Monday, June 16, 2008

Steady On

I heard from the chairman of my Committee on Ministry this afternoon. I'm on the docket for the July 7th meeting, hopefully to find out why so many restrictions have been put on me regarding prospective fields of ministry, and to see what can be done about it.

And my response was not relief and gratitude, but gut-level panic.

Steady on, girl. The only reason ever given to me for the restrictions was that I seemed to "need more mentoring than usual." I know what I can and will say to that. But there's always the paranoid fear that There's Something They're Not Telling You, something so awful you'll melt in terror to hear it about yourself.

I lived with that sensation when I had trouble with my presbytery in the Midwest, nine years ago, at the start of my ordained ministry. To make things worse, that COM's attitude was that if I didn't know what I'd done wrong, it just went to prove I wasn't "self-aware" enough to pastor a church. They weren't going to enlighten me!

It made me wonder if, all unbeknownst to myself, I was going out in the village at night and gibbering obscenities under people's windows.

When at last I (and most of my church session) couldn't stand it anymore, I was driven to hire a crackerjack employment law attorney (who was also a Presbyterian deacon) who made the COM chairman 'fess up. My sins? I'd refused to let the retired pastor of the church resume and continue his ministry through me, and I'd proved how "unpastoral" I was by preaching a sermon series on the articles of the Apostles' Creed!

Oh, dear.

That was another presbytery, another COM, another COM chairman. It was the former chairman of the COM here who came up with the "needs an unusual amount of mentoring" rationale. I have to wonder, did this opinion of his come from conversations with the presbytery in the Midwest?

And are they still angry at me because I faced them with that attorney? Angry enough to muddy my chances here?

Good grief, I hope not.

But if I'm going to prove on the 7th that all that-- however much of "all that" there really was-- is in the past, the stomach will have to give the thinking duties back to the brain.

Thank God, I've got three weeks to get my head, stomach, and heart all back where they belong!


Rev. Mike said...

As a fellow PCUSA tentmaker and professional "box stretcher" for Presbyterian polity, I'd love to discuss this with you further. If you'd like, email me ( with a phone number, and I'll give you a call.

Anonymous said...

Heavens! I never knew the church was so political.

Good luck!


St. Blogwen said...

Rev. Mike, thanks, I'll think about it.

Whiskers, yeah, whenever people get together to do anything, you'll always have politics of some sort. I've observed that in the church, the messiest politicking happens when people forget they are the church and start treating it like any other human organization.

Sandy said...

I can't understand why the are so STUFFY!

Anonymous said...

You're on the prayer calendar!