I’m still up to my eyebrows in school, with the-rest-of-life mostly ending up above that thermocline. Yes, this means that I’m not (soul-ly, emotionally) breathing. I don’t like this, and still I haven’t figured out how to get my nose out. Nevertheless!
In a half-hour from now I will be interviewed by my faith-denomination’s committee on preparation for ministry, to see whether they agree that God is calling me to inquire into perhaps becoming a person ordained into a call.
Yeah, that’s still a lot of in-house language.
Trying again — Presbyterians are not known for hurry or spontaneity (!). In this arena, it shows up thus:
- Pastors of congregations, or pastors of classrooms & research if they’re professors, or pastors of non-profits every once and a while
- have to be ordained. Which means that (still working in reverse chronology)
- the community of faith holds a special worship to ‘seal the deal;’
- after the candidate (yes, jargon!) has passed a set of exams, made by the denomination, designed to verify their knowledge of Things of Faith;
- after the candidate has completed a Master’s of Divinity that includes a handful of specific classes.
- To be a candidate for ordination—thus eligible for the above process—one must
- pass a different exam
- and spend some time in discernment, inquiring into whether this whole ordination-thing is something God desires for them.
- So first one must be an inquirer for six months or more. Per our Book of Order.
I may not have recited this fully accurately. There are lots of fiddly bits.
ANYWAY, after filling in a bunch of forms and writing a plethora of short essays back last November and last January, I am at last slated to have my first conversation about all this. Technically, you see, though I’m almost a year in in my-time, I haven’t started my (formal) discernment yet.
With this-my-blog being functionally public, I paused a moment before continuing. What if my committee reads this? I’ve decided: oh well.
I’ve been stewing about this.
Since January, when I was trying to compress 30 years of life into 1/3 page (“Tell us about what you’ve learned about yourself in college and thereafter.”)
Stewing about the elapsed time, about how this elapsed time makes it likely that the completion of this process won’t match my anticipated 2021 graduation, about my being the one to pull scheduling info from the committee rather than their setting my mind (heart?) at ease by overcommunicating things like “When is this interview happening? Is this interview happening?”
In my first five minutes of meditation today — I then reset my timer, so I could actually meditate! — I realized more fully:
it doesn’t matter.
Not that ordination is unimportant. But the hooks this process has in me have to do with mundane recognition, with human approval, with doing a process “right,” with the way my mom gets a look on her face that says, “You know my daughter, the rabbi?”
These things may or may not intertwine with my call as I hear it in my belly. But they are none of them my call. And none of the pieces of this process are required within my call.
Right now I know I’m ‘doing school’ here. And I’m pulled toward ‘doing school’ for a PhD somewhere. And I’m pulled toward writing a something to bring people and faith-poems and God closer together.
I already have what I need to do those things. (Well, the PhD program acceptance remains outstanding… <grin>.)
God holds me—holds each of us—in the bowl of God’s hands, like a fluff-ball chick. I will be set down where God sees fit. And God knows that will be good.