Tag Archives: ordination

Grumbles

Just a quick (ok less quick as it turns out) grumble. I’m still clearing out our old house and trying to clean the darn thing.

We have had the de-humidifier going non-stop for three weeks, and some of the more disgusting black mold has disappeared, but I just feel incensed that we have had to live in these awful places, and that our scumbag landlord would add insult to repeated injury by turfing us out on our ear for profit.

I sat in the garden yesterday, looking at the beautiful view of fields and the sea, and just wept thinking about the place we are moving to, with a sorry excuse for a tiny garden with 6 foot high fences and a view of a shed. Ok, we’re escaping the mold, and our tenancy should be safer now as it’s no longer private renting, but it’s not a clear improvement by any means.

My mum keeps calling to say first one day that she’s desperately unhappy and can’t cope with living alone and wants to come and live with us (so can we get the ‘spare’ room ready for her), and then the next day that she doesn’t want to leave London and would rather live near my brother. I’m sure she can’t help it, but it’s relentless and feels like emotional torture.

Also, about three weeks ago I wrote to the Church hierarchy with an update confirming that, after my year of waiting, I was still interested in ordination. I still have yet to receive any kind of acknowledgement at all despite specifically requesting one. In the meantime, I sent details of an online course to the same person that I thought might be interesting. Bearing in mind that I wasn’t asking for the church to pay for the course, the fact that I received a very terse response “NO” within five minutes felt like a big slap in the face with a wet fish.

Frankly, I’m no longer sure that I want to be connected with an organisation that treats people so rudely.

And then finally, and no doubt due to the amount of stress I’ve been under, I’m experiencing what feels like the beginning of another relapse – all my lymph nodes are swollen, my throat is sore, my head, back, neck and spine are tender and my arms and legs are achy and weak, so I am having to take it easy and move slowly to hopefully ward it off. Last night I went to bed around 9pm, slept round the clock, and woke up with a migraine. The washing, and washing up are piling up around me and I can’t do anything about it.

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Questioning the Vision

I had some disappointing news this week. I can’t name names as I’m not sure whether or not it’s fully official yet – nothing has been posted on the website, but members have been emailed – an online dispersed monastic community with which I have been associated, has closed its virtual doors.

The leader of the community had decided, after prayer and soul-searching, that her vision to create an online community was not truly of God.

The call that my friend believes she had heard from God was a call to adopt the monastic habit, but in an effort to heed that call she had misinterpreted it to include becoming ordained, and the setting up of an online community.

Neither of those things, she said, were truly part of her original call, she realised now.

Since the creation of an online community was not God’s idea but her own aberration, she felt that she must put an end to the whole enterprise.

There are several questions and realisations that this closure raises for me:

I realise that it is a serious business to set something up and make promises (or even the suggestion of a commitment that people interpret as promises) that you can’t keep – if you do, you run the risk of hurting and disappointing people who rely on you.

I realise that, if people do come to rely on you or your organisation, and that organisation ultimately fails, leaving those people completely in the lurch is irresponsible. One could argue that to allow people to fall into the arms of God may be part of their onward spiritual journey, but that seems rather unkind and unnecessary. I wonder if the least you can do is to provide direction pointers, waymarks, for people to move on to.

I realise that having one person in charge rather than a group who all catch the vision, runs the risk of the whole enterprise standing or falling on the basis of how weak or strong or reliable that one person’s shoulders are.

How do we know whether or not a dream or a vision is from God, or whether we – like Abraham and Sarah – are trying to make things happen by human power and will instead of allowing God to make things come to fruition in His time?

It may be that my friend is further along the journey of faith than I am, and she knows things that I have yet to discover.

But these are the things that make me think that sometimes it is just the right thing to do to plough ahead, take leaps of faith and see what happens.

Acts 5:38b,39a: “if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it” – The Pharisee Gamaliel to the Sanhedrin.

Psalm 127: “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labour in vain that build it”

I’ve tagged this post with ‘adoption’ because adoption is one of my visions. Interestingly, in this verse the word ‘house’ can be understood to mean ‘family’.

I don’t know how far we can know whether God is telling us to do or not do something. I don’t hear an audible ‘voice’ and I’m dubious when I hear about those who claim they do.

All we can do, I think, is to get to know the difference between good and bad, conform our visions and ideas to the good, and just try. If God is in it, He will surely bless us, and if He’s not, it will come to nothing.

Abraham and Sarah’s problem surely wasn’t that they tried the vision, but that their idea conformed to cultural patterns rather than God’s good plan. They didn’t know right from wrong.

I wish my friend well in whatever she puts her hand to from now on, but I’m sad that what seemed like a very good vision has ended.