Dogs at the Table

...or to put it another way, "Perish, priest!"

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Thinking About Education

I was invited to a conference this week -- the Canadian House of Bishops, representatives of educational institutions, and Diocesan representatives gathered at the Manior d'Youville to talk about standards of theological education.

There were some brilliant moments at the gathering: Mark Macdonald (Canadian bishop for indigenous persons) characterized the plight of theological schools as "forming the people of Babylon after a couple of years in Jerusalem." There were some tedious moments, especially when some participants didn't trust the process (we used "Indaba," which was presented as a distilled discussion). And then there were the idiots -- one bishop confronted me about baptismal ecclesiology, stating that it hadn't worked in his diocese -- it turned out that there was no staffing for parishes that had opted out of the traditional rector-centric ministry, and that they had devolved into a quasi-incumbent model. I suggested that not hiring ministry developers whose gifts were to enable others in ministry was the reason that he had perceived failure, and to blame a model of ministry that was scriptural and innately integral to the dignity of the community was to misplace the responsibility. I suspect that I won't be working in his diocese any time soon.

And so I come home to a place where everything seems to revolve around me. It's time to get back to transcribing the Annual Reports.

Today's weigh-in: 238 lbs. Perhaps I should have weighed in earlier in the day.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Advent and Christmas

Every year, I have this challenge to enter into the joy of the season, to prepare to celebrate Christ's incarnation, to catch the Christmas spirit. And every year, my calendar, the liturgies, the demands of the household, tension around a teenage daughter (as though that doesn't happen all year 'round), and, this year, the funeral of a dear friend, all conspired to suck the pleasure right out of everything.

I was so frustrated that I actually bared my soul during the Christmas Eve sermon -- I preached on being the "custodian of a myth." Most people didn't get it, some people were appalled that I'd dare talk about Christ as a concept, some thought I was having a crisis of faith, and for the five people that actually thought about how the story of Jesus and the proclamation of the Incarnate G-d are intimately linked and synergistic, may you know the blessings that come from that realization.

And to top it off, I have blood in my urine. Can you say "kidney stone?"

Today's weigh-in: 237 lbs. It sucks to be me.