Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Semi-final thoughts on ordination of Deacons and Priests

Be it therefore resolved, the following assumptions.

  1. All persons cannot keep themselves from worshipping god. We are homo-liturgicus.
  2. Priests, rectors, pastors, bishops are bound literally and figuratively to a specific community of worshipers for a specific time and in a very specific place we call church and parish.
  3. Deacons are not likewise bound to a community, time and place, but are commissioned to "special ministry" that gives many opportunities for self-definition, one-on-one, and outside of parish missional operations. The temporalities of a parish are not given a deacon, nor should a deacon act as if they were.
  4. Full and equal order thinking would suggest that a deacon could be elected bishop without being ordained presbyter as an intermediate rung.
Here then is the contested space. A rector, vicar, priest, bishop is enmeshed in the relationships of worship. A communicant is attracted to intimate worship of god by the various ways a priest presides, a communicant runs away in fear from worship when it gets too much. All worshippers are engaged in this dance of get close, pull back, get close, pull back. The attractions and the repulsions are a dance of intimacy. It is a dance. The priest must always be a willing partner, must be rejected and re-loved, love again and be rejected over and over. A priest must interpenetrate and impose their ministry into the intimate relationship of worshipper and that which is worshiped. Priests must articulate the right ordering and the right enjoyment of the worship of God to the Father, through the Son, and with the Holy Ghost.

The inescapable frustration of being a dance partner and being the owner of a rejected dance card  request is the lot of a pastor. This frustration is force multiplied by deacons who have the blessings of bishops to cut in and re-order the worshipper's enjoyment of god. A priest must have a dance card meeting with everyone in the parish, good dancers and bad. A deacon chooses who to dance with, what the song is, and why it is to be enjoyed. 

Where a deacon and a priest are interested in the same worshippers, they must co-disciple, the dance cards must be coordinated, the steps of making clear the claims made on lives (discipleship) must be mutually groked, and made transparent.

From this train of thought, these conclusions.
  1. Deacons in parish ministry are problematic and must be carefully scrutinized to make sure that conflicting discipleship actions are rooted out like the plague.
  2. Every ordained person in a parish must have a dossier of discipleship actions for each worshipper and an agreed upon plan of right action at the right time for each communicant. This is akin to a sales prospect list.
  3. The cycle of dance partner, rejected dance partner, re-newed dance parter of priests with their parishioneers must be acknowledged, discussed, healed and brought into blessing. 
  4. Priests must be able to inter-penetrate a person's worship dance and a deacon must stay out of that within a parish.

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