Friday, February 10, 2006

left rev. grabs the brass ring

“What is your name?”
“I am left rev., of the United Methodist Church.”
“What is your quest?”
“I seek commissioning as an ordained probationary elder in pastoral ministry.”
“What…is your understanding of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral in doing theology and give a practical example of its use.”

Not as good a question as “What is your favorite color?” but better than “What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?”

I did not go howling over the side into the abyss-unlike last year. The interview was stringent, but grace filled. I was passed. I will be commissioned as a probationary elder in the North Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church this June. I will be assigned to a church for full time ministry. I have reached the end of a ten-year journey and have begun what will hopefully be a lifelong journey in service to the people called Methodists as clergy ordained to Word, Order, Sacrament, and Service.

I am oddly humbled by this. Trust me…humility is not a virtue I display on a consistent basis. This long, strange trip has been very good for me, although it seems more so in hindsight than it did in the process.

As a result of my preparing for these interviews, working two jobs, and being without the internet for two months, I find myself very behind on what is happening to our nation. Withdrawal was severe at first, but as time went on, I also discovered that I was able to gain some distance from events that was sorely needed without losing my interest or my passion.

Time apart. Time to be with God, with one’s self, with study. If there is one thing I sorely lack in my distracted, utterly disorganized life, it is time apart. Without that time, I am drained of all vitality, my interest becomes jaded, and my passion becomes shrill.

I missed this community, though. And the other communities and people I have come to know, appreciate, admire and love. Balance seems to be the key here. And although this may seem ridiculously obvious, it is easier said than done. For me, at least, it is one of the biggest challenges I faced on my quest for the Holy Grail of Ordination.

With the balance I somewhat reluctantly acquired, I found something else that had eluded me for a long time.


Probably fleeting, as my life will always tend towards entropy and self fulfilling loops of frustration. But I did have it, and I know I can find it again if I seek it with internationality, sincerity, and faith. It’s a gift that still waits for me.

Oh…and that Wesleyan Quadrilateral question…I was able to respond with a minimum of babbling, expounded on the Greatest Commandment (“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength…and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”) from the perspective of Scripture as a causative authority, our Wesleyan tradition of grace, my reasoning that Christ’s putting the two commands on par with each other would suggest that any response to one should closely resemble the response to the other, and my experience that they rarely do within the church and our society to lead to a sermon of exhorting and a call to self examination.

Two thumbs up from the committee.

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