Apr 12 2013

You want me to do what?!

Stone Mountain UMCAs my time at Candler end a lot of people have been asking me to reflect.  “Did you make the right choice?” “Did you get what you wanted out of this opportunity?”  I am very glad that I made the decision to attend Candler and in some ways it was exactly what I wanted and in other ways it was much more.  But the memories that come back to me are the ones from the first few weeks at Candler.  When I was so excited and nervous about being in a new place.  Having grown up living in a mid-size city in Louisiana – this thing called traffic was a whole new experience.  I had never visited a stranger in the hospital.  I had never had a class with more than 50 people in it.

I remember many times at Candler I have turned and given the “You want me to do what?!” look to professors, mentors, and friends.  Most recently, I have been interning at Stone Mountain First United Methodist.  I have been giving my mentor a lot of those looks.  Most recently, she asked me to preach at both services – in which I did not just give the look, I actually asked!  But that Sunday one of the members of the church commented to my wonderful mentor – “how wonderful for you to give Marissa this opportunity.”  Of course my mentor gave me a knowing look of “I know this does not quite feel like an opportunity and more like a stressful addition to your already busy week.”

But now that the sermon is all done and said – I can say it was a wonderful opportunity.  I was able to practice what I will be doing every Sunday next year with the knowledge that someone who cares about me was being my safety net.  At Candler, I have been given opportunity after opportunity to walk out onto the tightrope of ministry — okay sometimes people had to shove me out there!  And the best part was that my professors, my mentors, and my friends all had a knowing hand guiding me across — and a soft place to fall if need be.

Marissa TeauseauWhat I realized yesterday was that those moments will probably never end.  I will always be doing things in ministry that I never imagined that I could do.  And in some ways facing “full time ministry” is very scary for me!  But in another way – it’s really pretty cool because it is in those moments that we learn who we are.  Right now I’m pretty excited about my upcoming identity: Candler Alum and United Methodist Pastor!  But don’t call me that in public yet – I am not so used to it that I’ll answer to it or anything!  So I ask you — who are you right now?  Who are you becoming?  Who has helped you get here?  Now go give those people a hug and get ready for your next adventure!

- Marissa Teauseau

Marissa is a third year MDiv student, a graduate of Centenary College of Louisiana, and will return to the Louisiana Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church upon graduation.


Oct 19 2012

Broken over Breaking Amish

My roommate and I love TV.  Good TV, bad TV, and TV on DVD. It is how we relax when we are not working, going to class, or studying.  Since moving in together, Carrie (2nd year) and I have a few TV shows that we have been trying to keep up with.

“Breaking Amish” is a show about five young people who have decided to move away from their religious families and find out how to live life away from the rules and restrictions.  Tuesday night, I walked into the living room and Carrie was watching the show.  She turned to me and said “it’s fake.”

My jaw dropped.

She explained that apparently, all the subjects of the show have been out of their communities for years.  Why my immediate response was to be shocked and offended I don’t know.  We all know that reality shows are often anything but “real.” For some reason I felt like my favorite TV channel had pulled wool over my eyes and I was not happy about it.

Authenticity can be hard to find.  Luckily, this hasn’t been my experience at Candler.

Last week in Introduction to Public Worship we had to write from memory the prayer that the presider of communion says in our denomination.  As a United Methodist, I have heard this at least once a month since I joined the church when I was young.  But reciting the liturgy and learning the ins and outs of running a worship service has got me looking forward to graduation in May with both excitement and anxiety.  I have been doing practical things at Candler from day one and it is one of my favorite parts about Candler.

But now I wonder, am I prepared? Will I ever be prepared?  Lucky for me, Dr. Phillips our Worship professor has given us the good news of being in ministry.  He told us that to walk away from the class with only the preparations would be a loss.  He encourages us to be people of prayer and people who are authentic because those things are just as important for defining who we are as people in ministry.

I started to think of my every day life.  We encounter teachers, classmates, church members, and family.  We have the opportunity to rush through the rituals with those people or to stop and be in a relationship that is honest and glorifies God.  We encounter papers, exams, and tasks at work.  How many times do we just fake our way through these things?  I know that for me all of these happen an unfortunate amount.

Thank God that is not the end of the conversation.  It is important for us to be vigilant in the ways in which we are real with God and our community.  But we must not forget to lean on God and our community to fill our gaps with grace.  The difficult part of this blog is that I have no answer; we only have trust in God and our community of faith who have promised to help mold us into the most authentic servants of Christ that we can be.

All I can say for today is… Praise God for progress!

- Marissa Teauseau

Marissa is a third year MDiv student, a graduate of Centenary College in Shreveport, LA, and a Candler Student Ambassador.