Monday, May 10, 2010

Ecclesial Thoughts Whilst Composing Papers...

I was avoiding my papers while chatting with a friend, who already has an M.Div. and is working as a hospital chaplain intern. The topic came up about lay versus ordained ministry, and the thought struck me how odd it is to call someone with an M.Div., who has been working in active ministry, a "lay minister". I am wondering, (not that I currently have the power to change things either way), if it might not be time to rethink the two categories, lay or ordained/religious.

The definition of the laity is that they are not ordained, and not a member of a religious congregation. But more and more of the laity are getting the same training and preparation, and with the exception of confecting the sacraments, (which most religious don't do either), their day to day jobs are identical. Are they still "lay" ministers, and if so, what does that mean when it includes both those with training and expertise in theological ministries, and those without this training?

To the other objection which could be raised, that ordination constitutes an ontological change, I wonder whether three years of theological training, (alongside future priests by the way!), and ongoing chaplaincy training can really be argued not to also create "an indelible mark on the soul"? More and more these "lay" ministers will be asked to fill the roles previously filled by the ordained or religious, yet there is the linguistic problem of their title. Rightly or wrongly, it is still the prevailing opinion that "lay" is the equivalent of the prefix "sub". That these ministers are less than the ordained ones.

So could we drop the "lay" distinction? I really think it is time! So long as we are not allowed to go about in roman collars and not given faculties for celebrating the Eucharist or hearing confessions, is there any real danger that we, (especially, unfortunately for now, us women!), will be mistaken for the clergy? My friend is a minister, not a "lay" minister. And one day, if I ever get these papers done, I hope I will be also.

What thinkest thou, gentle readers?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Nothing of Note

With great trembling and adequately stupendous anticipation I await the next semester. This grand thrill of joy and wonder will be short lived, and will be replaced with breath-taking speed by the crushing despair of unfinished reading, and looming papers full of increasingly doubtful scholarship. Which leads to the ultimate question - this is preparing me for ministry how?

Before then though, I retreat in search of meaning and purpose. I am convinced that this time, I will actually find it. Except that if I actually found it what would I do with it? I suspect it is rather like the dog who actually catches the car.... But none of that despair! Come forth and discover the - the what? I have no idea. But no matter - it should be fun. And it is just possible that even I will be able to find God there. It is always nice when that happens....

Next semester includes a preaching class - which is not scheduled to be a great success. But I just have to pass. It is that greatest of all cliches - going beyond the comfort zone. Why do we have to go beyond the comfort zone? It is comfortable in that zone.

As you can see, I have nothing much to say here, but felt I should pretend to be a blogging type person.... Perhaps something of note will happen, and I will have something of some vaguely interest producing thing to write about. But probably not. I have a remarkably ordinary life...

Happy New Years to all the bloggy type people!