This is post from my friend, Tim Powers. I’ve known him since before his ordination as his brother and I have been friends since earlier than that. This was originally posted on Facebook. It is, indeed, his reflection yesterday after 24 years of ordination and it mirrors the experience of many of the bloggers and authors I’ve quoted on this blog over the years. Tim’s experience is not like mine. I was never as traditionally conservative (with all of the baggage that can imply) as he was yet we’ve found ourselves in a similar space. Missional theology has shaped much of who we are and how we both practice ministry.
I thank Tim for permission to post this here.
Today (June 1) is the 24th Anniversary of my Ordination as an Elder in the United Methodist Church (June 1, 1991). Rather than being an end of a process it was really a beginning, and in some ways I feel that I am only really beginning now 24 years on.
There have been many ups and downs, as there always are in life. There have been more than a few times when I would have gladly driven to the Bishop’s office and handed back my certificate and done something else, anything else. But feelings come and go, and God remains faithful. And I truly can’t imagine doing anything else than what I do.
This past year has been possibly the most transformational year I have ever experienced. I continue to be purged from the damage done from my former belief in the angry god and find myself more and more drawn to the God I said I believed in all along but often didn’t, whom Jesus called his Abba.
I continue to turn my back on the form of Christianity that is preoccupied with fear, unworthiness, guilt, and appeasing a god whose basic stance toward humanity is anger. Too many people in too many churches believe in this false god, and sadly for too many people this is the only god they ever hear about, and it’s no wonder they decide to take a pass; I would too. Actually I have, and I invite anyone else who is burned out on false religion to take a fresh look at the God who is exactly like Jesus–fiercely loving, radically inclusive of all people, nonviolent, and who invites everyone to turn away from whatever it is that holds them back and become part of his Kingdom, which is not a disembodied place way up in the sky after we die, but is a transforming vision for this world–a vision that “another world is possible.”
And so I continue to work out what the words the late Bishop Leroy Hodapp said to me 24 years ago, “Take authority as an Elder…” mean. And I continue to hear the words of Stan Lee: “With great power comes great responsibility.”