Pacifist Seeks War Stories

OK, RevGals, I know that I'm not the only one to have ever gotten a few bruises on the ordination/discernment path. I would be more grateful than I can tell you if you would please take a couple of minutes to tell me about the battles along the way. Difficult personalities, rough classes, finances,whatever. I want to hear that the people on the other side had rough waters sometimes too. Speak to me of the -isms: sexism, narcissism, workaholism, etc.

Talk to me about having gotten to the other side.


I am a Postulant.

I think.

I interviewed with the Commission on Thursday. They recommended that I be granted postulancy, and usually that's that. They voiced reservations, which my bishop shared (can be simplified as "too much head, not enough heart"), so I don't totally, completely feel like I'm approved. Should get a letter soon from the bishop's office to confirm (or, there's a slim chance, not).

It was a really rough day. I've been congratulated, but the day was so hard that I'm not really celebrating. Maybe I was lulled into a false sense of security-- the last time I met with these people it was a breeze. This time they were running behind, so I didn't get in to meet with them until an hour and a half after my appointed time. The meeting itself felt rushed, and I feel awkward in retrospect. It's funny (and not) that I've spent a good bit of my (albeit short) professional life in HR, coaching people on what's appropriate during an interview. DON'T TALK ABOUT PERSONAL INFORMATION being a standard rule. It can be hard to learn to break.


Tag! I'm it.

I've been tagged! MoCat was gracious enough to ask for 6 weird things about me. (The challenge, of course, is narrowing it down...)

1. I'm a big fan of cheddar cheese and dill pickle sandwiches.

2. I don't like squishy foods. Texture is a big thing for me.

3. I could re-read Jennifer Crusie's fun novels until the cows come home. I really want to be buddies with her characters.

4. I really hate the phone. I love spending time with people, and I like letters, but I hate the phone.

5. I love my toes. Pedicures are my favorite form of pampering, and even when I'm buttoned-up and dressed like a yuppy nun, my toes are wild colors.

6. I'm wild about The West Wing. I'm fairly sure it's Martin Sheen I want to run away with, but I'd certainly be open to considering Dule Hill. And frankly, I want to be just like Allison Janney's character (CJ Craig) when I grow up.

Now, I tag Pink Shoes , Revem , Jennifer, willsmama.

(Can't do the whole 6, too sleepy!)


Virginia Tech

Holy God,
Holy and Mighty,
Holy Immortal One,
Have mercy upon us.


Please hold me in the light!

Hello, friends.

Just a quick request for prayer-- a little joy and a little concern.

I did a little student loan magic, which means I should be able to ransom my transcripts from college! BUT, let's all go outside, turn around three times, and spit, rather than assume for sure that everything will work out. So, that's half the situation.

The other half is that I INTERVIEW FOR POSTULANCY next Thursday morning (around 11). For those of you not of the Episcopal persuasion, this more or less means that I'm being interviewed by 20+ people regarding whether the diocese should endorse my going to seminary/continuing discernment.

I'm feeling pretty peaceful about this lately (see post below regard small voices), but would be very, very grateful for any prayers offered.



I am of the opinion that there are many people who pick our children's names long before they're ready to conceive, and that Mr. M and I are not the only nutsos that do this.

Anyway, Mr. M and I decided on names for each gender some time ago, though we don't expect the pitter-patter of little feet for a number of years.

And then last night we were discussing a historical woman for whom I have a great deal of respect. And I started to rethink our name choice.

But today-- AHA! I am pleased to tell you I found that this marvelous woman was known by her middle name, and her first name was what we wanted from the start.

I'm a little smug. What a happy surprise.


Institutional Dysfunction

I'm thinking about dysfunction today in part because I just read an old RevGals book discussion http://revgalblogpals.blogspot.com/2007/03/revgalbookpals-book-discussion-group.html on Barbara Brown Taylor's Leaving Church. I was a little relieved to hear other women echo my questions: Where were her boundaries? Where was her self-care? Why didn't she understand that she alone can't fix people?

