the end of the second term! can you believe it. two thirds of the way through the first year, one third through the entire process - not that i'm counting.
as i've been reflecting on these last six months (because that's what we do, us theological types, we 'reflect' - other people just 'think about'), i've realised that there was uh, crap, that i was expecting from ordination training, and crap that i wasn't expecting.
the buzz word for any of this is 'formation', it seems to be the catch all phrase for any of it, whether it's good or bad. of course, good formation may not feel good and bad formation may not feel bad, at the time, and it may take a bit of discerning to figure out which is which. and, you know, i don't mind the hard stuff, but i'd rather not assume that all manner of rubbish is simply good in the name of 'formation'.
q and i went for a walk today and i was chatting about some of this stuff, about the unexpected and expected and i was saying that the expected stuff, which is generally about group dynamics, competition and jealousy, that kind of thing, is all good practice for ministry. q said, 'well why isn't the rest of it'? good point. it's not that i haven't thought of that...really.
hmmm. it's just, well, anything could be justified on the basis of that, couldn't it? 'oh you're being bullied at school? don't worry, it's good practice for the rubbish you'll probably experience in the workplace' 'hmm you're disturbed by the lack of trade justice in the majority world? well, it's....good practice for them for THE REST OF THEIR LIFE'.
don't protest, don't speak out, whatever doesn't kill you will make... you... stronger......
but maybe that's the point. perhaps the formation i am getting, begins to teach me what it means to stand up - really, stand up.
people will always want the status quo. it's such a deeply held human desire - to maintain 'the way it is' - we would do almost anything to pretend that 'the way it is' is just fine. it takes a matrix moment to make us unable to deny the realities any more. is it to be the red pill, or the blue one?
but it takes something else to make sense of what you see, and to have the courage to be the one who works for a different future. is this the formation? to have courage forged out of the smelting pot? to make sure that when others fail to, to be the first to stand, and perhaps give others the courage to do the same?