Ordination 2012?

Posted: December 31, 2011 by Ty in Spirituality
Tags: , , , , , , ,

So I am rounding out 2011 by diving into the book A Church of Her Own by Sarah Sentilles, I am still a few hundred pages from finishing, but it raises some interesting reflection on the state of “organized” or better yet “institutionalized” religion.

See Ms. Sentilles thesis is simple, even in denominations that ordain women, because they will not be “yes ministers” following the same old track, or fit the traditional mold, issues arise, abuses happen, and they wind up exiting ordained ministry. In fact she reminds us that perhaps the church itself has it wrong, why should the preacher need a special ordination?

It is not about ability to achieve a master’s or doctorate in academia (or even an undergrad for that matter) that says whether or not someone can preach the transformational gospel of Christ to the world, or share God’s love, yet this is one burden we place on people.

Another is the simple fact the church does not do mentoring well, we try to xerox ourselves, not aid people in living into their own gifts and calling.

So this has started me to reflect on my own journey, and those of some friends who have not had the easiest ride in trying to become ordained by living out our authentic faith which does not fit traditional modes. The result? We are all pulpitless, yet very involved in community based, international, outreach or all of the above style ministries.

This is where this reflection leads me, see the church in Canada is seeing a reflection (please note I am generalizing, and know there are shining examples not like this), but we are seeing the institutional church emerge (even with members and finances bleeding like you would not believe) and then there is what I will term, the gathering church. The gathering church is something different, it is people who are gathering together for prayer, encouragement, community support, bible study, and things that a family would do together. Yet in this midst church is happening.

If you are in Cochrane, AB I would suggest checking out Hearts on Fire for a style of gathering. In NE Calgary message us about our Communi(on)ty for another form of gathering.

For an institutional style church that is living out life as a gathering I would direct you to Crossroads Community Church in Mayland Heights.

But reflect on where your church is, whatever form it takes? Do people leave under negative conditions? Are members cared for? Is the focus on your church more on what can be done to make the world better through Christ’s love or ensuring budget is met? What tact do the AGM’s or business meetings take? These are the acid tests for what master your church, whether it is institutional or gathering serves?

For the direction the institutional church is going, I can only predict moving into 2012 a higher percentage of churches closing their doors, ministers burning out, and new calls finding fresh ways to realize their hearts. I could be wrong, I pray, as Pope John XXIII did before Vatican II, that the windows and doors of the dusty old institution be opened wide and let God’s refining Holy Spirit blow through all Christendom to transform and renew back to the heart of our Faith.

And that starts with realizing each and everyone of us who is called to Christ, is now an ordained minister of the Gospel commissioned to transform our world.

Happy New Year’s.


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