Today has been a study day which has forced me to reflect on some stuff differently, and maybe even in quite a false way. In a few weeks time I need to hand in an assignment of 4000 words which is not too tall an order. I am struggling, however, to decide what to write about. The task is called the ‘critical incident’ assignment where I choose something that has happened (the critical incident) that has caused me to reflect and has challenged me in my ordained ministry.
There have been many such incidences. The way I have been received by people in the public places I inhabit. The conversations that I believe have happened purely because I am wearing a dog collar. The challenges and threats that people have fired towards me. My experience of perceptions even in the church such as needing to robe and process to read the gospel in the closing Eucharist at the diocesan conference. All of these things have been a challenge and all of them have caused me to consider the transition I am going through, or sometimes feel I am being dragged through, as I develop in and within my ordained ministry.
It’s all very strange, but the wide remit of the assignment is in itself quite a challenge. Essentially I can write about anything as long as I can show that reflection upon the incident has helped to develop a new understanding of my ordained role. The lazy part of me wants to be given an assignment title and book list so I can choose and get into it. The more adventurous side of me is looking forward to the challenge of developing a question and finding information to support and challenge my thinking.
After a rough start, and quite a lot of coffee causing me to buzz around an empty house, I think I now have an idea that I think will be fun and a challenge to explore. I think I will be considering the whole waiting thing and how that links with identity and what I feel I am called to do, and how that calling is perceived by others, even those that are closest to me. It’s annoying that by the end of my study day I actually feel like doing some study!