I've temped, off and on, for about 3 years. In the course of that time I've worked for a couple of financial institutions, and otherwise I've mainly worked for non-profits or government agencies. In addition to this, I've worked with about three churches (interning, as a parishioner, and as an HR consultant) enough to see the mechanics.

I am sorry to tell you that the level of professionalism and courtesy is not equal in the private and public sectors. The negative behaviors I've learned about through Al-Anon and CoDA are rampant, and the pseudoChristian belief that we shouldn't take care of ourselves certainly aggravates the dynamics in many faith-based non-profits. (Please understand: there are crazy corporate environments, too. I'm not excluding them from human insanity, just sharing that in my experience it's more pronounced in service-oriented environments.)

It's not unusual to see a strong reluctance to communicate honestly. I've seen stubbornness bordering on belligerence when either teamwork or performance beyond minimum requirements is requested. I've see power and control issues, and social bullying.

Here are my questions: Where does this come from, and what can those of us in leadership positions (or who will be in leadership positions) do about it?

Is it the low level of compensation? Is it low expectations? Does the stubbornness come from lack of training?

And what do we do about it? The first answer I come up with is to keep a sharp awareness of boundaries and respect. I can think of instances in church life where relationships and ministry have just about burned down because appropriate boundaries weren't observed from the very beginning of a project. Is part of our responsibility to share about the ways we struggle with healthy dynamics in our own lives, in order to increase awareness?

I'm starting to believe it would be great to have 12-Step groups just for pastors to try to stay sane.


Maundy Thurday

Today, clearly, is not Thursday at all, never mind Maundy Thursday. But I didn't blog over Holy Week (I felt lucky to eat over Holy Week), and I wanted to share with you about Maundy Thursday.

Usually, it's Good Friday that knocks me off my feet, but there I was somehow lukewarm this year. Instead, it was Last Supper Day that got under my skin.

I served the chalice for our dear rector (picture an opinionated garden gnome-- a wise one, though). He drives me out of my mind as often as not, though I love him dearly and respect him quite a lot. As I move through the process of discernment, his relationship with me has become much more instructive, and much less pastoral. While often helpful, this can be aggravating.

But Thursday evening I acolyted and served, and stood nearby as my grumpy, creaky padre washed the feet of his parishioners. Some of whom are wild about him, some of whom have had harsh words for him. He eased himself down onto achy knees, and crouched on the hard church floor. We began a rotation: bowl, pitcher, towel, bowl, pitcher, towel. He shifted and poured and dried. Only one congregant thanked him-- surprisingly, one with whom he's had a great deal of conflict.

And thus Jesus turned my vision things upside down again (as he is wont to do). Though my rector clenches his fist around his role as captain of the ship, his vunerability was present on Thursday. The sight brought a strange combination of relief and sorrow.

The Still Small Voice Must Be Crazy

I had a thought this morning that clearly was not my own, as I was extremely uncomfortable with it.

First you should probably understand that I'm a bit superstitious about this whole ordination thing. I'm not quite at the point where I make Mr. M go outside, turn around three times, and spit when he says "when" I'm ordained (rather than "if"), but I'm very, very close to that point.

I was interacting with a new group of people, and it looks like the dynamics are a little strained. I asked myself (as I do occasionally) how I would present myself in this environment if I were a priest? The still, small answer that came back wasn't from me: "You are."

I beg your pardon? Clearly you haven't been paying attention. Several other people have to weigh in on this. I still have seminary apps to fill out-- never mind classes to attend, internships to do, and CPE to complete. What do you mean, I already am? PEOPLE HAVE TO APPROVE FIRST!

And the explanation that came back was something like this:

I made you. I'm the one that makes your priesthood, or doesn't. Other people can recognize it, but I created it, Sweetie Pie. You're mine, and they're my plans for you.

Well, okay then. That's a new way of looking at things.