Friday, July 11, 2008
Our Bishop is a Mensch
I just got back from the meeting with Bishop Dan, which went better than I could have dared hope. He was extremely receptive, empathetic, and affirming, and it was a huge relief to get the sordid church saga, in detail, off my chest.
At the end of the story, he said, "It's a wonder and a glory that you're still in the church" (other people have said the same thing), and later, he thanked me for staying.
He'll support whatever I decide to do in terms of ordination. He did say that ordaining all the best laypeople -- which seems to be the current approach -- isn't what "ministry of the laity" is supposed to mean: ministry of the laity means that laypeople minister, as I'm doing now. "If you were ordained a deacon, you'd be preaching as a deacon, not as a licensed lay preacher, and that removes the value and power of laypeople in the pulpit." He also said, "it's true that being ordained opens some doors, but for every door that opens, five close."
I shared the comment of a CPE classmate who said, "Susan, your ministry is writing," and Bishop Dan pointed out that the best Christian writers weren't ordained.
It sounds from what I've said here as if he's discouraging me, but I didn't get that sense at all: rather, I felt as if he was following my lead and reinforcing my own ideas.
So I think I'm pretty clear on where I'm going, or not going; but for the moment, I'm just relieved that he was so sympathetic, and that he didn't -- for a change -- start defending the people who behaved less than admirably, even though we both know that they had reasons for acting as they did.
Now I have to run errands like a crazy woman, since I'm leaving town tomorrow for my PSR course.