Tuesday, March 01, 2005

A bit of nonsense

Blogfriend the reverend mommy offered an interview game to her readers a few days ago, and, in a burst of sermon evasion I asked to play. She has posted 5 questions for me to answer here on my blog, and the idea is that if anyone else wants to play they post "interview me" in the comments here, and I dream up 5 questions for the first 5 responders in turn. They agree to continue the process by answering on their blogs...and so it goes on, and on, and on.
Here are my questions and answers. What's that? You have a pressing engagement with some drying paint?? So be it....

1. Why only good in parts? What parts?
"Good in parts" because I started blogging just after I became a curate,- and the main thing that many people seem to know about curates over here is the sad tale of the curate's egg. A rather nervous young cleric, anxious to offend nobody, found himself confronted by a less than fresh egg for breakfast while he was an overnight guest. He managed to force it down, and when his hostess enquired how he'd found the egg he replied diplomatically that it was "Good in parts..."
Also, even when I began blogging on the crest of a newly-ordained wave, I realised that this mad job was unlikely to be unadulterated joy from dawn to dusk. "Good in parts" reflects the reality of peaks and troughs. As to which parts are good...they are too numerous to post, but reading the blog might give you a few clues here and there.

2. What is your favourite part of worship? I think that depends on the needs I bring with me when I come into God's presence, but to distribute/receive Communion is always so very precious. To find myself involved with others in intimate encounter with God, week by week,- it's mind-blowing.

3. What is the hard part for you about being a woman in ministry? Not the work/family balance, as I might have expected....but rather the realisation that when I am ordained priest this summer I will by my very presence force some dear and lovely people to leave a church where they have been at home and happy for many many years. This isn't because they can't stand me, not because I preach things they don't want to hear, but because of something I have no control over i.e., I am a woman. Believe me, the knowledge that I am de-churching anyone hurts so much.

4. Tell us about your kids, in general or specific. It's a rash friend who invites a mum to blah about her children....I hope you're sitting comfortably :-)
My kids...make me sing for joy. Lucinda (18) is a poet and dreamer, a singer and musician, and is probably the person who understands me best on the planet. On the verge of flying the nest for university, to read English...I can't imagine how life will be without a girlfriend to giggle with and watch weak films on lazy afternoons (though it does seem a while since lazy afternoons were part of the programme anyway)
Giles (15) reads this blog, so I won't embarrass him by saying too much. At the moment he resembles a walking haystack (though I'm sure I'll miss the hair when its all shaved off in a couple of weeks, so he can be a high priest in Jesus Christ Superstar) but he still makes me so happy. He's the one with whom I can discuss big ideas late at night, the one who challenges me when I try to get away with sloppy thinking (his brain is scary....just as well that he's cuddly himself ;-) ) but he also has a mad mad sense of humour and can usually make me laugh, even on wet Wednesdays..
Jack (12) is still working out quite who he is. For the moment, he's warm hearted, loud and enthusiastic, grabbing opportunities by the scruff of the neck, a natural joiner (since we arrived here last summer, he has become chorister, server, youth group member and scout...every single group that he can belong to in our church!) Very much the baby at home, he's sensible and considerate beyond his years at school. As the child least like his mother, he's also the greatest challenge to parent....but full of (mostly) delightful surprises.

5. Dogs or cats? Both, please. We currently have 2 terriers (Mufti and Dillon) and 3 cats (Teddy, a 3 legged ginger, and Chloe and Tallis, mother and son, both black) . There has only been a 3 year period in my life when I've had neither, and that was not a happy phase. I guess only inner-city ministry might force me to consider a change of approach,- but I'll cross that bridge if I come to it.


DaveF said...

Whilst on one hand I want to say you're not de-churching anyone, it is their choice and it is not their church in the sense that they can make the rules or even interpret the (God made) rules without reference to others so no guilt required. On the other hand I have to say it's is not your femaleness (over which you have no control) but your Preisting (over which you do) that causes them the problem. So you can't play that particullar "it's not my fault" card.

So I ignore your admirable sentiment and pick on your logic. Pedant! "I rather be happy than right" doesn't work for me, sorry :-(

Ron Cole said...

I don't think of it as de-churching anyone. How about pruning. Kathryn, the Lord has you there for a purpose. He has grafted you into that " family " or community. He desires all the branches to embrace and nurture you, in order to establish you in the community. Those who resist, or do not bond with the new growth, will in a sense be pruned.
Pruning is always painful to watch, beacuse there is an emptyness, a sadness for the loss of once was. But there is always the underlying joy and excitment of fresh, new fragrant growth.Please try and think of it as what God is doing. And thankyou for the beauty, the honest and transparency of your family picture.

John said...

First off, I'm game if you want to try this interview thing on me :-)

Second, I can't imagine how it must feel to be in that position of being the proximate cause of someone leaving a church. But there are a couple of caveats I would put on that. The first is that they are only leaving *a* church (not *the* Church), and change is not a bad thing, however uncomfortable it makes us. Change leads to growth and the discovery of new things, even when it's not voluntary change. It's not always good either, of course, but the opportunities are there.

Second, remember that you're only the *proximate* cause. There are many other causes that must shoulder their part of the "blame". These include the CofE itself, the local church involved, those organisations who prolong the debate long after it should have been allowed to die (as lost), and not least the person themself for putting gender above person.

And, for all that davef has a point,it's not a big one. The issue isn't actually Kathryn's priesting but her call and placement in a particular church. And that decision is made partly by Kathryn but also (mostly?) by the bishop and the representatives of the local church. Any person who leaves a church for such a reason is slightly odd, it seems to me. They are happy to remain in the CofE (a denomination that has women priests, has done for years and will continue to do so) but not to be in a local church with a woman priest. That means that they are not leaving the church based on principle (or they would have left the CofE ten years ago) but on personal taste and pique. And that's not something Kathryn can hold herself to blame for.

pax et bonum

1 i z said...

I guess any comments we make are unlikely to remove the personal pain of feeling in any way part of something that causes people to de-church themselves, but at the same time it is perhaps worth remembering how many women have been disenfranchised and in some cases led to de-church thmeselves over the fact that the CofE hadn't accepted female priests up so some years ago and continues to struggle with the female bishops issue.

I for one could not be a member of a Forward in Faith (backward in bigotry?) church and I know I'm not alone. I still struggle to be a member of a movement that still has issues over gender and sexual orientation, but I can kind of 'go with' as long as I feel that the process is being grappled with on an ongoing basis. If that stopped, I think I'd be off the electoral role pretty sharpish.

Maybe the 'pruning' is s necessary (if still painful) process to get the CofE to a place that is more inclusive overall (if that makes sense?).

Oh and go on, I'll answer questions if you like (and promise to be kind!).

Sally said...

Oh, please, please, I love this stuff....I'll answer five questions!

dave paisley said...

To save time and space:

"What John and Liz said"... (particularly Liz's "Backward in Bigotry" observation ;)

And count me in on the interview thingie.

Anonymous said...

I can forsee this being rather difficult for you, so interview me...
Although as far as continuing the game goes, it wont strictly be on a blog, but on the news page of my website which is here (for a limited period only).


Sarah Dylan Breuer said...

What a fun game! I loved reading your answers. Feel free to lob some questions at me, and I'll answer them on the about the author (I just *can't* refer to myself in the third person!) page of my site.



Tony said...

"Good in parts": I seem to remember seeing it as a 19th century Punch cartoon, which I think was the original, in which the hapless curate is not a guest at anyoldbody's breakfast party, but is in fact at the Bishop's; and it's the Bishop who asks him the question and gets the famous reply.

Helen said...

Ahhh. Now I know!