A week ago I got back word about the Subordination exams I took back in January. (Really! It only takes 7 weeks to process. I’ve sent back rebates on computer peripherals that take almost that long, so what’s the complaint.) And, as the dialog in Star Trek 2 says (without explaining because so much was cut out) “The word is given.” I passed. Yay. Now I can take back all those things I said about these wonderful and judicious examinations.
But even better, I went back to Colo this past weekend and got myself Finally Assessed as ready to seek a call. In my denomination, being a pastor is sort of like belonging to a medieval guild. In fact, it’s exactly like being in a medieval guild. Trade unions have moved on from wearing weird hats and robes, but academia and the church hold onto these things.
Being finally assessed entails defending my Statement of Faith and preaching a sermon. My statement of faith is more or less orthodox reformed tradition lite (TM) so there weren’t any big complaints. But I was told to punch up the section on Baptism a little. No big. I can list the six bullet points of baptism in my sleep and — even better — I actually believe them! I’ll post the final version here Real Soon.
My sermon went well. (I’ll post it here too.) Didn’t break down in the middle and start puking from anxiety or anything like that. There was some controversy about the charge I gave at the very beginning when I read from Scripture. I need to come up with a theologically sensitive charge to the hearers that will alienate neither the wooden literalists of the Westminster Confession (1649) nor the anything-goes hippies of the Confession of 1967 (1967). My best idea so far is something like “Hear the Word of God*” followed by an inaudibly muttered footnote of caveats.
But! The drumroll sounded, I was dismissed into the hall while the panel deliberated briefly, and when I came back they had discerned in community the prompting of the Holy Spirit that I should be moved through this last* step in the ordination process.
*Technically, it’s not the last step. The last step is getting ordained, and that requires locating a church that will call you to the ministry of Word and Sacrament. But you can’t do that until you’ve been Finally Assessed as Ready to Seek a Call. Which I now am.