Still plugging along with the candidacy process. I’m working on a ream of paperwork which used to be called the “psych evals” and then they decided they didn’t like that name so now its “Ministry Development evals”. It is not being very fun for me. I’ve dealt with all the trauma and shit from childhood and I’m not happy about having to write it all out again. There’s several pages of sentence prompts like “Because of my father…” and I have to fight the urge to complete the sentence with shit like “…I know how to get rid of a body”. I don’t like the process and I want to rebel against it. I actually filled out the entire pile of forms and then realized that – while I hadn’t done stuff that was blatantly and overtly offensive like writing “fuck you” when asked about my adolescence/high school years – I had filled it out from a position of anger and resentment and that ain’t exactly my best side. Nor is it the part of me that I want to present to the candidacy committee. I’m not trying to totally fake this thing – some honesty is important – but I am trying to convince these people that I can be of some use as a rostered minister in the ELCA and inviting people to commit fornication with themselves ain’t gonna work. So I had to scrap it all and start over again.
And for some reason I volunteered to be crucifer last Sunday, so I got up, drank coffee and wrote a few paragraphs about being neglected and battered as a wee tyke and then went to church to lead the procession, which I didn’t screw up too awful bad, but the pastor was giving me whispered directions in real time at the altar and I spent the entire service having an anxiety attack in the front row, unable to follow the program, looking around to see if the congregation was sitting or standing because I couldn’t figure it out and terrified that I was gonna completely kirk out. As soon as it was over, I told what’s-her-face, who organizes the worship assistants that I can’t be acolyte in two weeks even though I signed up to do that because I’m gonna be violently ill that day, and I got the fuck outta there. Perhaps, as an introvert with social anxiety issues, I should not be crucifer.
And at the same time, I’m slogging away at my Bachelors and being distracted by the shenanigans of a world-wide protest movement which is not showing up in my news feed at all, despite the fact that it could be big news – https://rebellion.earth/ . I am a dedicated environmentalist who wants to avoid being arrested, so I struggle with whether or not to get involved in this kinda thing. At the moment, I’m also thinking about how being dragged off by the Polizei might look to the ELCA candidacy committee and whether or not I could justify it as part of my commitment to Creation Care, which is something we claim to be about – https://www.elca.org/en/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements/Caring-for-Creation . It is, of course, also true that I don’t enjoy being incarcerated and that my concerns about how it would affect my ability to become a rostered minister are really just an excuse for not taking a stand. If/when I ever get ordained, I’ll have a much bigger platform to tackle environmental issues, but that’s several years off. I’m on the mailing list for Lutherans Restoring Creation – https://lutheransrestoringcreation.org/ – but that’s pretty low risk.
Navigating this path is way beyond me. I am painfully aware of my own grotesque failings and woeful inadequacies and I have every intention of parading them before the candidacy committee at every opportunity so they can’t come back later and say “Hey, you didn’t tell us about this”. And I’m also aware that within the context of Christianity, the greater the sins of the sinner, the more glorious the sanctification of the saint. So it works to my advantage in the long run if I suck pretty bad – bu not so bad that they think better of approving my continued slog. See? It’s a balancing act.
I’m s’posed to meet a guy at a coffee shoppe next week for a preliminary interview. It’s possible that my path will end there, if the guy takes one look at me and decides to put the kibosh on my candidacy – or if I accidentally say that I’m a big fan of https://extinctionrebellion.us/ and that I’m ready to lead a forlorn hope charge into the breech. I’ve actually fantasized about leading a forlorn hope charge into the breech – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forlorn_hope . Depending on how that meeting goes, I may or may not be continuing to blog about my journey to rostered ministry in the ELCA.
If I do actually succeed in this endeavor, it’ll be proof that God is still working miracles – which I’ve been pretty upfront about.