Wednesday, 22 September 2010

That is My Job

Blogging has been an interesting thing, but the thing it has done most frequently is to cause me to face up to my identity as a priest. In my 'former life', it was easier - I was a shopkeeper, married happily to a wonderful woman, lived a simple life, went to church, liked fast cars and planes, liked a glass of wine and a single malt, then I went to bed and the cycle started again. I could do all of that - it was eminently do-able.

Priests enjoy many blessings (no pun intended), but we live with something of a curse - the 'why on earth am I doing this?' conundrum. We are priests by the intervention of God (as we believe), and such a rare and precious gift is very often too much to cope with unless you have the ego of an aircraft carrier. Without a blog, I didn't have to think about it much. I did what I always do - put my head down and graft hard so that in some measure I could cause myself to be worthy of this precious gift by effort alone. Pah - as if....

Sometimes the angst and dissonance overflows and as I read back over some these posts I can see how often I wrestle with this stuff. I guess I will have to learn to live with this calling. Don't get me wrong, I love it. However, if someone walked up to you in the street and gave you keys of an Aston Martin DBS and said, 'Here, this is yours' you'd be glad, thank them, have some great times driving the thing, but always wonder how that came about - the 'why me' thing. I doubt you would ever fully resolve it. I haven't, but I have to get on with it. That is my job.

Yes, I am different. That I am sitting here in a dog-collar listening to yet more heavy metal as I write this is odd. That I may be the only sacramental priest in my geographical area (or so it feels) beyond my own Incumbent is tough for me. That I am more traditional in my style and all the while acknowledge the rightful calling of women, homosexual people and anyone else that God sees fit to call to any role in the life of His church makes me a very small minority.

As a new friend from Twitter said, this is my calling. I am sick of stressing about it, and so I am just going to concede that I am here for some purpose, perhaps as yet undisclosed, and just get on with it. This isn't a job that I can stop doing, it is a state of being - a 'new me' in one sense. In fact, I have to also accept that there are beer swilling, heavy metal loving,  sacramental yet tolerant car loving plane admiring Christians out there - and they too have a right to be ministered to. That is my job (among others)


  1. There's worse things to be doing than blogging in a dog collar listening to heavy metal.

    Sometimes it feels isolated being a priest. Sometimes it is the fact that I am a priest that makes me feel isolated. Most of the time it is because I am a priest that I am so readily welcomed to take part in the conversation. At other times it is because I am a priest that people shut down the conversation when it is just getting interesting. Essentially, you and I and others like us are called to serve God in a strange capacity. To be truly open and vulnerable when needed whilst also available for people to keep us at a distance.

    Just remember, you aren't in this alone. Geographic area is not necessarily a constraint in the modern world. And failing that, you are part of a mystical communion that transcends all of that.

    And the Lord provides a reminder of the communion of saint's in the most unlikely manner.... twitter =D

  2. theres hope for me yet... very timely post - I needed to read this :)

  3. I guess there are many people out there who wonder 'why me?' and for some that will be without a faith in a wonderful God who is love; for some it will be with a faltering faith,whilst for others it will be with faith- yet all of these people are in jobs and wonder why they aren't doing something more worthwhile, something more rewarding, something that would make a difference to others. It is most likely that all these people are making a difference- it's just the difference is noticeable by the person whose life has been affected by that person, rather than the person doing the difference.
    Just in the same way that those whom God has called to wear a 'dog collar' make a difference, have a reason for that calling- and are a window to Christ. It is the most wonderful mystery God calls each of us to, and as individuals we all have a different way of being a part of that mysterious window which opens up the world to Christ!

    Hope this post makes sense- it might have become rather rambling!

  4. Not rambling at all - useful indeed!

    Thanks for spending time on this - I appreciate it, especially in a blog moment when I am leaving myself broadly undefended.

    I think I am at a point of peace and acceptance with this issue. This is large part in response to kind comments like this and elsewhere.



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