I’m one step closer to living up to my description in the sidebar over to the right. A few days ago I mailed my entrance application off to the South Dakota synod of the ELCA. That’s what will officially get me started in the candidacy process for becoming ordained in the Lutheran Church (ELCA, obviously–we’re the only Lutherans who ordain women!).
Since I’m drawn to rural life issues, my goal is to be trained as an intentional interim minister to serve congregations in this region while being based here at Lake Herman. An interim minister helps transitioning churches who are between pastors. Depending on each church’s circumstances and needs, the IM may help a congregation evaluate its history, resolve conflicts, and create a vision for the future. Of course, that’s in addition to all the usual pastorly things like preaching, baptisms, weddings, funerals, visitations, etc. Integrating my interest in environmental stewardship and sustainability, I’d also like to help with program development for the synod in response to its 2004 adoption of the ELCA’s Social Statement, Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope, and Justice.
Now I wait for the synod to arrange my initial interview with the candidacy committee and my psychological evaluation…..and to find out what they think of my interest areas. If all goes well, it’ll be back to school for the Master of Divinity degree soon. Apparently, my timing is spot on, since Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN, has just started a pilot program for a Distributed Learning M.Div. That would allow me to combine online courses and summer on-campus intensive courses to complete the degree over five or six years.
In the meantime, I’m reading through a couple of tremendous articles on homelessness/homecoming/homemaking by Steven Bouma-Prediger and Brian Walsh. I’ve read Bouma-Prediger before for one of my classes at Regent College, and I’m really hoping to hear him speak at the Center for Theology and Land‘s rural ministry conference in March. I did get to hear Walsh speak at Regent just before his latest book, Colossians Remixed: Subverting the Empire, was released. So, I was thrilled to find out recently that the two have expanded their thoughts on place into a new book to be released in May 2008, Beyond Homelessness: Christian Faith in a Culture of Displacement.
Here’s a snippet from one of the the articles I’m savoring at the moment:
An educational system established to train producers and consumers for a global market and rooted in an absolutization of efficiency and profitability is only successful when it produces docile and numb citizens who conform “to a rootless and placeless monoculture of commercial expectations and products.” It is not surprising, therefore, that the literature of “Generation X” is suffused with such images of placeless numbness. Writing in Life After God, Douglas Coupland confesses, “… I have never really felt like I was ‘from’ anywhere; home to me … is a shared electronic dream of cartoon memories, half-hour sitcoms and national tragedies.” As such, Coupland says that he speaks with no distinct accent, or more accurately, he speaks with “the accent of nowhere–the accent of a person who has no fixed home in their mind.” Wendell Berry would say that the system has succeeded perfectly in producing such a generation of homeless young people. And it is no wonder, then that we have seen nothing less than the “unsettling of America.” The double entendre is quite intentional: the unsettling of America–its suburbanization, mallification, McDonaldification–is unsettling and disturbing to those who perceive what is being lost and why.
Here are the links:
“Education for Homelessness or Homemaking?” (also a PDF)
Go forth and read.