John the former Methodist has posted a long and painful summary of his thoughts about the UMC and the candidacy process. Every DCOM and candidate for ministry should read it. It should be talked about by men and women in positions of authority.
Don’t get caught up in being defensive or noting where he is lashing out. Ask yourself whether it resonates with things you’ve heard before?
There is much more anger and edge here, but I can hear echoes of things I’ve heard out of the mouths of candidates and clergy.
Please note: This is not a defense of John’s possition or argument. I do not know the facts. It appears he has enlisted in the service of other gods. But the pain with which he rages out appear to be real.
We often hear hints and suggestions that “there are problems” with the ordination process. I believe we just voted in committee to push back consideration of substantial changes for another four years while we think about it more.
John’s post might represent an idiosyncratic experience, but I hear and read enough muttered comments about the system to suspect it has much in common with the experiences of many.
John’s description of his experience may be one-sided; it is certainly not charitable to those who he feels have wronged him. His report may even be wrong. But tell me you have not heard candidates and young clergy who say things that hint of some of the things he is raging about here.
And if there are problems in the ordination and clergy accountability systems, can there be any doubt that we have deep problems throughout the church?
Can we ask hard and truthful questions about our own polity? Do we?
Is true discernment going on? Is true accountability in place? Do we speak the truth? Is the structure serving the mission of the church?
Do we talk about these questions enough?