Bang, Full Stop

I’ve hit a wall in the candidacy process and that wall is made of standardized psychiatric evaluations. I certainly understand why the candidacy process would include some method of determining whether or not potential seminarians are deviant psychopaths, and I’m not opposed to the ELCA using some kind of test to figure things out, but I got the results of my own evaluations t’other day and I ain’t that guy. It’s not a matter of me thinking that I’m not as neurotic as the report indicates – it’s that the report is flat out wrong on some major points. Maybe I’m better or worse than the report indicates – I dunno – but I’m not gonna authorize the outside agency to send the report to the candidacy committee unless/until I get some assurance from the Synod office that I will have an opportunity to dispute the inaccuracies. I’ve sent emails to the bishop’s office and to my pastor, who is on the committee stating this position. Basically, I have stopped the process.

From my perspective, the problem is that standardized tests are not reliable. There have been many studies done that have consistently demonstrated that standardized tests are very good at determining how people will answer the questions on standardized tests and not much else. I did do a video-conference with a representative from the outside agency. She was courteous and professional and all that yadda-yadda. She was also a human being and those folks are notorious for trying to fit things and people into boxes. If a psych student takes a class and learns that adult children of alcoholic parents, fr’instance, frequently display XYZ behavior patterns, that student will become a psychiatrist who meets an adult child of alcoholic parents and then looks for examples of XYZ behavior. If they don’t find it, they might just make it up, and that’s what happened in my case. And how fuckin’ accurate a picture of a complex human being can any shrink get from a couple forms and a couple hours talking via screen?

Some of the misunderstanding is my fault.


That line marks the point when I stopped writing because of something.I’m coming back several days later.

I decided to just have the psych evals sent in. I’ll surely have an opportunity to talk about the results with the candidacy committee and tell them what I disagree with and why. I’ll also have the chance to tell them that – despite the fact that I an a recovering alcoholic/addict, I don’t actually want to be a drug/alcohol recovery counselor, which is an idea that somehow got introduced into the mix. What I want to do is evangelize. I want to spread the good news to the marginalized people who need it, including addicts and alcoholics, but also LGBTQ+ people, the mentally ill, young people who have been taught that money and sex are the most important things in life (that is – any young people who were born and/or raised in the US of A) and any other wretched scum I can find. But not rich people. Somebody else can try to minister to them – I ain’t gonna.

And I trust the Holy Spirit. I believe I’m called and I believe that the candidacy committee is directed by the Spirit. If they’re not, then I might be in the wrong church.

I’ve been hit with some other bullshit recently. Selective enforcement of unwritten rules at work. Somebody decided it was a good time to condemn yours truly for doing something that people do. The person I supposedly “victimized” is on record as saying that I did nothing wrong and that the person who made an issue of our interaction was offensive and out of line, but I’m being cast as the villain. That’s what I get for being me.

So I’m looking for ways out of the company. Hopefully, something that pays better – there ain’t much out there that pays worse.

Peace be with you.


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