Monday, January 18, 2010

Do we even know any?

From the Morning Readings:

(An earthly priest) is able to deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is subject to weakness...
Hebrews 5:2

As "mainline" clergy, we spend the bulk of our time among the polished and "normal." The stagnancy of our churches, I'm coming to think, is that we are just a small pool of the mutually interesting and admiring, with no flow of turbulent water in and out. No passion to stream Christ's "living water" out of the pond, no channel for the rough waters outside to get in and find peace.

The clergy selection process is built around academic credentials and approbation by those "normal" folks - a candidate's admission of "weakness" can mean elimination from consideration, and there are few if any among the evaluators who could truly speak from an experience of overcoming ignorance and waywardness through Christ.

I'm in touch with this because our parish recently gained, via marriage, a guy not afraid to speak of his own "ignorance and waywardness" and the joy he is finding as the Gospel changes his life. I'm thankful for him but also confessing the fact that we were not out looking for him.

My prayer is that our parish will be filled with the Holy Spirit and overflow the containment of four walls and a couple of hours on Sunday morning.

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