Sunday, August 14, 2011

Dogs and God's Will

My times are in your hands…” regardless
(Psalm 31:15)

I can think of nothing else that fits more clearly where I am in this journey. All along I have thought I was following “God’s will”…at least in my prayers, I continued to ask God to guide me. All I wanted was to do what I thought God was calling me to do.

One of the things I was told while in discernment, both initially with my spiritual director and later with my discernment committee, was to listen to the voice of the community. That voice was a primary factor in us leaving Fort Worth. That voice said we want you as a priest. We believe God is calling you to be a priest.
After a year in Saint Louis, living and working within a divided community as the director of Christian Education for youth and children, again, I heard those same words.

Our “home” parish in Fort Worth, St. Stephen’s in Hurst, has a long history of controversies and splits. So also our much loved second home, Christ the King. It doesn’t take the “gay agenda” to send anyone into a frenzy. Frenzies happen anywhere there are two or more gathered together, in God’s name or otherwise. So, Christ Church Cathedral was no different. Parishes live on the edge of divide constantly. It is rarely one thing; ten other controversies hover at any given moment.

But having come into the Episcopal Church during all the different but constant stream of differences, there has always been one idea in my heart – We are one in the body of Christ regardless of where our minds are. There are always opportunities to gather people into that body and remind them that is exactly what they are, the body of Christ.

So, I sit in the midst of a bit of confusion for this time. Part of the confusion rests with my discernment committee, which often felt as though I was on trial and they the judge rather than in the midst of a discernment which needed the whole of us to work together to discern God's will. They ended up split: two believed priesthood, two diaconate (with lots of accolades for my lay ministry).

Another part comes from the Commission on Ministry. I know that they did not appreciate my answer regarding finances. To the question: ‘Have you thought about the expense of going to seminary should it be determined that you are to go on,’ I answered, “yes I have thought of it but I have come too far trusting that God will give us what we need as we need it to start worrying now about that.”

I was told that another concern they had was my age – how old I would be after going to seminary, if need be. I am not sure what to do with that concern, especially in light of the fact that others have been, are being ordained at ages older than my own. Considering the fact that I already have a Master of Theological Studies, half, at least, of any seminary education is complete. That’s two years less anyone might worry their ‘pretty little head about.’ (a quote from the Congressman Jim Wright when I asked him a question long ago)

I am sure that COM had other concerns but these are the two that were given me.

Two things I know for sure: I will grow older…unless I die and I cannot begin to worry about building up treasures for anything…not even this. My treasures are far too many now. I continue to work at getting rid of these, not acquiring more.

But I also know one other thing. The Canaanite woman in today's Gospel knew what so many did not. Jesus listened to her because he had no choice; her faith was bigger than his opinion. She knew that he did not have to like her, nor did he have to believe her worthy. It didn’t matter that he thought her on the level of a “dog” or that he believed what desire he might grant her would be better served going to one of the chosen ones. (Matthew 15:21-28)

She believed in him. And he realized it. And it was enough to make him realize he was wrong. It was enough.

Just as her times were in the hand of Jesus, so also are mine. I have held back for three years now. I have held myself in check because I didn’t want to offend anyone with my “radical” thoughts or words.  I want to return to my “root”.

I have served myself… and God…unwisely. Writing has always been an outlet, a way to process, a way to share what I feel inside. It is one way that the Spirit speaks to me. Worried more about what others might think, I shoved aside my gifts, concerned that these might be seen as too forward or as an annoyance.

I don’t know what I will do about discernment. I was not told no, merely to wait a little bit. COM heard a call to ministry; they just didn’t hear to which ministry. But the two things won’t change.

But I can. I can return to that root. I can also rest assured that, just as Merton prayed so also can I. By the very fact that I want to do God’s will, God must be pleased. Therefore, I will continue trying to do that very thing.

It is enough.

2 comments:

Debbie said...

"I have served myself… and God…unwisely. Writing has always been an outlet, a way to process, a way to share what I feel inside. It is one way that the Spirit speaks to me. Worried more about what others might think, I shoved aside my gifts, concerned that these might be seen as too forward or as an annoyance."
Writing has ALWAYS been your "gift" dear one. It is such an awesome present to all those who open it and receive what's inside. Don't let ANYONE or ANY SITUATION ever squelch it again. All my
love....for always d

Lindy said...

I have no doubt that you've been called to a great and glorious, truly magnificent priesthood. I have to say, though, I do not see how ordination could be anything but an impediment to such. Forget about those procedures -- you give them too much power and importance -- and go out there and live into the priesthood you already have! XO. L.