Dreadful Thoughts and Dreams of a Chaotic Pisckie Priest in the West of Scotland
Thursday, 20 January 2011
Work In Progress
Thanks to AT for the wonderful quotation, below from Martyn Percy.
The clerical role is one that embodies a necessary incompleteness. The idea of a full and total process of formation is central to the spirit of a calling. All clergy are ‘work in progress’; learning individuals within a learning church. The knowledge that informs the craft is not one that can be ‘banked’ and ultimately totalized. To be a clergyperson is to enter into a commitment that involves a continuous and open process of formation that involves each stage of life, each fresh encounter, each new prompting of the Spirit. There is a sense, therefore, in which the very ontology of clerical identity is a confirmation of both fulfilment and incompleteness. In the act of ordination, clergy are entering into a lifelong commitment to be transformed; not to control the trajectory of their development, but to enter into the mystery of God which may shape an individual in ways that they would prefer not to own. Unlike other professions, an entry into clerical life is not about the slow and steady construction of expertise (although this can be part of the shaping). It is rather, offering: material that is malleable in the hands of God. The heart of a vocation is being clay in the hands of the potter; surrendering to the sublime.