My process has gone into a bit of a self-imposed hiatus. While I have managed to pick up a temporary job that will allow me to have the money to cover August’s rent, my financial situation is still tenuious at best. Its a little frustrating to me, as I was finally making some progress on my path to seminary. While I haven’t had a lot of time to concentrate on this process in the past month or so, I have been doing a little work on it as well. I recently re-read Bill Countryman’s book Living on the Border of the Holy: Renewing the Priesthood of All. Once I get a little more settled with my current job situation, I’ll probably re-read it again, as there was definitely more that I wanted to delve into with that book. Especially in regards to my call towards an ordained ministry. I really like the idea though, that we are all priests in the church and that the “ordained” priesthood is just a sacramental priesthood and that we shouldn’t view the ordained/laiety groups as opposites.
Jul 14 2006
Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2006/the-timesthey-are-a-changing/
Jun 27 2006
I have for approximately six years been striving towards a goal of attending seminary and becoming an Episcopal priest. It has been a long journey to get there and get to the point where this goal was within site. One of the first things holding me up on this journey has been the completion of my undergraduate degree. Between my poor study habits and only going to school part time, this ended up taking quite awhile. However, with the completion of a French class this past spring I have finally completed the requirements to receive my degree. The second thing holding me up in my process has been moves. Sometimes this is just moving parishes in the same town, but it has also been moving cities as well. But all that aside, I am finally have a discernment committee going and am more or less officially in the process towards gaining approval to go to seminary on an ordination track.
Which brings me to the last couple of months. After a time of relatively little struggle and making some progress to my goal, I’ve encountered some difficult times. First, it was at a relationship level. Then just about the time that I was coming to terms with that struggle, my job situation went downhill. At the firm where I have been working there has been a lot of turnover among the office management. Eventually that has led to my dismissal as the last manager and my personalities did not gel. While this wouldn’t be as big of a deal in a bigger office, our office was basically a two person office. So it was important that our personalities were compatible.
So what does this all mean to my journey. Well, to be honest I’m not really sure. I have been struggling with some doubt in regards to it or at least the timing. I feel a little lost right now, in both my love and work lives. I’m struggling a lot with fear right now. What happens if my process stalls? What do I do if it does? What happens if I don’t find a new job quickly? I have faith…but I also have doubts. I still feel very strongly about my call to the priesthood, yet I struggle to put it in the right words. Most of all I wonder what is next for me. What do I do now…before I can go to seminary?
Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2006/discernment-and-the-state-of-the-state/
May 13 2006
I’ve lately been looking through some of my old poems in order to help find some of the ways that I began to understand my call to the priesthood. The poem below was written when I was in very early stages of understanding my call.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2006/the-road-less-traveled/
Apr 25 2006
My neighbor went and saw Ira Glass at the conclusion of the Wordstock festival Sunday night. She related the following story from his presentation: (Thanks Elizabeth!)
so last night [Ira Glass]
played a short clip [listen to the clip at the bottom of this post]
from a guy who was trying to explain to his daughter
about the crucifixion of christ
after driving by a cross
with jesus on it
he explained that at the time “do unto others” was a radical idea
and he told it in little 4-year-old language
a couple weeks later was martin luther king day
so he was off work
when his daughter wanted to know why
he explained the story of martin luther king
the girl asked
did he tell the stuff jesus told?
her father said, actually, yes
then she asked
“did they kill him too?”
at the end ira closed with a thought
and it choked him up
there is so much wrong in the world today
but i do believe
that the best way, the only way
to overcome the evils
is to be ourselves
it didn’t sound corny
i think the success of ira’s show
that we are all of the same cloth
that we yearn to hear of the joys and plights and sorrows and absurdities of others
because they are all within us
we hear it and we know
it is real
Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2006/do-unto-others/
Apr 24 2006
So I’ve had some time to think about the options for the next few months that I was considering last month. I have decided that the Los Angeles option is not going to happen. While it would be a great opportunity, now is not the time for that path.
As for the other option of pursuing some sort of mission work with the church…that is still on the radar, but as an attraction. Its something that I will explore more if for some reason my current discernment process stalls for some reason. For now I feel what is best is to keep going down the path I am already on.
It definitely did help that my roommate (and one of my best friends) has decided to stick around for awhile. He was considering moving back to where his family lives (St. Louis). So for now the status quo will remain in effect. Though we do have start looking for a new third roommate as our temporary roommate from Quebec is leaving mid-May.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2006/whats-ahead-at-least-in-the-short-term/
Apr 23 2006
So I still seem to be struggling with articulating how I got to the point where I am now with my call. Or more importantly…how I realized my call. Its been such a long time that I’ve felt that the priesthood is my “calling” that I have in some ways forgotten how I got to this point.
Vocationally, I have always felt most fulfilled in my career when I’ve working in positions of service. I’ve had a few different jobs in my short career history. I’m going to touch on four of the significant ones (at least in terms of my vocational discernment).
First: (in chronological order)
My first longer term job during college was at LensCrafters in the lab manufacturing glasses. This job wasn’t difficult on an intellectual level…once I learned the processes, it was in fact pretty mechanical/repetitive. But I felt I was truely helping others to see, eventually learning more than just the manufacturing processes, but also many of the skills of an optician. I think perhaps this when I first began to understand the rewards of living a life of service to the community.
