Doors closing or opening?
I’m not paranoid, I know people are watching my every move.
As you try to discern if God is calling you to be ordained it can feel as the Church is watching and analysing your every move: CCTV cameras trained on you, hidden cameras in place to catch you unaware, spies and informers reporting back to headquarters. Of course that is nonsense, there is no need for the church to watch or inform you because you will be informing on yourself, and willingly so.
It’s always the same
I’m having a nervous breakdown
Drive me insane!
I started the summer waiting to move into the next stage of the discernment process: meetings with Examining Chaplains and a Bishop to decide if I should go to a ordination selection conference (the BAP). I was still waiting by the end of the summer.
I had suspected my Diocesan Director of Ordinands (DDO) had been a little optimistic in his planning for the next stage of my discernment journey but I had no reason to question his judgment on how the next stage would progress. Prior to heading off into retirement my DDO was handing those he was guiding to the remaining DDO , for her to arrange the meetings.
Whereas when I reached this stage before I had been asked to write 3 essays to give the Examining Chaplains an insight into my mind, personality and faith (see Rescued from the darkness; Defining Ordination is harder than you think!; and Challenging and Exiting Times). This time though things had changed, and sensibly so.
It is time to prepare for re-entry
There was a time when exploring ordination felt like being on an express train: things happened regularly and quickly. Each week there was something new, some new issue to wrestle with, some new emotional struggle to document. More recently it has felt like being on a canal boat or the International Space Station: slowly drifting along, detached from the goings on of life. The detachment has been somewhat comforting. Like astronauts left alone on the International Space Station I have been able to observe the fragility from afar, whilst similarly connected to it by the sporadic communication from the Ground Control that is the church. But the time has come to re-enter the world of ordination and face the fire that comes with it. Continue reading
Stuck in a cul-de-sac with no reverse gear
I could tell by her tone of voice that it wasn’t good news.
The call from my DDO came earlier than expected. The Advisers at my BAP had not recommended me for ordination training. I felt numb.
I couldn’t find many words to keep the conversation going for long. There didn’t seem much point either when I was told that we wouldn’t find out why for almost a week.
The future that I had been preparing for had fell apart in an instant. I had been preparing for rejection too but experiencing it is very different. My emotions took the expected hit. It felt like a light had gone out, like a door slammed in my face. I knew that I would find it tough to hear such news, that I would be in a state of grief, but I hadn’t planned for my mind to be hit hard as well. Continue reading
A sanctuary for strange days
It is done. My Bishops’ Advisory Panel is over. It was quite an experience, quite a week. There are many people’s experience of a BAP that can be read, many practically focused, some even dealing with the pain of not being recommended. This is my account of my experience; an account of the emotions, fears and joys that someone has and can go through and that needs more words than other types of accounts of going to a BAP.
So if you’re willing and ready, read on! Continue reading
Hello Advisers, I’m a father before I’m a priest (the cake I made for my daughter – see why below).
The clock is ticking but the time is being used unexpectedly, to an extent.
Last week was supposed to be much like the previous week, but quieter. The only thing I had in my diary was another meeting to help me articulate my understanding of the things I might be asked about at my forthcoming Bishops’ Advisory Panel.
It proved to be anything but quiet.
We had planned to put our house on the market this year irrespective of whether we were still looking into ordination or not. Our family and lifestyle has changed a lot since buying our current, and first, home. Continue reading
“Curiously enough, the only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias as it fell was Oh no, not again. Many people have speculated that if we knew exactly why the bowl of petunias had thought that we would know a lot more about the nature of the Universe than we do now.”, Douglas Adams
There I was: sitting down, contemplating the future. Six months in which to prepare for a Bishops’ Advisory Panel lay before me. Plenty of time to sit back, read a bit, debate a bit and contemplate all that God has to offer. No rush, no pressure.
In the midst of this peacefulness my computer and phone sang out in unison. I had mail.
It was the DDO. She had a surprise. I was being invited to attend a BAP in mid-May.
I didn’t expect that.
The tranquility shattered and, not for the first time on this journey, everything that I had envisioned doing fell apart.
Sometimes God doesn’t want your prayers for other people, sometimes He just wants to minister to you.
A Pastor once described the church and the life of a Christian to me as a ship made up of three parts. The bow is a battleship where those on the spiritual front line find themselves; it’s the most vulnerable part of the ship. The stern is a hospital ship, where those damaged on the front line go to recover. Finally there is the cruise ship that makes up the midship. Continue reading
Purple haze all in my brain,
Lately things just don’t seem the same,
Actin’ funny, but I don’t know why,
Excuse me while I kiss the sky.
It was time for the Bishop to make his move. Was it going to be checkmate and game over? I didn’t know. I did know that whatever happened following as a result of meeting my local Bishop was going to be significant. Continue reading
Red Dalek, Yellow, Dalek: Articulate, Articulate, Articulate!
The Bible is peppered with suggestions that strength is found in weakness. On the face it sounds counter-intuitive but realign how you consider such a phrase and the truth is unveiled. The trouble is that identifying and addressing weaknesses so that they can become strengths can be a painful experience. Continue reading