I survived the meeting. They did actually hear what I was saying. They called it an exploratory meeting. Fantastic. The meeting was good but it felt very administrative. Here are the papers we’ll need, we’ll meet once per year (what?!), we’ll have you do some kind of test to make sure you aren’t crazy, we’ll give you a prayer partner. It seemed, ummm, administrative. I know we are the denomination of Jim Jones and so it’s important to make sure we don’t have another but after you find out I’m not Jim, what are you going to do with me. How do you figure out if I should be ordained. What is the criteria for ordination? What is your role in the process of discerning if I merit ordination? I didn’t ask any of these questions. I asked how does this work? They recited the check list, they explained the once per year meeting, one of them said I could call and voice frustrations and concerns, one said that I’d get a prayer partner, one said I could talk to him if I had a problem with a prof. I think that’s good. But I didn’t really see a clear vision of the pastoral aspect of the group. How does discernment happen as we meet once per year? Maybe there is a lot going on behind the scenes that we don’t know about. Maybe they’ve covenanted to go down in prayer for all of us on a frequent basis and to pray for what’s best for the church? I hope? But I wouldn’t know because they don’t tell us that. I guess I’ll ask?
Wow. So I contacted the ministry committee to let them know that I wouldn’t be ready by the deadline, I asked them if they could resend me the paperwork, I asked them when the next meeting was and I asked them if I could stop by on February 16th and say, “Hello.”
So now I’ve got all the paperwork and I have an email from one of the admins telling me that she hasn’t gotten my stuff yet. Wow.
So I reiterated that I had informed the head of the committee that, given my workload, I may not be ready with the paperwork. I told the admin that I would do my best.
Argh, this whole ordination idea has all my insecurities flairing! I picture a council of people on one side of the table all sitting and judging me harshly. Scrutinizing me. Of course, I’ve been told that this horrible image in my mind is not correct. It is a partnership, they tell me. It is a group of people working with you to help you discern your calling, your vocation, your path to ministry. It is not meant to be antagonistic or unpleasant. It is, however, very important that they know that I am not Jim Jones or John Wayne Gacy . I think that’s good. My denomination had the real Jim Jones and well, it didn’t go well. So they are very thorough and for that, I am truly thankful.
But it doesn’t help me assuage my insecurities or fear of rejection or fear of being dismantled by a group of people.
Now I may be able to talk with each of these people on an individual basis and do just fine. But I fear the dangerous and destructive monster they might become as a group. Group think transforms people. Scary! I’m sure that is not what’s going to happen right?
Where is my faith? Umm, I guess, unfortunately, I often use it for other people. Kind of sucks, right? I mean I will pray more whole face off for someone else and encourage them and help them work through their fears, give them another perspective, ask them questions that might get them to open their view of a situation a little wider BUT when it comes to me and my own fears and scars and insecurities…whooo, chile, you’ve got a situation on your hands! So I have to pray and prepare and get myself together and lean on God. I have to remember my calling. I have to remember what happens between me and God. I have to remember what happens between me and God and the people to whome we minister. I have to remember that the God who began a good work in me will continue it to completion. I should let God do that good work and stop interfering and I should fill out these darn forms.