Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Back 2 School

Well I survived another trip to my parents' house. And I'm very glad to be home.

I got a new discernment committee put together. I would have been happy to reconvene the old one but they wanted me to have new people. I'm a bit nervous because I don't actually know any of the people they picked for me. My last committee was made up of friends. Now I have to prove myself to a bunch of strangers.

Of course I am kidding. They're not there to judge me. They are there to help me determine the rest of my life. No pressure.

Sometimes I feel like such a fake. Do other ministers feel this way? I'm not even doing it for real yet and I already feel way too...I guess the word is normal. Not that I'm particularly normal. But I don't feel special enough - of course not spiritual enough, but also there are so many other things. I fight with my husband. I don't get along with my family. I have mommy issues. I react badly when people are gruff or snide or generally mean to me. I'm not really a priestly kind of person. Geezu, I don't even pray regularly. And as some of you have been kind enough to point out, I have a filthy mouth, drink too much (sometimes), and have way too many opinions which I'm not afraid to speak out (and which are not always phrased in the friendliest fashion).

Well so what. Probably not everybody feels perfect, even those sitting around me. I have my things I'm good at. Maybe priesting isn't one of them.

I'm about to start my first systematics class: ecclesiology & eschatology. I'm actually pretty excited - I think I'm going to learn a few things. Okay we are starting - yippee! Back to school!

Last thing: my favorite thing I learned tonight - at least what I most resonated with. Apophatic theology (as understood by Eastern Orthodox theologizers): it is the way of unknowing - we are always in midst of the paradox that the more we know God the more we know we don't know God.

And here's one other thing: the Eucharist isn't something church does, but something it becomes. It's not an object, it is the liturgical purpose of the church. Protestants get together and make the Eucharist. For the Orthodox, when you gather for Eucharist, that makes the church.

Ooooh, I like their eucharistic theology!

Okay, one more thing: the Orthodox won't make a statement about who God will save. Will not take a stand about anyone's salvation, even those in other religions. They are very generous about where HS will work, critical of Western tradition leaving apostolic tradition (but not of individuals).

Did I mention my prof is Orthodox? We ask if she is saved, and she says, "I was saved when Jesus died, I am working out my salvation with fear & trembling, and I hope to be saved when Jesus comes again. There is hope, but not certainty - tomorrow I could turn my back. The Orthodox will not say they know they are saved."

Wow. Damn. I wish they'd loosen up on women & gays. Although my prof is a "tonsured reader" (which caused a flack). So maybe there's more for women to do these days. Wow, I really like it all.

5 comments:

Tyler Simons said...

Sometimes I feel like such a fake. Do other ministers feel this way?

I'm in the same position. Well, my pastor's been a little lazy getting my discernment committee together, so you're that far ahead. I bet I've got you matched as far as salty language goes, though.

Leszek Kolakowski once said, ""A modern philosopher who has never experienced the feeling
of being a charlatan is such a shallow mind that his work is probably not worth reading." I think that's even more true for pastors. That might be my own wishful thinking, though.

Rachel said...

Huzzah for going back to school! I look forward to reading more as you move through these classes.

For what it's worth, I *so* hear you on feeling like a fake. But from where I sit, you're exactly the kind of person we need ("we" here being broadly defined as "the religious world.") God doesn't want some imaginary, theoretical perfect human being to do God's work in the world; apparently, crazy as this sounds, God wants people like us. And all we can do is hand ourselves over, and trust that God knows what God's doing, even if we don't.

:-)

Pisco Sours said...

I feel like a fake as a lawyer, and I've been doing it for over 6 years now. Don't worry overmuch. You'll grow into it.

And I wish fewer people would be so certain they are saved, or at least not take it for granted. I think I will ty to adopt that mindset, and see where it leads me.

Radicalfeministpoet said...

I don't get it---there's nothing particularly Orthodox about all that. You've been hanging around protestants too long.

The Feminarian said...

Well, the professor is Orthodox, and she was self-identifying. So I may have hung around protestants for a while, but in this class, the word from on high comes from an Eastern Orthodox (woman) theologian.