Wednesday, March 31, 2010

you think you should be a priest...think again!

I would have been a writer and a professor of American Literature today if I hadn't let God get all enmeshed in my life. I was following a 'call' I tried valiantly to resist. I wanted to write, if not the 'great american novel', at least some stuff that would make lots of money!

If you think you should be a priest, run and hide from God.

You know why? It is the enmeshing part.

We had a staff member or two who thought 'becoming enmeshed' with the parish was a not too good a thing. Yet, I never figured out how to do what I do or be who I be without that. In fact, it seems to me that 'what I do and be' is precisely that--becoming entangled in the community, caught in the net we are all caught in, wrapped up in the complex of feelings, connections, wonderments, pains, sufferings, etc. of those who I work with and serve and minister with.

Kurt Vonnegut--my favorite novelist, the one I would have striven to be like had I not become a priest--once told the story of the only ordained person he ever admired. It was, bless him, an Episcopal priest on Martha's Vineyard who, Vonnegut said, would 'fall apart' every time someone in the parish died and the congregation would have to heal him and nurse him back to wholeness. "There is something creative," Vonnegut said, "in having to put a man of God back together...."

I know 'all will be well', but tomorrow is the first day of the last month I will be Rector of St. John's in Waterbury. The webs and nets and strings of entanglements and enmeshing are wearing my soul raw right now.

And, I think that is as it should be. Perhaps that is even what God had in mind when the Holy One somehow tugged me toward the priesthood. And, it is the only way I would know to do it...this thing I do...this way 'I be'.

I'd run from it if I were you--but let me tell you this, there is no sweeter pain, no more redemptive suffering, no more joy of connection available than doing what I do and being who I am....Just don't do it lightly....

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About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.