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I know some of you are/have been Clergy. . . - Chronarchy

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March 16th, 2005


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06:00 pm - I know some of you are/have been Clergy. . .
Got home, and remembered I wanted to ask a question:

For those who feel they're pre-disposed to clergy**, what should I be looking for to tell me I am?

I've got the idea that I should be looking for a calling. . . a vocation if you will. Can anyone describe that? Or point me to a good book that does? (And no, I'm definitely not opposed to reading books about Christian "vocations".)

Because damnit, I'm confused. It's official. And it bothers me that I can't figure it out.

** - note: I don't mean necessarily ordained clergy: self-styled clergy works just fine for me. I've been trying for over 7 months to figure this thing out.
Current Mood: confusedconfused
Current Music: "Last Mango in Paris", -JB
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[User Picture]
From:_boy_
Date:March 18th, 2005 05:53 pm (UTC)
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Yes, I've been thinking much about the limiting factors of clergy. I'm not entirely sure that being a chaote is at all compatible with being clergy, and that causes me some pause: would I end up needing to deny part of who I am?

Growing up, I'd always been interested in the spiritual dimension of life, though never felt "a calling" per se. There was always a tension between what I was told was "this world" and "that world", the unspoken message being to keep my head out of the clouds and in the "real world".

In my mid-twenties, I had a series of mystical experiences that seemed to make all other aspects of life melt away and seem like props on a stage. It seemed very clear that if there was a "real world", it was that vast pregnant nothingness... and not the world of jobs, family, and respectability.

I wondered if this was meant to be a calling - after all, the other lesser options of my life seemed to be diminished by their relative non-existence. And if I were to be a priest, what religion? At the time, I was actively Catholic and Buddhist, and moderately active in Neopaganism.

To make a long story short, I decided that this was simply an experience aimed at knocking down the artificial walls between spiritual and material worlds, sacred and profane secular, that in essence there was only one world with multiple aspects and dimensions (samsara=nirvana). As far as vocations go, every life has its vocation, but vocation shouldn't be confused with "job description" - professions or activities are simply the modes by which we follow our vocations. Even in the Catholic sense of vocation (which it seems is being referenced here), all aspects of life are considered 'vocations', not simply ordained priesthood - marriage is considered a 'vocation', religious (monks/nuns) are considered 'vocations', teaching is considered a 'vocation'.

You seem to be feeling an issue with "priesthood" and whether or not it is true to your vocation. How would you define your role as clergy and what kind of limitations do you see it placing on other options?

As a humorous aside, lately you've helped me with a sort of anti-vocation. Your talk about the ludic nature of religion clarified what I find most attractive about ADF - I like the people, the groups, and the material - it's just fun. In my terminology though, it feeds the via positiva in me, the celebration of life and immanent divinity, but it doesn't speak the via negativa to me, the emptiness, pain, and grieving, not to mention that it doesn't feed my need for a social ethic. In any case - I decided that I shouldn't expect it to - it's simply enough to celebrate and have fun with friends and leave it at that; if I need emptiness and solitude, I have other resources for that. Therefore, I'm thinking of re-joining ADF without the intention of becoming clergy - just to do the study program, stretch my interests in the artisan's, liturgist's and naturalist's guilds, but not expecting ADF to be everything for me.

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