Thursday, March 27, 2014

Do Words Fail Us?

Photo credit: S. Grant Matthews
What is clergy?  What is ordination?  What does it mean to devote one's life to God? How do our words fail us when we try to define it all?

I have an ongoing problem.  I have trouble reconciling two ideas - one is that we are all ministers, called to the work of God and the second is that some of us are called to ordained ministry.  Or maybe the problem is that I can reconcile that, and yet get confused by all of the blurry edges.  A few years ago, when I was leading the Laity Day Worship, I was trying to explain to the young people gathered for the Children's moment what Laity meant.  Who is laity?  Everyone who is not clergy.  What is clergy?  Well, the edges get blurry.

What about the commissioned elder, who is definitely clergy, but is not ordained?  What about the local lay pastor?  Clergy?  Yes.  But what separates him or her from the rest of us?

I've been told that those who are ordained have devoted their lives to God.  I can get behind that definition until I remember that there are many lay people who have devoted their lives to God. Are clergy appointed or assigned to a church?  My deacon friends would disagree with that definition.

I am a certified lay minister.  I am a minister; I am not clergy.  I do not pastor a church and yet I minister in one.  I live in the blur.

I think I'm not the only one who has problems with drawing lines of definition - trying to define that which is blurry.  Perhaps the problem is that our words fail us and trying to box in the call of God leaves us knowing the wrong of it, and yet still needing the exclusivity of definitions.

Oh, well.

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Blogger birdwatcher said...

Yes, the edges sure do get blurry - thanks for validating the confusion of many.

8:37 AM  
Blogger Wendy said...

I'm still working on this one. Blurry is a good word. Thank you.

5:22 AM  

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