I'm back from my first Board of Ordained Ministry interview retreat, at least from the perspective of being the interviewer. I sat in the hotseat myself in 1990 and 1993 and remembered, all these last few days, what I was like then and what it meant to move ahead in my ordination process.
I spent last week reading more than 350 pages of theological and autobiographical statements, sermons and Bible studies. And then the last 3 days interviewing those who wrote those statements as part of their process to move to ordination. It was, as I expected, delightful and difficult work.
Our Board process now divides our interviews into three sections: the pastor as Leader, as Person, and as Theologian. I didn't ask to be on a specific group, but I thought about all the work I've done in the last several years around leadership, spiritual development, and healthy habits and I thought for sure I'd be on the Person or Leader groups. So then I was surprised to see I was chairing a Theology committee.
Not that my theology is inadequate, I'd say, but I haven't read as much of it in the last several years as all the other stuff. Now, however, after these few days, of talking with those who came to interview, of hours of working with my interview team, I come back home hungry to browse my shelf again and read and reread some theology. After days of asking about grace and sin and evil and the redemption of creation I'm ready to do some serious reflecting about it, myself, to reinvigorate my vocabulary and explore once again, with some of the giants, what this all means.
But where to start? I could stand to brush up on process, liberation, feminist, creation, or something written before 1970. Barth, Tillich, Moltmann, Bonhoeffer? I even heard Augustine mentioned a few times this week. There's a lot on my shelf that has faded in my mind and books I've never gotten to. Someone handed me a copy of Rita Nakashima Brock's newest book, Saving Paradise, and she is coming to town next month.
And this morning I got another 15% coupon from Barnes and Noble. Hmmm.
I really gotta catch up from all my days away (I've had 4 weeks in a row with 2 nights/3 days away) and now all I can think about it curling up with a book.