In the middle of what I described yesterday as a week that I expect to be very long, I received an email today about another step in my spiritual journey. The Diocesan Dean of Formation sent me an email saying that she had invited my parish priest to form a discernment group for me.
For those not acquainted with the language or the process it describes, people seeking a greater understand of how they can best serve God, including the possibility of becoming a priest, enter a discernment process. In Connecticut, a parish will organize a discernment group for a person in this process. It is a small group that meets around nine times to help the person get a better sense of what God is calling the person to.
As a blogger, living much of my life out loud, online, I am looking for the best ways to connect this process with my online writing. It is challenging because the face to face group is confidential. So, instead of writing about that group I hope to write about the questions being posed and the insights I gain from the group and invite a larger online community to share, in a more public manner, their thoughts which might also help me in my discernment process.
This online process, might take the form akin to a connectivist MOOC. I hope to learn more about my journey both in a private confidential small face to face group as well as in a large public online group. I hope that others, participating in the online group, might learn more about their journey as well, and that we might all learn more about how learning and spiritual growth can take place online in the twenty-first century.
I expect it will still be a few weeks before my face to face discernment group starts, and I’m thinking that the Discernment MOOC should parallel that, so I won’t dive into the core of the discernment MOOC for a few weeks. Until then, I am just floating this idea. What are your thoughts? Are you interested in participating? Do you know others that might be interested? Are there things I should consider or avoid?
It has been a long day. Tomorrow will be even longer. In fact, the whole week is going to be very long. There is plenty to write about. Technology. Politics. Spirituality. There is all that is happening in the news. This is the pleasant weather as summer appears to be yielding, at least for the day, to fall. The ideas I’m most interested in will take more energy to write than I currently have.
I read through Facebook, looking for a thread, for a writing prompt. I glance at the news. Nothing simple to write about. So, I’ll head off to bed early. Perhaps my dreams will be inspiring and I’ll find a moment to write, sometime, tomorrow.
I am trying to get a clearer sense of how I can better serve God in the twenty first century. In the Episcopal Church there are certain steps that need to be taken if that calling leads to becoming a priest. The church is also reimagining what it should look like in the twenty first century, so part of my process includes reimaging discernment.
As a starting point, I have a strong sense that God is calling me to the priesthood. I’m not exactly sure why, and I hope to get a better sense of that as time goes on. I hesitate to say this out of fear of being mistaken and embarrassed, or of somehow jinxing the process, but I hope my thoughts here will be helpful for others seeking discernment, whether or not it is in the Episcopal Church, and whether or not it might lead to Holy Orders.
I remember, years ago, hanging out with very committed fundamentalist evangelists who would often say things beginning with something like, “God has told me that you should … “. How do you respond to something like that? I eventually discovered a response that seemed to affirm the speaker, while leaving plenty of room to explore what God really thinks I should be doing. “That’s great! Pray that God tells me the same thing.”
It seems like something similar should apply in the discernment process. For Episcopalians, with their Trinitarian views, as well as their commitment to the three legged stool of Scripture, Tradition, and Reason, a three legged response to discernment makes sense.
To me, the discernment process is about aligning my will with the will of the church and the will of God. We need to find, and act, on God’s will. We need to seek to discern God’s will. We need to seek to align our will to God’s will. I suspect we all have a bit of Jonah in us, a hesitancy or fear of responding to God. We also need to seek to better understand the needs of our church. What does our church need? By way of analogy, if a football team needs running backs, but not another quarter back, then seeking to be a quarter back is going to be much more difficult. We should seek to serve where we will be of the most value.
What does God want? What does the organizations we are part of need? What are we willing to do? It seems like three questions all of us should be asking about our lives, no matter what we are seeking to do and no matter what organizations we are seeking to do it within.
This morning, I went to a poetry group in Wallingford. I shared my poem, Less Quiet Desperation. Before, and for that matter, afterwards, I spent some time cleaning up my poems on this website. I set up a Drupal Book, Poetry Collection 1 where I started to organize some of my poems. Over the coming days, I hope to further organize my poems, as well as work on certain revisions.
As I organized the website, I did a little checking of Google Analytics as well as checking references to me in Google search. I discovered that someone has been taking readings of poems I did for Librivox many years ago, and putting them up on Youtube. The LIbrivox recordings also showed up on Goodreads
It has been a long week. I have fragments of poems floating around in my mind. I have follow up posts to some of my recent blog posts. There are things I’ve written today about 9/11, which could be polished and posted here. But I am also tired and have a full stomach. Tomorrow, I hope to write more and perhaps do some editing of things I’ve written. I had hoped to do a little bit of that this evening, but it just isn’t going to happen.