Sunday, December 28, 2008


I recently got a new book which I have fell in love with. It's called "Crazy Talk: A Not-So-Stuffy Dictionary of Theological Terms." I think its a great book to explain all those "stuffy" theological terms we throw around in seminary and soon find that we can never use in a sermon. I've also been thinking about doing a study with church members on "thinking theologically" as far as getting our members to understand the idea of consistency. The notion that if you say "XYZ" about God then that also means you are implying "ABC" about God and how we can offer consistent affirmations about God in our everyday conversations. We'll see how that goes :)

In "honor" of my upcoming ordination, I thought it appropriate to offer their definition of ordination.

"Ordination" (ohr-dih-NA-shuhn - noun)
A ceremony of God's church during which someone God has called is consecrated for God's ministry on behalf of God's world - and so, naturally, people who are ordained think that it is all about them.

Thank you all for reading this entry. Most folks don't give a rip about the particulars of bureaucratic processes and human resource concerns. To a large extent, that's what ordination amounts to, with the added veneer of church ritual and religio-speak, of course. We're not trying to be flip. It's just that all pastors-to-be are sinners just like you and we are.

Too often, ordination is set up in such a way that the pastor-to-be is placed high up on a spiritual pedestal. The resulting high hopes, coupled with the pastor's natural flaws, inevitably produce disenchantment, burnout, and worse. It's one thing for a church to have a bit of a celebration when one from their midst is being lifted up as public preacher of the gospel. It's another thing to (a) set someone up for failure or (b) believe your own publicity.

It'd be chaotic if just anybody could get up in a pulpit and let fly. So a little order for the preaching office is, well, in order. Ordination sets aside those people whome the church believes are divinely called and thoroughly prepared for ministry.

On the other hand, ordained pastors do well to remember that it's not about them. Ordination is about what God is doing through the preaching, teaching, and ministry of everyday sinners."


1 comment:

D. Keith Parker said...

Usually I do not find many books that are recommended that I can read on my Kindle, but this one I can get. I'm getting a sample of it and checking seeing if it is friendly to look things up on an electronic form. Hopefully so!!!

I also like your "thinking theology" idea above, regarding consistency. I'd like to hear if you are doing this currently and if not, how you would summarize the topics that you'd cover in that study.

Grace and Peace,