Something Like A Title

In the last one, I asserted that I do not want to be a drug/alcohol rehab counselor with an M.Div. which is what the candidacy people seem to think – I acknowledge that I played a part in creating that erroneous impression. I started off saying “Well, I’m a recovering alcoholic and I do want to help people….” and it just kinda slid into everybody thinking that I wanted to do Bible study at a 28-day rehab or something. I didn’t protest it because I didn’t know what I was called to do specifically – ministry to marginalized people, yeah, but I had no clear idea how that would look. Then I did a raft of psych evals and got the results of all that shit, which were about as inaccurate as I expected, but in the process of going through the report and crossing stuff out and underlining and writing notes in the margin like “This is bullshit” and “Who are they talking about?”, I started thinking about who I am, as opposed to who the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory  says I am, and what I actually want my ministry to look like, on the off chance that I do manage to slog my way through all the hours of “higher education” that stand betwixt me and ordination. And now that I know what I’m s’posed to do with my ministry, I have to figure out how to articulate that to anybody who doesn’t have total access to the inside of my head, where visionary visions and exploding abstractions are swirling and bursting into being at a feverish rate like a kaleidoscope of fractals on acid – the really good stuff that I dropped in South Carolina that one time when I saw the future, but didn’t know it at the time. It’s complicated slightly by the fact that I don’t have a good read on the committee – like how much they’re committed to the way things are supposed to be which is a terrible that I am forced to deal with sometimes. I’m in the midst of some kerfuffle at work right now because of an unimaginative goon who worships at the throne of the way things are supposed to be and can’t recognize the validity of any position other than his own and that sucks. And it’s sad, but there is no way of enlightening those who will not be enlightened, so the rest of us just have to let the thing play out and pretend to care about what his algorithm or whatever dictates is the way things are supposed to be. Either I’ll find a way out of the business and not have to put up with him or he’ll get a sweet gig micromanaging the nitpickers at Stick In Ass Co. and go to his reward, whichever. But the point is, I don’t know if the candidacy committee is in thrall to right-brain, logical, rational braindeath or if they’re open to the mysterious workings of the Holy Spirit and totally cool with vague aspirations to, ya know, minister to marginalized people and, ya know, feed the sheep, ’cause Jesus told one of the guys to feed sheep and stuff.

Chances are, they’re somewhere in the middle. And there’s a half-dozen of ’em which makes it a lot harder to figger out how to play the thing. My natural first inclination is to figger out how to work a situation, how to manipulate people to get what I want. That’s not too hard when y’re dealing with a college professor who has a clear and blatant bias – I’ve been able to get an A when I shoulda got a C by working the angle. This thing is set up to prevent that kinda behavior – not that I’m totally giving it up – but a frontal assault might be the best way to go. Walk right in, bold as brass, and tell ’em “I’ma try to get dopers and crackheads to come to church and I ain’t even gonna ask ’em to get clean first. I’m gonna do the best I can to fill the pews with sex workers, neo-Nazis, fall-down drunks and barking mad screwballs. Them’s my people.” (Not the Nazis so much – I got kinfolk buried in Europe ’cause they went to fight the Nazis the first time – but I have sat down with dudes who had Gestapo insignia tattoos and had conversations and I ain’t scared.) The more I think about it, the more that seems like the right attack.

I’m also writing some stream of consciousness shit for the Order of Lutheran Franciscans ’cause I’m trying to get into that club, and Frances had a habit of marching into the Pope’s office and making outrageous requests and getting what he wanted because the Pope knew that Frances was not asking for anything for himself – he was always after the greater glory of God – and because the Pope knew Frances wouldn’t just go away. Frances was not above standing on the front steps naked in the cold shouting at people when he was determined to get something. I can totally dig that crazy shit. I will try to get things done the right way, respecting the chain of command and all, but if I gotta, I’ll drive down to Roanoke and barge into the Bishop’s office and demand whatever it might turn out to be. I should prob’ly be up front about that – not totally, of course, but kinda. I can see me getting into some kinda kerfuffle that’ll have the Bishop hanging his head and saying “The fuck? What’d we ordain that guy for?” and when they come to bail me out I wanna be able to say “Hey, you knew what I was like when ya gave me the job.” So I gotta stroll a fine line right now.

Right, then. Seems like we got a plan.

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