A few minutes ago I was ordained. Yes, sitting here in the kitchen with a kitty at my feet and my gmail, facebook and bank tabs open, I followed in the footsteps of my father and pointed and clicked my way to ordination in the Universal Life Church.
I’ll never forget when he did it. I was knee deep in church culture, and was on a first name basis with lots of so called “movers and shakers” in the church. I would go on about this bishop and that author and he would pretend to be impressed, but I knew he was just trying to make me feel as important as I thought I should feel. One day over lunch he told me “you know you don’t have to go through all that bullshit to be ordained and important in the church honey. Joe Soucheray mentioned you can get ordained online on the radio today and I just did it.” It felt like a playful, sarcastic smack on my church-ey, holy hocus-pocus, apostolic succession havin’, Jesus-lovin’ nerd-pants. No, I am not proud of my self-important, show off ways and a lot has changed since then.
What has changed? Well, me.
First, my dad died. A lot changes in the way your brain and memory works when someone is gone. I know this because after being gone for 14 plus years my mother is officially being petitioned for sainthood in my dreams. The further I get from her being here on earth, the more I can only recall her heavenly qualities. And trust me, not all of her qualities were heavenly. Likewise, the distance of loss that grief offers helps me see and experience my father in a whole new light. Instead of bucking his authority, I now seek his wisdom. He had a lot to teach while he was here, and like most of my first periods of senior year, I am late to his master class.
Second, I am no longer immersed in church culture. It took a massive depressive breakdown to realize that I can love God and love God’s people, but I don’t have to prove my love or worth to either of them. God knows my heart, and God’s people, they are going to love me, hurt me, lie and steal from me, show me grace and kindness whether I am emergent, episcopalian, holistically Jesus centered, missional or not. In short, I’ve said fuck it and just started to love God and love people.
Most importantly I’ve noticed the older I get the more I settle into the soft spaces of me. I have begun to practice (and practice and practice) self compassion. I’ve begun whittling away the log in my own eye, my need to know and worse, my need to be right and traded it in for a clean pair of eyes. Love has taken over most of the spaces of my life, and where love isn’t, grace is.
A few months ago a friend from Solomon’s Porch asked if I would be interested in performing a wedding for some friends of his. I was one of the only people he could think of that might really “get” his friends needs. The friends are a lovely lesbian couple who just moved to Minnesota. And in case you hadn’t heard, starting August 1, these ladies can actually legally wed. So can I (more on that later).
Today I was ordained and I will make a promise to myself and all of you. I will follow in the footsteps of my father, following his golden rule: all things in moderation, except love.