Buddy Tape

31 Oct

A few weeks ago I broke my little toe on my left foot.  Such began a partnership!  It started with the ER doctor who informed me, “no, the toe is not dislocated…” which the angle of the toe suggested, “it is only a broken bone above the joint.”  As the doc was setting the bone, he asked if I thought the toe was straight.  Glancing over at my right little toe, the left little toe look similar, thus, I said “I think so.”  The doctor moved the toe a bit more to the right & sought my approval, and with my consultative head nod the toe was set.

The next and only remaining treatment is to keep the little toe “buddy taped” to the next toe for six weeks.  This buddy tapping keeps the toe from going back out to the funny angle which makes for interesting shoe designs.  Thank God that the next toe in line is cooperating with this endeavor.  However, the toe tends to chafe with this buddy taping.

As I tend to my morning taping ritual, I realized that “buddy taping” is missing from campus ministry.  The conventional wisdom is to place someone in a campus ministry setting alone. So you seek out in ministry on campus with your own counsel and acumen.  Seldom is there support for this person and when things go out of alignment few campus ministers are around to become “buddy taped.”

Serving in parish ministry has long been recognized as a lonely journey, however, parish ministers are encouraged and can find someone close by who shares their experiences so can buddy up.  Campus ministers do not often have colleagues close by who share the unique ministry on a college campus.  Too many campus ministers are limping around without a buddy to lean on.  Little wonder that so many leave campus ministry within a few years.

As I wrap tape around my toes, I marvel at the possibilities for campus ministry if campus ministers could be buddy taped with another colleague, especially during difficult periods on campus.  Luke has Jesus sending the disciples out into the mission field in pairs.  Until I broke my toe I would not have realized that Jesus was a firm advocate of “buddy taping.”

Who is the buddy you are taped with?  If you do not have a buddy, perhaps it is time to find a buddy in campus ministry.  We all need to hear of some creative ways to become buddy taped.

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Bill Campbell is the United Methodist campus minister at the Wesley Foundation at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, TN.   He has hung around the college campus for many years hoping some youth

would rub off and somebody, out of sympathy, would throw a degree his way.   When the weather is nice Bill can be found driving around with the top down on his Miata, teaching his daughter Eryn to drive a stick shift.  Other times, his wife Trinace, has him working on projects around the house,  while his son-in-law, John, patiently teaches him to fly fish.   Bill received a B.S. in Social Work & Psychology from Lambuth University, and a Master of Theology from Southern Methodist University.  A D.Min from Wesley Theological Seminary awaits a project (when it is finally safe to write) on General Conference and campus ministry.

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One Response to “Buddy Tape”

  1. Paul Walley October 31, 2012 at 1:06 pm #

    I like this very much, Bill. For campus ministers, a “buddy tape” system is needed but its existence seems the exception rather than the rule now. The mentoring model seemed like one way to provide this but not sure how much this is happening now. Any ideas that arise or you discover might help others. Could our sages play a pivotal role in this? Sounds like a good discussion for a workshop at an NCMA conference or gathering.

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