Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

That it may please thee to illumine all bishops, priests, and
deacons, with true knowledge and understanding of thy
Word; and that both by their preaching and living, they may
set it forth, and show it accordingly,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

Hmmm. I am not so sure if I publicly want to admit my priestly blogfriends are "illuminated," but ok, they are. (grunt.)


That’s a pretty big request. Because of this blog, I have gotten more than my share of "collared friends" on this blog and on Facebook. I also have a tendency to be friends with my own clergy folk. I probably dig their humanness as much as I dig their priestliness. In small towns, because everyone knows everyone, and boundaries are not quite so firm and well-defined, well, it's a little sticky at times. There are times we can all hurt each others feelings in a way that wouldn't happen in larger parishes. But these days, there probably isn't a day go by that I don't think about the special burdens of my own clergy folk and my clergy blogfriends, and my clergy Facebook friends.

After all, y’all are human. And honestly, I don’t have any more expectations for you that you have any more “true knowledge and understanding of the world” than I do. But where the boundary fence stands, where I have to respect you for your priestliness, is you all took vows that said:

1. You believe you were called to the priesthood;
2. You trust the Church to lead you in that commitment;
3. You’ll respect and mind the bishop;
4. You’ll be diligent in reading and studying the Scriptures;
5. You’ll basically be an ambassador to Christ through what you deliver via the Word and Sacraments;
6. You’ll be faithful to your parish and work with them and other clergy to “build up the family of God”;
7. You’ll strive to live a “Christ-like” life;
8. You’ll persevere in prayer, not just public but in your own private prayer life.

That’s a pretty big and heavy list.

Then again, I signed on to a pretty heavy list myself. When I was sworn into the medical profession, I was administered the Oath of Geneva, which said:

1. I solemnly pledge myself to consecrate my life to the service of humanity :
2. I will give to my teachers the respect and gratitude which is their due;
3. I will practice my profession with conscience and dignity;
4. The health and life of my patient will be my first consideration;
5. I will respect the secrets which are confided in me;
6. I will maintain by all means in my power, the honor and the noble traditions of the medical profession;
7. My colleagues will be my brothers and sisters;
8. I will not permit considerations of religion, nationality, race, party politics or social standing to intervene between my duty and my patient;
9. I will maintain the utmost respect for human life, from the time of its conception, even under threat, I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity.

I always wonder if all the clergy folk in my life ever go to bed at night and lay awake, and think, “I didn’t do my list that I swore to very well today?” I know with my own list I sure have. Sometimes my list feels pretty heavy. It’s hard some days to see how I’m doing these things when I’m cleaning up problems in the office, or fussing about the billing or paperwork. I suppose some people might hold my feet to #9, since I’m pro-choice, but I think #9 doesn’t exactly mean what they think it might mean.

But I imagine you all go to bed some nights feeling a little impotent about “your list” same as I do mine. I imagine the weight of your list cuts into your shoulders on some days. I think some days you might “yearn to be ordinary,” but you can no more be ordinary than I can, I suppose.

You clergy followers of this blog might be a little surprised about this, but I read “your list” now and then, on pages 531 and 532 of the Book of Common Prayer. One of the ways I pray for all of you, is I read “your list” in the BCP. I ask for God to strengthen you in all the things on the list. I ask myself what parts of the list are the parts where I can help you live up to these things, even in the distance of cyberspace, and how I can do that. I ask God to keep you aware of the ways I can, and will help you with your list. I also know my own energy, and anal-retentiveness and occasional personal paranoias can be oppressive at times, and there can be occasional days we could clash here and there. That is certainly true with me and all my friends. When I'm a little out of sorts in that category, I think about the parts of your list where maybe I let you down a little, even if it was not on purpose, or the times I let your collars get in the way of me being totally revealing in the way I would a non-collared person, or the times I might feel (whether true or not in reality; remember, I do have a hyperactive paranoid gland on some days) that you all might be using your collar to "poke at me," or the times you might have misunderstood me and felt like I wasn’t mindful of you, or your list. Oh, I understand where it comes from. Sometimes I get tired of people wanting to make too much "medical talk" with me and I get weary of thinking "when to do it/when not to do it" and I am sure the priestly class has the very same problem!

But having all you "collared friends" is kind of fun, actually. I like feeling like I'm the kind of a person you all can open up with, as much as you feel comfortable doing. I recognize your need for "outlets" here and there. I joke all the time that one of my local functions is "parishioner that clergy can cuss in front of." The flip side is I get a LOT of spiritual insight from a lot of perspectives. As a person who loves to "take things apart and examine them," that is like giving me an entire workshop to play in!

But you have to know I take this part of The Great Litany very seriously with you clergy readers of this blog, because you DO have special burdens, and I take them very seriously!


I seriously don't believe I could do my job if I didn't know that people like you were holding me up in prayer. Seriously. Thank you.


Well, Elizabeth, I am serious as a crutch when I say I read that list now and then, and in my mind I see so many of my friends with too...and think about my own clergy folks and all the things they do...and know people like you, and Robert, and Ann, and Bosco, and all the rest of y'all are doing the same seems so big and universal and connecting...and I am filled with agape at how y'all do it!



Bookmark and Share

About Me

My photo
Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

Read the Monk Manifesto!

Light a Candle

Light a Candle
Light a candle on the site; click on an unlit candle to begin

Blog Archive

FEEDJIT Live Traffic Feed

Creative Commons License


Sign my Guestbook from Get your Free Guestbook from

Thanks for visiting my blog!