Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Public Side of Ministry

I am discovering that one of the more painful aspects of failing an ordination exam is that every time you think you have a handle on your feelings, something else pops up to rip the bandage off the scab.

This morning, it's an email from the committee that oversees my progress, reminding me that I have to send everything (passing exams as well) to them, request permission for my re-take, and advise them in writing of my plans for rectifying the situation.

I don't mind any of that. In fact, I have often thought that there is a great deal to be said for having to explain oneself, in writing and orally, to a community as one progresses through the process of preparing for ministry. Had that been required of future lawyers, I might have saved myself a good deal of time and money and frustration.

I am, however, often surprised by how much of me has become fodder for public consumption. It can be quite a jarring experience to realize that others have been paying attention to your clothing, your facial expressions and gestures, your vocabulary missteps, and your strep throat. (The last one was last week.)

And this week, it is quite painful. I'd kind of like to go back to the days when you covered the bad grade on your paper with your hand during class, and then lied about it at lunch.


  1. I can certainly appreciate this.

  2. When I went for my (2nd) psych exam for candidacy, toward the end of the evaluation, the psychologist said "I have been observing you throughout this evaluation. You have dressed professionally, (etc. etc.) but you have a nervous laugh. I am noting this on my evaluation." Yep. Public consumption. All in the permanent record. Bleah.

  3. I have to say, it's kind of shocking to me...where is the kindness in these people? I guess at least it helps us to know what we don't want to become. I'm so sorry, Robin. Just when you don't think you can get more discouraged...

  4. My husband is on a path toward Ordination in the Permanent Diaconate. The hoops and loops to jump through are extraordinary. The scrutiny is painful and I'm not so sure the "right" people are doing the scrutinizing.

    But, in the end it is between him and God. And so it is with you. The call, your future, your ministry and your leadership will come together in the way that is going to make a difference in this world, and bring you into a new communion with the Divine and with the human.

    Sorry you're having an overabundance of the human right now.