Thank God, another blog

Hi Folks,

The internet doesn't have enough clutter in it, so I decided to start another blog. Actually, I'm replacing an old blog that I've kept on myspace, because myspace creeps me out, and because it's generally too difficult to access.

For those that followed that blog, the topics will pretty much remain the same--complaints mostly, like most blogs, and my all-important insight into the nature of life, religion and truth. I'll also be chronicaling the ups and downs of my discernment for the Episcopal Priesthood, which is actually the topic of this first blog.

I actually have to complain that I'm pretty much fed up with that process right now. To help you understand why, here's a brief chronicle of my ministry discernment to this stage:

Age 17: Feel called to ministry
Age 18: Attend Evangelical College, majoring in Biblical Studies and Theology
Age 19: Volunteer Summer working with youth group
Age 20: Get paid $150/week for summer working 50 hour weeks with youth group
Age 21: Start to feel conflicted about ministry call and Evangelical Faith
Age 22: Graduate, generally avoid ministry work as Customer Service Rep at Best Western Signature Inn, Louisville, KY
Age 23: Move to New Zealand to get Masters in Theology, try out Anglicanism as possible salve for spiritual angst, work in the Anglican Diocese of Dunedin as Youth Ministry Educator
Age 24: Make decision to pursue the Anglican priesthood
Age 25: Share decision with others, have it supported, learn that it would take about two years to get ordained in NZ w/my experience and education. Recieve Theology Masters, move back to the US. Contact diocese of Western Washington (where my wife and I moved) to talk to someone about ordination, get stiff armed by the diocesan office ("Look at the Website for information on the Canons", read "we don't have time to talk to you about this"). Find out the process of achieving ordination is something like 7 years in the American Episcopal Church
Age 26: Get confirmed as Episcopalian despite reservations. Begin discernment in parish community. Jump through hoops. Get assigned mentoring priest. Have process go generally well--feel I'm progressing nicely and on schedule.
Age 27: Get within a month or so of next step towards ordination (assignment of "personal discernment committee"--another group of people to examine me and officially put their stamp of approval on me, so I can be passed on to a bishop for yet another stamp). Find out with less than a week's notice that mentoring priest has been abruptly fired by community for financial reasons. Find out I'll have to begin again with a new mentoring priest in a community I no longer trust. Await reassignment. Resign myself to an added 6 months to a year for discernment process. Curse decision to not pursue ordaination in New Zealand, (which I'm convinced is the better world that we're all looking for).

As you can see, it's already been a 10 year process, and I'm not currently seeing any light at the end of the tunnel--despite Church lipservice to desire to make the discernment process transparent and nurturing, and stated desire to draw young leaders to the church to help engage people 35 and under. Here's my extrapolation into the future of my discernment process (probably colored a little bit by the fact that I stayed up all night last night).

Age 28: Continue with discernment, begin taking university classes (again).
Age 29: Finally move on to Seminary for a year or two. Move across country to do so, short-circuiting ministry involvement in home diocese, wife's career path. Get disgruntled with the establishment nature of the Episcopal Church, lack of missional vision, understanding of anyone below middle class tax bracket.
Age 30: Nervous breakdown and recovery, begin again at beginning of discernment process.
Age 32: Give up, take job as Customer Service Representative at Best Western. Give up on Church. Start my own. Begin referring to myself as Brother Bishop Timothy.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Hahahaha. I love it. In the end you see yourself returning to Best Western. On your way back to the hotel, could you pick up some safety pins, please? Brother Bishop Timothy, you know that's what dear Glendon would want. He’s really the person you should be worshiping. Joshing aside, you're destined for great things – you know that. How you define great, however, is entirely based upon what great means to you (obviously). I can most assuredly say that it means following your passion in life and staying the heck away from the fiery pits of Best Western. Whether you end up at the exact point you have in your mind in which to arrive at or not, you’ve definitely put forth a commendable effort thus far in your young life. Best of luck to you now, and all the days of your life.
Tim Mathis said…
This is what I love about the internet--I haven't heard from Michael O'Bannon in about a year, but here he is on my blog! I hope things are well in Loo uh vul.

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