On Grief

There’s been a lot of discussion about grief since the election: what is “proper” grief, when to get over grief, and people denying the grief of others. Two months ago, this post would have probably just been a rant about not telling people how to grieve, but then my friend Bubby Jerimyah D’Luv died suddenly. […]

Discernment question 4: Are there any other trads, denominations, or groups that are poking you in the spirituals that maybe you should go and explore before you decide on ordination in the PCA?

Wednesday, 11 January 2017 (in response to this post)

To this day, I consider the United Church of Christ (UCC) to be my home denomination in the Christian faith. It would feel so fulfilling to be a minister in the tradition that I’ve gained so much love and support from. But, in order to be ordained in that denomination, one must have a Master of Divinity (MDiv) from an accredited seminary. Such education takes a lot of money. I don’t have the wealth to pay for the education and I don’t currently qualify for the graduate-level lending that would cover the costs. I’ve been effectively priced out of becoming an ordained minister for the UCC (or any other denomination that requires an MDiv).

Christianity has played such an important role my spiritual life, I really don’t want to give it up. I don’t want to become another person so hurt by Christians and Christianity that I leave the faith. But, the Progressive Christian Alliance (PCA) does not require an MDiv for ordination, so this body has its appeal if I am to pursue Christian ministry.

Other traditions? I’m loosely affiliated with the Ekklesía Antínoou, the modern Cultus of Antinoüs. And while I certainly feel a call from Antinoüs himself and the Tetrad++, I don’t necessarily feel called to seek to serve a faith community in that particular tradition at this time. I’m not entirely certain what that says about me, and that’s probably another whole discernment process right there. I am honored and proud to serve as a high priest and teacher of Open Source Alexandrian Wicca, and I know I can do meaningful work with this tradition.

Hmm, it seems discernment can raise as many questions as it answers.

Discernment question 4: Are there any other trads, denominations, or groups that are poking you in the spirituals that maybe you should go and explore before you decide on ordination in the PCA?

Wednesday, 11 January 2017 (in response to this post)

To this day, I consider the United Church of Christ (UCC) to be my home denomination in the Christian faith. It would feel so fulfilling to be a minister in the tradition that I’ve gained so much love and support from. But, in order to be ordained in that denomination, one must have a Master of Divinity (MDiv) from an accredited seminary. Such education takes a lot of money. I don’t have the wealth to pay for the education and I don’t currently qualify for the graduate-level lending that would cover the costs. I’ve been effectively priced out of becoming an ordained minister for the UCC (or any other denomination that requires an MDiv).

Christianity has played such an important role my spiritual life, I really don’t want to give it up. I don’t want to become another person so hurt by Christians and Christianity that I leave the faith. But, the Progressive Christian Alliance (PCA) does not require an MDiv for ordination, so this body has its appeal if I am to pursue Christian ministry.

Other traditions? I’m loosely affiliated with the Ekklesía Antínoou, the modern Cultus of Antinoüs. And while I certainly feel a call from Antinoüs himself and the Tetrad++, I don’t necessarily feel called to seek to serve a faith community in that particular tradition at this time. I’m not entirely certain what that says about me, and that’s probably another whole discernment process right there. I am honored and proud to serve as a high priest and teacher of Open Source Alexandrian Wicca, and I know I can do meaningful work with this tradition.

Hmm, it seems discernment can raise as many questions as it answers.

Guidance

“So, now that I’ve made all these tools, what do you want of me?” I asked. “Well, you use them, of course!” She said. “But I’m not sure how, and for what purpose!” She sighed. “I suppose it’s only fair to tell you since we had you write the journey in the first place. Ok, […]

Discernment question 3: And if He [Jesus] is calling you to be a priest for Him, do you feel that that calling requires some sort of official human recognition?

Wednesday, 21 December 2016 (in response to this post)

After the Second Samhain my coven hosted, I feel that I am correct in that Jesus is calling me to be a priest for him in addition to my Wiccan priesting. But, why would priesting for Jesus need official human recognition?

Well, one reason for official human recognition is that one is taken more seriously in matters of ministry. Being a lay minister is considered a noble thing, but basically considered to be little more than a member of the laity with a deep commitment to GOD. Sure, one can be a lay chaplain, but trying to get a job as such seems extremely difficult if not impossible.

Another reason is pulpit supply. It seems churches are hesitant to ask lay ministers to preach, doubly so when those lay ministers are queer, transgender/gender-expansive, or both. Or when lay ministers are permitted to preach, they aren’t necessarily compensated financially for their work. And while I can indeed take the title of Reverend (both ordained by both the Circle of Cerridwen (Open Source Alexandrian Wicca) and the Universal Life Church), being a Reverend in a Christian tradition would make it possible to be considered a more viable candidate for things such as pulpit supply or leading workshops.

Should one charge money to serve a faith community? The Open Source Alexandrian Tradition doesn’t charge money for initiation or instruction or priesting. It’s not what we do. In fact, most Pagan groups I can think of don’t take money for these things. That said, it’s not unheard of to compensate a priest, priestess, or witch if they have to travel to perform their duties. But basically, Pagan priesting isn’t a way to make a living. So, the idea of being able to generate income with pulpit supply might be a bit off. I’d love to be able to make a living serving as a minister. But, what exactly is meant by the phrase “to make a living”?

For my part, “to make a living” means to be able to meet all my living expenses. Currently, I rent a room in an apartment. I would like to eventually be able to afford my own studio or 1-bedroom apartment. But also, I’m not ruling out the possibility of living in (or starting) an intentional community. In a capitalist society, capital is necessary for survival. I don’t seek riches; just what I need to live my life and leave my loved ones without having to worry about any outstanding debts I might have when I die. If priesting will not give me the necessary income to do that, then I will continue to work as I currently do, and attend to my ministry “after hours.”

My experience with religious people in general is that they seem to want some sort of vetting of their leaders. I’ve seen this in Pagan faith communities as well. “What’s your tradition,” some might ask. “Who initiated you, and who initiated them?” In some ways, it’s like the preoccupation with “valid apostolic succession.” It might be that it’s the faithful doing due diligence to be sure the leader is qualified to lead, but it could also be a way of saying, “You are not worthy.” Human recognition is a tricky thing, but religion is a human thing. And it seems that in Christian settings, the laity really wants to know where their clergy came from.