Monday, February 16, 2009

Cranky Monday

I'm on the couch, having given up on doing reading for the thesis - my brain is tired, and the prednisone is taking its toll today.

Tomorrow the results from our General Ordination Exams should arrive in the mail. I alternate between being terrified that I've failed and annoyed with the flawed system of evaluation.

I have heard virtually nothing from the various and sundry places to whom I have sent resumes. This is the down side of church work. Usually much of the preliminary work of screening and reviewing is done by a volunteer lay committee, which may or may not meet more than once a month. They may not have clarity about what they are looking for yet, or may feel no sense of urgency. Meanwhile we dangle in the breeze. In other dioceses, the bishop places the new seminarian in the first job, or at least gives the person three parishes to interview at and choose from. It would be nice to have the stress of "where" taken away. Then again, that hasn't always worked out very well for some folks I know. All I know is that this is a process where I have to relinquish control, and that's not one of my strong suits, so I'm trying to just pray my way through it.

Meanwhile, in light of the academic evaluation in the form of the GOEs, I am reflecting again on the holes in our practical preparation (how to actually DO the premarital meetings, how to run a budget meeting, models for handling walk-ins requesting financial help, dealing with funeral homes, dealing with first responders in traumatic situations). There is a tacit assumption that these things are handled as part of on-the-job training in our first cures, following behind the rector. But that's not the model for every one of us.

So is seminary an academic institution? Is it a priestly professional training school? Is it a place where we more deeply understand our relationship with God and our call to serve? As much as I love my seminary and am grateful for those who have taught me and mentored me there, it seems it, they, I, and our church as an institution are all confused as to what seminary is supposed to be, and GOEs are merely one symptom of the problem.

And for all the screening, there are still some deeply troubled folks going through the system, and no one seems to want to take the responsibility for pulling them off the ordination track at least long enough to get them some help.

Yeah, it's Monday, all right. I think I need some coffee and chocolate.


Mary Beth said...

GOE's stink. That's my opinion.

You, OTOH, are superb!!

Sending Godiva...

mibi52 said...

I'm not sure that they stink, I just think they are an imperfect measure on a tiny slice of what makes someone an effective priest.

Maybe slightly malodorous...

On the other hand, I'll take the Godiva with pleasure and deep and abiding appreciation. Godiva is at the heart of pastoral care, as far as I'm concerned!