My second long term job during college was working at Symantec in the Order Processing department. This was an entry level job that I hoped would get me in the door to something in the tech support/desktop support/IT fields. I worked there for about 2.5 years. The last six months of this job was incredibely draining on both my physical psyche and spiritual self. I think a large part of this, was that I wasn’t able to see my career as doing anything to serve the community. Now I know that in a way I was serving the community and that in everything I do, I should be doing it in a spirit of humility and servitude. I just wasn’t seeing it.
By this time in my academic career, I had also moved on to a goal of going to seminary as opposed to getting a teaching certificate. Since my career at Symantec was stagnating, I decided to leave my job there and go back to school full time to finish my degree. That way I could finally get started on my goal of going to seminary.
After completing my final term at the UofO, I began to look for a full time job to support myself while I began the process towards heading to seminary. At first I looked mainly in Eugene, however eventually I had to expand my search to Portland, as I was having difficulty finding a job. Part of the problem during this job search was I knew what I wanted to do for a career, however I couldn’t do it yet, because there was still this process to complete. So in a way I was rudderless. I ended up getting a job as an “Admissions Advisor” for an online university. This was basically an inside sales job. I emphasize inside because while all our leads were supposably “warm,” many of them were actually requesting some other sort of information when they gave us their information. In our training we were told to find the “pain” of the person we were talking to and use that to help them complete an education and overcome that pain. For example, this was not long after a couple of hurricanes had struck Florida. In training we were told ways to overcome the potential students objections for reasons like “Well I don’t really have a computer because it and my house were destroyed during the hurricane.” Our reponse was supposed to be along the lines of; “Well what better time to return to school and complete your education while you are rebuilding other aspects of your life as well.”
In the end, I could not ascribe to the philosophy of the place I was working. I wasn’t comfortable exploiting the “pains” of the community for the benefit of my corporate bosses. I began to look for another job, eventually finding something with a temporary agency at a substantial paycut. This paycut was worth every penny in peace of mind however.
At my current job, I am a paralegal/office manager for a small local branch of a larger national law firm. Our firm practices in consumer bankruptcies. Once again I am in a position where I am serving the community. One of the things that I really enjoy about this job is the added benefit of some intellectual stimulation and being able to utilize my administrative skills (which I feel to be one of my better skill sets). For the first time in a long time, I am enjoying my job, despite it just being a job and not a vocation. More importantly, I am able to live my “priestly” vocation in my current job.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2006/how-did-i-get-here/
Apr 22 2006
So one of the things over heard at my friends ordination on thursday was: “So he’s just being ordained as a deacon?” To which the woman sitting next to me whispers: “Just a deacon?” She being in the final stages of her process to be ordained to the deaconate. For the non-Episcopalians reading this there are two types of deacons in the Episcopal Church. There is a vocational deaconate…which is the folks that are called to the deaconate as a vocation. And there is the transitional deaconate, which is what my friend was ordained to. This is a period of approx. six months before being ordained to the “full” priesthood.
So at my monthly discernment committee meeting on friday, I was telling the members about being at the ordination. However, none of us were quite sure what the purpose of the transitional deaconate. So I decided to email my friend and ask him what he thought about it.
His simple answer was it was a time on going discerment. A period of time for the church and yourself to make sure that this “call” is the right thing after all. More importantly (at least in his opinion), is that it gives you chance to begin to identify with the sense of servanthood and servent leadership that is critical for clergy. I like that idea.
One of the things I did this weekend is re-read the ordination services for both the deaconate and the priesthood. That was a good thing for me to do…to look at the differences in the service and apply them to what I see my call being. That however will have to be touched on in a future post.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2006/just-a-deacon/
Apr 21 2006
last night i attended an ordination for the first time. my old chaplain at the UofO was ordained into the transitional deaconate. for me personally…it was just a public affirmation/ceremony of something that was already apparent.
the service itself was very traditional and formal. and while that isn’t the style of liturgy i’m used to these days…i was still able to connect with it. its one of the things i love about the church…the wide variety of liturgical expressions i’ve been exposed to.
it was also interesting for me to view this service with the idea that it could be me as the “subject” behind the service some day soon. as a result there were a few things that i particularly reacted to. however those will be touched on in a later blog entry this weekend.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2006/on-a-ordination/
Apr 20 2006
…one the the places i always feel most connected to my “call” is during the Maundy Thursday service. It always seems to ground my feeling of the call. When I’m having doubts about my call to the priesthood…it brings me back into it. When my call is getting a little egoistic…it helps to bring me back to my knees and ground me.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2006/maundy-thursday-cont/
Apr 14 2006
I feel such a visceral connection to the services of holy week. None more so than maundy thursday service though. I would like my life to mirror the prinicples of the Maundy Thursday service.
And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean.
When we are down on our knees, washing anothers feet, we are completely vulnerable. But more importantly we are in service to them, humbling ourselves to them. It is something I always want to be concious of, being humble and in service to all around me.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2006/maundy-thursday/