Monday, June 04, 2007
Updates, with Cats
A few updates, followed by pictures.
1. Today I wrote three more ED sonnets. Gary hasn't read them yet, but if he approves, I'll have only two more to go. Yay!
2. This afternoon, at the urging of many friends at church, I met with our acting bishop, Jerry Lamb (formerly of Northern California) to discuss my qualms about ordination, especially my concerns about the vow of obedience.
Bishop Lamb is a lovely person and a good listener. He completely understands why I have trouble trusting church officials right now (and thanked me for trusting him with my story), and told me, very sensibly, that I'll have to see who our new bishop is before I can decide if I trust that person.
He was helpful about the vow of obedience, emphasizing that it isn't meant to interfere with freedom of speech or conscience (although I imagine some bishops might feel otherwise). He said that when clergy have violated canon law, bishops will issue something called a "Godly Admonition" which is in fact a direct command, and carries penalties if not obeyed, but that anything less than this is negotiable. Again, I'll have to see if our new bishop sees things the same way (although of course if I were ordained, I'd probably wind up serving under several bishops; the blank-check aspect of the vow is part of what concerns me).
Bishop Lamb was very reassuring about clergy-wellness issues, describing several specific diocesan and national programs that are designed to reduce clergy isolation and burnout, and that seem to be working.
And then he asked me about my prayer life, and, smiling, illustrated the difference between a Godly Admonition and a mere suggestion by giving me one of each:
1) I've now been commanded to get back into spiritual direction, which I knew I should do anyway, and
2) I've been strongly urged to incorporate morning and/or evening prayer into my routine, as a way of connecting myself to the larger church. That's a fine idea, so I'll do it.
He also said that while this diocese has been requiring ordinands to take the GOE, they can't possibly expect the same results from a diaconal candidate as from a priestly one (and he reiterated that for local candidates here, the exam's purely diagnostic).
We'll see what happens with all this. We won't have a new bishop for months yet -- we're supposed to vote at Diocesan Convention in October, and I'm not sure when the consecration would be -- and I'll probably lie low to get a sense of how that person operates before I request a meeting. If I do decide to move forward with ordination, I know I'll have to jump through the time-consuming (and expensive) hoops of medical and psychological exams again, since I've been in process for more than three years.
Short version: The meeting didn't change anything (nor did I expect it to), but I was reassured to talk to someone in the Higher Hierarchy who didn't seem to be dismissing my concerns.
And now, cute cat pictures -- because you know you want them!
There are several of Figaro in my gym bag; one of Bali with his little pink tongue out after cleaning Figaro's ears; one of Harley on the kitchen counter next to Gary's world-famous cookbook, "Eat At Gary's Place," and one of Harley simply looking gorgeous. Oh, and another of Figgy and Bali, just for good measure. (Bali's one of the world's cutest cats in person, but doesn't photograph very well, because all that black produces no contrast.) Click to enlarge, and enjoy!