Forgiveness or Permission.

Most of us are familiar with the old saying, "It's easier to get forgiveness than permission."

I don't really agree with it. I make a joke of it every so often, but my general feeling is that it tears away trust, and that's extremely hard to gain back.

Having said that...

I'd really like to do an ecumenical Spiritual Direction training program. This is what I alluded to a while back-- the thing I could do while I was on hold with seminary. There's a cost, but the time commitment is not massive. I could easy engage in other formation while I'm doing it. My job is willing to accomodate it.

But I don't think my rector will like it (mostly because it's not Anglican, doesn't follow his model of "Spiritual Direction should be given by an ordained Anglican, period"). No idea whether the COM will like it, though it would address their concerns. Who knows about my bishop?

I'm a Postulant. I'm Officially In The Process. But I'm not going anywhere, exactly, because we cannot afford seminary right now-- I'm thinking roughly two years. It may well be a BIG HUBBALLOO if I sign up w/o my (on sabbatical) rector signing off. On the other hand, I'm a Postulant On Hold for the foreseeable future because of finances. I'm not sure what the point of postulancy is if you don't head right off to seminary. I'm concerned that I might slip through the cracks, and if that happens, I would really regret not taking this training opportunity. I'd hoped to talk to the head of my COM about it while my rector is on sabbatical, but I'm not sure I'm going to get a chance to do that.

Feedback would be great.


  1. I think you should definitely be talking to someone. Do you have a COM liaison who knows you well? Or do you feel comfortable talking to your bishop?

    Even if you eventually need to beg forgiveness from your rector, I imagine it might go better if you've been in conversation with others involved in the process. Not even necessarily for permission, but so that you can honestly say to your rector that you've been discerning in community about how your time is best spent while you're waiting to attend seminary.

    And not only that, but for your own sake.. I'm not always good about letting people into my own discernment/decision-making process, but when I have it's always been enormously helpful.

  2. The COM people I know well are:
    1)My rector's wife
    2) The spiritual director who is unhappy that I stopped seeing her.

    I can't see my bishop w.o. going through my rector.

    It's a new verse of the same problem-- I feel like I'm just fighting all the time.

  3. It's got to be frustrating; I know I'd be nuts by now.

    Were it me I'd totally sign up, but you may have noticed I have certain Issues with authority. I will say that the program itself looks really nice and I wish I'd known about it back when I lived in PA.

    Not that the ex would have let me go, mind you... *sighs*

  4. Forgot to add -- lacking actual advice, you have my prayers for your decision (which are more useful than any advice I'd be likely to come up with anyway).

  5. (Off topic and coming very late to this particular party:)

    Would you still like a chess pie recipe? The one I use is classic and awesome...so much sugar it makes its own little crunchy crust on top...and passes the Sweet Potato Queen's die-happy test as well (LOL). Just say the word and I will be happy to share.

  6. I believe that anything that nurtures your soul and helps you stay in touch with the divine is worthwhile, if not essential. But I understand the problem and am not sure exactly what to tell you.

    My best advise - follow your hearts desire. What will make your heart sing?

  7. I am sorry this is turning into such a torment for you. I have said before that I am troubled by your rector's limited view of spiritual direction, but I know next to nothing about your tradition and its expectations and whom you may have to satisfy to end up where you ultimately want to be.

    I am doing this kind of crazy thing where I am going to a Presbyterian seminary and also training in spiritual direction from an Ignatian perspective, both starting in the next few weeks, but so far everyone official seems fine with that -- except for their concerns about overload. In the end I have been able to go with the "what makes your heart sing?" standard for call.

    It does seem that you need to talk with someone to get some clarity about offical expectations -- because from here it seems emminently sensible that you should do the Oasis program for two years and then go to seminary when you can afford it. The Oasis program would be a wonderful gift in and of itself, and a fabulous grounding for semianry.

  8. Oh, Mrs. M., what a stress pile. The program looks great and your rector would be way out of line to object to your doing it--but then he is already showing his ignorance about spiritual direction with the mistaken belief that ordination substitutes for 1) a charism for that ministry and 2) training to do it effectively.

    Side rant: too many ordained folks make that mistake...I knew a TEC priest who went on and on about his unworthiness to do spiritual direction and that he was appalled when he was asked (people often ask priests or nuns, not knowing that the ministry has no necessary connection with official religious status or how else to find someone. But he did it anyway, because his own director gave him permission....And when I suggested that he get training from one of the several excellent local programs he replied that he didn't have time.

    Anyway, I too have been known to throw caution to the winds and suffer some major consequences in pursing my vocation, so keep that in mind as you assess my perspective....but I, like others, would say follow your heart and if this is something that will nourish your spirit and form you for ministry I wouldn't sacrifice it for something that isn't guaranteed. And though COMs can certainly be nuts it is hard to imagine one rejecting you for ordination because you sought an additional qualification from a respectable source.

    Prayers for your discernment and peace of mind, above all.


"So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was."
-Saint Molly Ivins