Finally, a Note on the Power of the Priesthood

Finally, I'd like to conclude my discussion with a note on the power of the priesthood.

Essentially, a priest becomes a physical representation of God to people. That's a daunting task. However, it's also a uniquely empowering situation to put oneself in. When a priest blesses or proclaims forgiveness, it has an authority for some that a blessing or proclaimation of forgiveness by the average individual doesn't. The priest is a sanctioned rep. of both God and church community, so they have an authority--legitimately or otherwise--that is higher than the authority of the layperson.

The priest also possesses a higher authority in the pulpit than others--again, for good or ill, legitimately or illegitimately. (Somewhat ironically, I personally would like to use that power to help diffuse some of the priest's authority, to help church members see that we really are a community organization, and that lay people really do shape and direct the church, and really do stand on equal footing before God with the ordained. I don't fully trust centralized authority, and think that the community has to function as a check to the priest.) I believe in a progressive theology, and I believe that that theology is important to the future of the church. Ordination, to me, represents a necessary step towards helping to shape the future of the church's beliefs and practices in a way that I believe is consistent with truth, love, justice, tradition,and scripture.

Finally, and related to this, the priest possesses higher authority in church leadership. Honestly, that's one of the most exciting aspects of ordination to me--the call to take my place on church councils, and help to shape and direct the future of the church. The church, particularly the Anglican communion, is in a difficult place, but is dealing with really important moral and religious issues. Finding my voice in our ongoing debates about sexuality, war, environment, poverty, disease and global inequality is central to the reason I want to be a part of the church, and more specifically, ordained to leadership in the church. It's a chance to be involved in a truly worldwide organization with international influence.