What I’m Reading Today: Mark 8-9:50
Like many people, I learned that sometimes those moments in life which are the hardest can be those moments that are – in the long run – most valuable. Case in point: an experience of mine during my second year of seminary.
I had gone to seminary in the fall of 1999 intending to earn my master of divinity degree and then work for a faith based non-profit. I had no intention whatsoever of serving as a parish minister. That’s because the denomination to which I belonged at the time made it clear that they did not ordain gay people into parish ministry.
During my first year of seminary, however, it became increasingly clear that my call was to serve as a parish minister. So I started the process to be ordained. My candidacy was derailed early in the ordination process because of my sexual orientation. I was given the following message very clearly by leaders within the other denomination: we will ordain you if you do one of two things – remain silent about your sexuality, or lie. If you do either of those things, you will be ordained.
I wrestled with that set of choices for a while. I could fulfill my call – if only I denied who I was. What a horrific choice that was!
As I agonized over those choices, I heard echoes of the sentiment Jesus expressed in today’s reading from Mark: “What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?”
With those questions lingering in my mind, I began to seek out other options and found that there was a place where I could do both things: answer my call to ordained ministry AND maintain my sense of integrity. And with that I arrived at my new home in the United Church of Christ!
Perhaps you have been thrust into a situation that has presented you with a false set of choices. Choices that would have you believe the road to “success” requires you to surrender your sense of self and your integrity. If that’s the case, carry the words attributed to Jesus with you today: “What good would it do to get everything [I] want and lose [me], the real [me].”
Til next time…