I know that I was born to minister. I also know that in many ways I do not have the personality to do so.
I was ordained more than twenty-three years ago and have worked in full-time ministry ever since. That does not make me special. It does not make me more spiritual than anyone else. It certainly does not mean that I am better than anyone else, or perfect in any way.
What it does mean for me is that my very life is a dedication to all things Source. It means that the highest priority of my life is to allow this imperfect self to be used in service of what is truly and always perfect. It means that I am soaking in the frequency of Source most of the time, and then seeing life from that perspective.
After years of dedicated practice and active application there are days when I actualize that priority pretty well. There are also moments in my days when I fail pretty miserably.
Being clergy does not mean that judgment has somehow been lifted from me. Being clergy does mean that I continually question my judgments and pray to be released from them.
Being clergy does not mean that I disregard my values, or that I do not call out injustice when I see it. Being clergy does mean that I do so with an open heart and a softer gaze. I do so without hatred or malice in that heart. That is how I keep it open.
My personality self finds much of what is unfolding to be repugnant and just plain wrong. Evil and bigotry are being perpetrated, and human beings are being maligned and marginalized. My personality self wants to rail against those performing such acts.
That is the part of my personality self that is not suited for ministry.
I have learned that by surrendering my accusations they are softened. As I allow for the darkness inside of me, I can compassion it in others. As I literally give UP my passion for equality and justice the fire within me becomes a torch that lights the way through this current level of madness. As I step back from what I am railing against I gain perspective on what I am ministering for.
I am very clear that by accepting ordination I become a loving uplifter of all beings. That is not an easy process, and it is one I am committed to embody. I often do not agree with ideologies or ensuing behaviors. I vehemently disagree with increasing regularity. I do not, however, mistake ideology for a person’s inherent Divinity. I do not confuse unskillfulness with unworthiness. I do not conflate behavior with identity.
So, I watch and hear and feel people screaming and minimizing each other, often in the name of religion and what is deemed as “right.” The day that I choose to become ensconced in that battle is the day I leave the ministry.
It does not mean I do not have moments of that. I just do not allow myself the luxury of living in such blame and divisiveness.
When I find myself caught in a self-made web of perception, opinion, and criticism, I have a little game I play with myself. I imagine the person or persons I am judging showing up at the Unity I lead. They come in, sit down, and at least temporarily become a part of my congregation.
And I imagine myself ministering to them. That is the same thing as saying I imagine bringing love to them.
My personality self cannot do that. And I do not minister from my personality self.
My vocation is a constant refinement. A constant peeling away of the veils of programming and conditioning that keeps me separated from those I deem as different. From those I disagree with. From those who trigger my own unconscious patterns.
I know I was born to minister. I am a most unlikely candidate. I am so imperfect and often so unskillful.
But my commitment and dedication never waver. I arise everyday with a prayer of “how may I serve” in my heart and on my lips. I constantly question where I am coming from, and what I am contributing with my quality of attention. I live within the inquiry of how I may be used in service of something greater than myself.
It is likely I will fall today into a hole of unconsciousness. I will hear a piece of news that sends me into judgment and reactivity. And in the name of what I choose to be upon this planet I will not stay in that hole for very long. I will pause, I will breathe, and I will pray. I will choose to bring blessing to what I was cursing. I will minister to possibility and compassion current reality.
I minister because I simply must. It is not what I say. It is what and who I choose to be and how I choose to relate. I bring love to what seems so unlovable. And it is a radical and humbling way to live.
They call me reverend. I am just another person. A person who chooses to let Source work through me.