Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hiatus and Ordination Puzzlement

So yeah, I have been on a hiatus from blogging. Something about getting campus ministry started, changing dynamics of Methodism within the Winona community, and having a 6 week old to pair up with our 4 year old has left me focusing on other things then this blog.

I have missed it, but I wanted to posit a musing, no, a question for my post today. I am preparing all of my stuff for ordination this year and started to look over the questions to really think on them for a bit. This caused me to run across one of the questions that we must answer and to wonder how should I answer it.

The Book of Discipline poses in paragraph 335.c.1 the following question:

"How has the practice of ordained ministry affected your understanding of the expectations and obligations of the itinerant system?"

Okay, lets really think about this one.... (those of you who are Methodist and understand the whole process of the movement towards ordination might have caught it already)

Here is how I would like to answer that question:

Considering I have not "practiced" ordained ministry at this point in my life I do not feel equipped to answer this question.

Short. Sweet. Blunt. To the point. I am not ordained so how in the world can I answer a question about the practice of ordained ministry? Well there are a couple ways one could look at this question.

1) This question is a remnant from the old ordination process where one was ordained a deacon and then was ordained an elder later. If this is true well then as the process has changed those in charge of unifying the implications of change within The Book of Discipline have missed a very big edit. I have to be honest, I don't have old copies of the discipline and am a tad too lazy to go and try to find an old copy to see if this is what the case is. If this is the case, well then I might just answer the question with my italicized response above.

2) "Practice" refers to the provisional period where one is not "ordained" but is rather "practicing" like one would for a game. (I use this term for practicing because the type like a "practicing" doctor would bring us back to #1.) Honestly my gut is that #1 is the reason for this question, but I could see how it is #2 also, but if it is #2 I am a bit troubled. Is that really what provisional membership is? "Practice"? Theologically this just wouldn't do and so I am inclined to say that the reason for this question is #1. (Of course I am a proponent that we should be ordained instead of commissioned and have "full membership" with guaranteed appointment and all its concerns as a separate review step or something. If it is #2 then my response would be totally different.

However, whatever the case might be the answer I want to give addresses the faultiness of the question and not the "intention" of the question and that could cause problems. Do I just take it as it is intended and give a 3rd response that they would like to see? That is what I will be thinking about for the next couple of days.

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