Rip van Winkle

Rip van Winkle, by Andrew Wyeth, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I’ve been a little slow this week posting, but I think mostly it’s because I’ve had a lot to take in.  It’s the “be careful what you ask for, b/c you might get it,” kind of stuff.

I had said in my learning contract that I wanted to explore the 20 years I normally fast-forward through, and find my spiritual story in it so it can better be of use in my life and ministry.  This week, I feel like I’ve awakened from a deep, deep sleep, and some of the truths of my life are emerging.  I’ve noticed feelings that I last remember having when I was much, much younger–age 17-40–that I either stuffed or thought I grew out of.

The reality is I pretty much slept through them.  And now I’m awake.

I am not going into the details at the moment because I need to sort them out, and I have my first verbatim coming up this week in CPE.  (I’ll tell you more about verbatims in my next post.)  Some of the feelings are germane to my verbatim, and I hope to learn more from my group.  Some are not germane to my verbatim, but they’re germane to me, and they’re germane to the level of transparency I must aspire to in that “holiness of life” category of the priesthood.  There is a line in the priestly ordination rite in the Book of Common Prayer (page 532) that says:

Bishop:  Will you do you best to pattern your life [and that
of your family, or household, or community] in
accordance with the teachings of Christ, so that you
may be a wholesome example to your people?

Answer:  I will.

There are other things the ordinand has to promise, as well, but this is the one I constantly go back to time and time again.  You see, that first part of “wholesome” is “whole.”  Now, I never believe I can fully be whole until I’m gone from this world and in the care of God, but I believe I am called to continually work on that “whole” thing in order to pattern a holy (and don’t mistake this for “pious”) life.

When I woke up this week, I saw that there was clearly some work to be done, and it’s mostly in the art of proclamation with the assurance that God love me, and I don’t have to be like a coyote and lurk around in the shadows of my life not feeling things.  All I can tell you at this point is priestly formation is an incredibly hard process–but there are amazing grace-filled moments and spectacular awakenings that come with it!


2 thoughts on “Rip van Winkle

  1. Yup, this priestly formation is hard stuff. But, I’ve been reading your posts on Episcopal Cafe and your old blog site for a few years now, and feel like I can read the formation happening in near real time– pretty exciting. It’s a blessing to have a spectator seat to your spiritual growth, because it helps prompt me to examine my own heart more rigorously.

    I’m about a year behind you in this process, and want to thank you for being such an honest role model. It has helped immensely. I did my first CPE verbatim last week, and it wasn’t nearly as hard as doing the emotional homework while preparing it. I have a feeling you’ll show up to the task with grace. All shall be well, even if not so easy…


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