Friday, November 30, 2007

What's Next?

A few friends and kind readers have asked me about my plans now that I've finished my M.Th. I've been thinking about a lot of different things, but here's the outline...

I really enjoy what I do at the bookstore, and the people with whom I work. While I didn't get the marketing position I wanted, I have been given leave to plan and execute at least one author event that I've been pushing for.

The work that I do with the people of Saint Patrick's Church is very important to me, and I'm working on two long term projects in Christian education and formation.

The first project is to design a standard program of Anglican catechesis and introduction to Saint Patrick's Church. St Pat's receives a lot of interest from folks who have come from evangelical protestant denominations, and while they might have been away from the life of any church for months or years, there's still an element of "culture shock" when people are introduced to our liturgy and philosophies of ministry. While we can't make the life of our parish less weird (because we are convinced that it's weird in a good way) we can take people aside to welcome them, answer questions, and provide a basic introduction to Anglican Christianity and its peculiar grammar so that folks will have the theological tools to "read" and therefore better understand what's going on in the life of our parish. We'd like this to be a four week, informal class that we provide 3-4 times a year, as needed. I hope that after a year or two of this, we'll have some well-formed Anglo-Catholics running around the place. Ahem.

The second project is going to be less work but a lot harder: our household is getting together with some other folks in the parish to learn what it's like to share life and a common Rule together with people of different interests and demographics, but who are interested in friendship, monastic practices, and learning to love our Lord better. I'll write on that as it progresses.

Would you believe that it sounds to some folks like I'm a drifter, since I don't have a salary, a title, or an ordination planned?

I won't have a fancy title (unless Father Matthews deigns to give me one) and it's not going to be lucrative. I still have a closet full of fancy dress clothes that I'm not using at the moment. This will not put me on the fast track to the priesthood. But here's the thing: I'm not looking to be a CEO in the Kingdom of God. This is not a matter of "climbing the corporate ladder" - I'm a layman of the Church of Rwanda, so there is no bloody ladder. A friend reminded me this week that there are plenty of people in plenty of churches who have heard a call to ordained ministry, and want to get themselves put into that ontological category ASAP so they can go about the "real ministry" that they're called to do. Right here and now, however, this is the very real ministry that I'm called to do: help build the life of the Church, learn to be a better penitent, and to call other sinners to turn to Jesus and engage fully in the life of God's new Community, and participate now in the life of the world to come. I don't need to be ordained simply to do that. I'm still thinking about priesthood, but any formal process for that really needs to be on the back burners right now, because more important than any institutional process is the question of my own formation in holiness and the life of Christ's Church. Our God has much to do in and with me, and I want to bend my body such that by the time somebody lays hands on me to make me a priest, I have already been formed into the kind of man who should be a priest.

Forming character is like preparing a roast - if you try to do it fast, you end up with something other than you were hoping for.

9 comments:

#Debi said...

I don't think I've ever heard of anyone equating formation to roasting a hunk of meat, but I kinda like it. :) And on the subject of the Anglican catechesis, let me know when you get that going. You know I might be interested... ;)

+ simonas said...

Dude, my heart sings for joy reading about your aspirations. While it's flowery language and all, it's really true.

Joseph P. said...

Your comment(s) and link on 'Stand Firm' site drew me to this wonderful blog. Thanks.

Congratulations,too, on the MTh success.

Your wonderful Vocational Pilgrimage here - even interest in Community- is a marvelous sign of God's work within you. You're in Good Hands there.

jpfsc

Indie said...

"Our God has much to do in and with me, and I want to bend my body such that by the time somebody lays hands on me to make me a priest, I have already been formed into the kind of man who should be a priest."

I totally agree. Of course we have to be careful not to wait until we're perfect because none of us ever will be, but it is wise to work on spiritual formation before jumping in.

The Archer of the Forest said...

I would love to hear your thoughts on an Anglican catechesis. I am cooking up something along those lines myself.

Bobby J. Kennedy said...

Kyle,

As for catechesis, I might recommend one particular resource in your efforts, if you can locate it. The book is called "The Church Teacher's Manual" by Rev. M. F. Sadler. It is an antiquarian book published by George Bell and Sons of London. The edition I own is from 1885. I would photo copy it and mail it to you but I don't think that will be practical for me or the book. It is "the Church catechism expanded and explained in question and answer...for use of clergymen, parents and teachers."

Sadler was a 19th century Prebendary in the CofE. He was a very influential writer and a defender of Tractarianism from the Scriptures. He is, overall, a solid read. I am doing biographical research on him.

Pax.

Bobby J. Kennedy said...

Well, here is a copy.

http://www.bookfinder.com/search/?ac=sl&st=sl&qi=r9uDep5V8eJUu5JxRAGwYLUSO38_7066657593_1:31:283

Bobby J. Kennedy said...

Last comment:

I also highly recommend "The Faith of the Saints: A Catechism." It is by St. Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic. The ISBN-13 is 978-1-932965-06-3. It is not Anglican (as if!) but I can't find anything I disagree with in it. ;)

Will Humes said...

Congratulations Kyle!

Have you returned to the States yet?