Reservations along the Way

It's been a long time since I've posted anything substantial and personal here: back to school, I'm feeling like all of my energy and time have now been allotted, which is kind of depressing honestly. It's also grey and rainy, and Vitamin D supplement season has officially commenced in Seattle, which I suppose is what leads me to take some introspective/self-indulgent time here.

As a postulant I'm having the same sorts of reservations about life in the church that I had as an aspirant. By marrying a mainline church, lots of signs suggest that I'm getting on a sinking ship. Religion - no matter how 'progressive' - is one more way of reinforcing the human tendency towards tribalism. Religious orders are an inherently idealistic pursuit, but idealistic compromises are constantly necessary in order to work in the institution and real human community. I want to be liked, and have a strong instinct against setting up boundaries, but by pursuing ordination in anything but the Universal Life Church I will be shaping myself into a person that many people, frankly, won't like. I love the richness and comprehensiveness of the Anglican tradition, but I know that ultimately, in some ways, it will be limiting and damaging for me, and for people I care about.

From a career perspective, I'm wondering how I'll make peace with the fact that I might spend the bulk of my career patching together jobs in order to make ends meet and live out the role in the community that I feel called to. (I'm sure I can find full-time work in the religious world - but that isn't clearly the same thing as living out the role that I'm called to.) I'm still sorting through what it is that I'll be giving up for the sake of ordination, and who it is that I'll be alienating for the sake of the institution.

And theologically, how do I find the connection between what I believe and what the community espouses? And what other people care about? And, of course, truth?

I think part of the discernment process is coming to philosophical peace with all of those sorts of reservations. And figuring out how to be honest in a system that often discourages it. And figuring out how to connect and lead people, despite the fact that 1) you have no right and 2) you aren't going to get it totally right. In some ways priesthood is like any other job - you make compromises because you have a role to play, and you have to make money. In other ways its a real privilege - a chance to play a sort of artistic role, helping people create beautiful things together, and helping communities unite and act to improve our collective lives. It's reinforcing hope through ritual and dealing with the challenges of reality in the attempt to shape the world into something a little better.

But there's always the possibility that I'm just being foolish.


KJ said…
Oh, I hope we're all a bit foolish. Otherwise, what's the point and where's the adventure?

Prayers for peace and discernment.