they didn’t have all this fancy stuff – the RSS feeds and content management and links to whatever and particular buttons to make sure you click so that the post gets posted. They were just places to write. This one has pushed me to the limits of my Peter Principle, if any of you remember the 1969 book of the same title and ensuing over-use of the phrase. For those of you who don’t remember, it’s listed in Wikipedia.

And, as my wandering mind tends to do, I began wondering if Peter, as in Saint Peter – Peter the Rock – Peter the betrayer – Peter who chose, when condemned to die, to be crucified upside down to show himself unworthy of crucifixion in the same manner as Jesus, doubted his ability to transcend the way life was heading.

However, now that the about page is affixed securely (we hope) to the main page, life is looking a little more reasonable and I feel less upside down – although I must admit, a little blood to my brain might be helpful.

These first steps began some weeks ago at the beginning of Lent when I took on the discipline of writing a spiritual reflection for our community each morning. People liked it. I sent it out by email and posted it to the church web site. I liked doing it. And liked hearing back that a particular reflection had been exactly what one or another person had needed to read that morning. Food for a writer’s heart, even to those who are also priests, and perhaps especially for priests whose goals are to effect a change in spiritual understanding.

My journey to the priesthood, like most of the journeys in my life, led a circuitous route. I began in a Kansas Bible church and like all churches of that ilk, it commanded a thorough reading of the entire Bible. I’m grateful for that gift. I also grew up on a farm and learned the cycle of seasons and the wisdom of the land. And then, I rebelled. Again and again. Another usual pattern in my life.

I studied world religions and alternative healing, lived in many parts of the world and all across the country, entered politics and left politics, until I finally arrived in Santa Fe, New Mexico to attend graduate school at St. John’s College and there found the Church of Antioch. The pastor, Bishop Richard Gundrey, and his associate pastor, Cliff Kroski, both blessed in the name of Father/Mother God. My mouth fell open and the hook caught. After completing graduate school, I entered two more years of graduate work in seminary and reached ordination in 1997.

But my background, and my understanding of the natural cycles, didn’t go away with that ordination. Instead, ordination was the lynch-pin that anchored all the scattered pieces of my life puzzle. If you’d like knowing more of that journey, you can go to my website, http://www.janetsunderland.com, click on Writings, and pull up Part One of the spiritual memoir, Standing at the Crossroad.

But back to Peter and the Peter Principle. I guess I haven’t quite reached the limits of my incompetence – either as a blogger or as a priest – and I guess my faith in the journey has brought me to where I stand now. This pathway. This part of the journey.

If you look again at the header, look at the two paths, you’ll see one climbs and has a good layer of rock; the other is a gentle slide into resting places and light. I don’t think it matters which you take – they fork from the same road and will, in time, return to it. What matters is that whichever one you take, trust its ability to lead you where you need to go.