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ordination paperwork: question #6

oops. Missed a day. Back to the questions...

a) Theology

6) For the sake of the mission of Jesus Christ in the world and the most effective witness to the Christian gospel, and in consideration of your influence as an ordained minister, are you willing to make a complete dedication of yourself to the highest ideals of the Christian life; and to this end will you agree to exercise responsible self-control by personal habits conducive to physical health, intentional intellectual development, fidelity in marriage and celibacy in singleness, social responsibility, and growth in grace and the knowledge and love of God?

Yes, I am willing. I believe this description of “the highest ideals of Christian life” is a model for ordained ministers, and a way of life to be modeled in turn for others, for communities being served. I see this agreement as a call to commitment and accountability, not unlike the standards John Wesley tried to uphold for himself and for those in his societies.
The words of this commitment signify time, effort, and care over one’s self as a leader, as a disciple. These words describe the kind of service into which we are all called to take part. The question closes with the phrase “growth in grace and the knowledge and love of God.” Growing in grace and in the knowledge of and love of God is the lifelong journey which is the desire of my heart, as it was for John Wesley, and as we seek to make it for the people we serve.
The ideals listed above urge us to live into effective leadership. Beyond that, the call to social responsibility, to emotional maturity, to growth in grace – these call us to ideals that contribute to our own wholeness, to help us become more Christ like, to help us enjoy more fully our relationship with God.


Anonymous said…

As I told you the other day, I love reading your answers the questions. However, help me as a layman to understand exactly what these questions are for. Does the Conference/Bishop require you to answer these prior to you being ordained? Are there right and wrong answers?

I don't want to cause a whole stink of replies, but I am curious about this Question #6. It appears to me that the way the question is worded, there is no way that Beth Stroud or Karen Dammerman (sp?) could have possibly answered them truthfully without bringing the scrutiny of the UMC on themselves. Maybe I don't understand what your board does with your answers or how they us them? Are there right and wrong answers to these questions? I assume one could answer them and then *change their mind* after they are ordained. Help me here. I always thought that the way one becomes ordained is that a Bishop "ordains" them. Is that not correct?
Beth Quick said…
Hi Keith - thanks for your questions, which are good ones.

I guess how the board of ordained ministry (that's who will be reading these, at least the primary audience.) responds certainly varies from conference to conference. Some places have more of a sense of looking for a "right" answer and having "wrong" answers. My uncle, also a pastor, and on BOOM, says that what he/they look for most is well-articulated and consistent theology, even if it is not the same as his.

Anyway, more specifically to #6. Here's what I think, personally: The question assumes a dichotomy of two states of being - single, married. I think many people would not describe themselves as either single or married. People who do not have the option of marrying certainly would probalby not label themselves as "single" if they are living in a faithful and committed relationship, even though they are not legally married. So I guess it is about interpretation, as usual. I know some people see the question as very clear cut, but others, already struggling to find a place in the church, probably are doing their best to answer the question faithfully and answer calls to minsitry faithfully.

My two cents anyway.

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