Heavy, or Every Church Has it's Problems...

Things have been a little heavy around our place lately--Angel's grandma--who she felt really close to--passed away a month or so ago. Angel's in that full on thesis stage where nuances of esoteric knowledge get pressing and overwhelming. Politics have been driving us crazy: we're so disillusioned that we've passed over the hump, and have transitioned from just thinking about to now actively planning to move to Canada. Now I'm feeling frustrated with my process of discernment for ordination (again).

Every church has its hang ups. The Episcopal Church in Western Washington is an inspiring organization in a lot of ways, and Anglicanism really feels like my last resort when it comes to institutional religion. We are so damn institutional though. I'm starting to have serious questions about whether I'll be able to jump through the hoops set out by the diocese, and whether I won't be asked to make decisions that will be damaging to my wife's career in order to get ordained. The frustrating thing is that we've been preparing for the challenges of the life of the priesthood, and now the deal-breaker could be the challenges of fulfilling preparation requirements. I'm starting to wonder--really for the first time in 3-4 years--whether it might be better to work outside of the church and not deal with these sorts of frustrations--often pragmatic problems with process and structure which are wrapped up in theological language and spiritualized justifications that you don't have to face in the extra-clerical world. I'm not questioning my sense of calling: my theological and practical understanding of the role of the priest in the community is the same as its been, and it's a job I'd like to do. I've just known a lot of people who were victims of the priesthood, and even victims of the hierarchy of the Church (which is ostensibly there for support and for the good of its ministers), and I'm starting to question whether I want to risk that for myself and for my family when there are other options available.

I haven't given up yet. The seed of doubt has been planted, but I'm going to fight through and test whether our structures really are there for the common good. This is, after all, a last resort kind of place I'm in, and I do still believe in the possibility of change.

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