Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Once Upon My Ordination....

What does one say when one is ordained?  It certainly isn’t, “Wow! I’m finally ordained! It’s all over, the work is done!”  Indeed, as many before me have discovered, the work has just begun!

I had no idea.

I still have no idea.

I know that finally, all the varied interests, questions, lessons, classes, discussions, prayers, and energy I have expended and spread throughout the years must come together now into one unique ministry.  Yet as I reflect upon those years I realize there has been a continuous process of intentional honing and widening of my awareness and spirituality…and not by me.  I have become a priest in a church that is unlike any other.  It is a church where my spiritual self can blossom into whatever it is that God calls it to become, with no restrictions.  A church where my peers are people who rejoice with me that their struggles with their personal identities are no longer obstacles along their paths toward fulfilling God’s purpose for their lives.  It is a church built on the foundation of those who left more traditional Christian denominations, bringing with them their ordinations and the conviction that they were led by the Holy Spirit to open the doors of Christ’s church to those who felt rejected, denied, and even hated.  It is a church where whoever you are, whatever UAC gathering you stumble upon, you can rest assured that “you are safe here.”

Among us are straight, gay, lesbian, and transgender clergy who have been called to serve God in many ways.  We are preachers, pastors, chaplains, healers, spiritual directors, counselors.  We are peacemakers, conflict resolvers, leaders, teachers, writers, speakers, and social activists.   We are powerful and we are purposeful.  We have the strength to stand for what is right and the tenderness to hold the newborn and the dying in our arms.

Most of all, I believe, we are faithful and we are authentic.

Among us are those whose traditions were never focused on the life of Christ, nor did they desire to join a Christian church to fill some lack in their lives.  Seeking meaning in experiences that cannot be explained away by logic or science, they have found themselves walking along the same paths many of us have walked.  

Yet others have been like me, raised in denominational Protestantism or Catholicism, but having had experiences outside accepted “spirituality.”  Upon discovering the wonders of pluralism and world religious beliefs, we could not comfortably remain restrained by traditional interpretations of our childhood religious training.  Certainly, I am finding that there are many who have woven their paths with the threads of Christianity and Neo-Paganism, with splashes of Buddhism, other Eastern traditions and even the mysterious African, South American, Meso-American, Native American and Island traditions that intuitively inspire.

As the Priest and Pastor at St. Brigid, I find myself gathering together what I understand and love about the teachings of the Christ, the ideas of John Wesley, the ancient earth religions, and Goddess spirituality.  With these ideas about how to live our lives in mind, we bring together practices and rituals of the ancient liturgical church, modern Wicca, Eastern-style meditative practices and the arts to create a place where we can meet the Divine in nature, in one another, and in ourselves.

At St. Brigid in the Desert, we encourage you to do as the Universal Anglican Church encourages its clergy to do:

Know yourself.  Be yourself.  Stand for yourself.

What does one say when one is ordained?  What does one do? What does it all mean?

I really have no idea.  But I'm going to keep trying to find out.

The Laying on of Hands by my Peers
as I am Blessed and Ordained by Bishop Craig Berglund
October 5, 2013
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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