Saturday, April 24, 2010

For Real!

OK, it's all for real. But yesterday I got to have an embodied meeting with Mumpastor who, it turns out, lives within a couple of miles of me, and realized that fact from a post I had written about a memorial service at which she, too, was in attendance. (We never did get to where we actually live.) She has a complex and interesting life, trying to juggle a busy family with the challenges of the United Methodist ordination and assignment system.
We should amazed, I think, by people who turn their lives upside down somewhere in the middle for ministry. The traditional path to ordination is definitely designed for the young and unencumbered. (As I told Mumpastor, I've said to one of the young men in my seminary class that when he is in his 50s, with mortgages, college tuitions, family crises at all generational levels, etc., I want him to look back at these days and think of us and say, "Those women were AWESOME.")

We did not take a shoe picture.


  1. yay! I'm so glad you had a fun meetup and discovered a colleague so nearby.
    RE the process--I think you're right, it's designed for the unencumbered/young/both. But now that most people coming through the process are second (or more) career, it's actually surprisingly difficult to jump through the hoops as a young person, because the people running the process don't, for the most part, really believe young people can be ministers. So, while I don't have your experience, I (who went to seminary straight from college) still had a difficult time because of who I am/how old I was/my family situation. sigh.

    Maybe one day we'll realize that the one-size-fits-all thing doesn't really serve anyone? (I can dream!)

  2. Regarding age/experience and youth/creative visions -- as usual, it is both-and, rather than either-or. Another notion that comes to me is that sometimes an old spirit dwells in a young body, and youth shines from the eyes and hearts of the older ones among us.

  3. I have experienced and now know far more about having my life turned upside down for this call of ordained ministry that I EVER IMAGINED I'D KNOW....and a whole more than I wish for anyone. sigh. Glad you had the meet-up, I always find them wonderful!

  4. Christin, I don't think I implied that people of any particular age group corner the market on experience or vision, spirituality or energy. My reflection is merely that the process presumes that one is relatively free of external responsibility.

    The same is true of any life calling that demands extensive preparation and proving of oneself. I think I didn't notice it in law school because I had virtually no responsibility for my extended family and could bend myself easily to fit all the scheduled impositions and expectations.

    And Terri, I can see that youth creates its own challenges in dealing with CPMs.

  5. I often wonder what this first year of teaching would have been like if I were younger and less encumbered. Sometimes I think it's a good thing that I'm so tired all the time, it's easier to stay calm when you don't have the energy to get mad.

  6. Robin, I see this same perspective with my husband as he moves through the journey to the Permanent Diaconate.

    I once read a fabulous book by Joan Borysenko about the stages of a woman's life and she is of the opinion that women really hit their stride around 50 .... the culture just can't seem to figure out what to do with us!


  7. I think that about my second career colleagues ALL the time now. ALL the time. And I think about my previous educational experiences and think "I had NO idea how lucky I was."