There is nothing burning inside of me, wanting to be written in my blog. But I feel like procrastinating all of the reading I should be doing, and blogging is a great tool for procrastination. Therefore, I am blogging regardless of whether or not I will say anything of importance or that is worth reading in the blabbering and blathering that follows.
Once again, I was not surprised by what happened at the meeting for my class. We elected co-presidents and co-vice presidents with no problem. Several nominees for each category, actually. In a relatively short time we had people elected to sit in on the various faculty committees and a couple of our student led committees. Then, it came time to get some people to sit on the youth committee. Crickets. Although a couple of my classmates turned to me, expecting me to either volunteer or looking to nominate me. But, seeing as how I already have a position in our student association, I was unable to represent my class on another committee. So, what happened, you ask? We decided to wait until our next meeting to figure it out. Grrrr... I'm trying not to be angry or bitter, and reminding myself that not everyone has the same calling or the same gifts that I do, and many people do not have confidence in their abilities to work with youth. There are a lot of factors that play into the reluctance of my classmates to volunteer for this committee. But, I also get angry because I think a lot of it has to do with people not wanting to "waste their time" on the youth committee. And THAT pisses me off. But, I've already spoken to that in a previous post, so I will not continue to beat that dead horse any longer.
So, it's the weekend after my first week of classes in the first semester of my final year of seminary. I have A LOT of reading to do. A LOT. And I don't want to do it. But I know I need to. And I've had a lot of meetings. In my current position as one of the co-vice presidents of the association of seminary students (that's not the real name of the group, but if you take the first letter of each of those words it spells ass and that makes me laugh) it seems like I'm constantly attending meetings and being "official" and whatnot. Although, thank the sweet Lord, I did not get elected to the position of co-president (which is what my friend and I originally did) because the co-presidents attend all of the meetings that I do, plus faculty meetings and cabinet meetings and board meetings. Doesn't sound like much fun to me.
The next step I need to take in the candidacy process of the ELCA is what is called approval. This step is done in several stages. There is the approval essay (which I have written, and then I need to provide a copy to my candidacy committee in my home synod, my academic advisor and my second faculty interviewer (more about that in a second)), then there is my faculty interview which is run by my academic advisor and a second faculty member. Then, sometime this semester (or over Christmas break) I have my approval interview with my candidacy committee. Hopefully, I am approved for ordained ministry by both the faculty here at seminary and by my candidacy committee. I can also be postponed or denied. If I am postponed, there are some hoops I will have to jump through, and some things that will need to be done before I can go up for approval again. If I am denied, there are no other options. I'm basically out of the process, and these last five years of seminary have been a waste.
Normally, I wouldn't be too worried about this approval process. My academic advisor that I have had since the beginning of my seminary career, who knows me extremely well, has experience and practice putting up with my crap, and who doesn't let me get away with anything has always been a great supporter and advocate for me. She definitely believes in me and my gifts for ministry. However, she's on sabbatical this year. So, I had to switch to a different advisor. So, I chose the professor who I think knows me the second best, and who I am friendly with. He will probably ask tough questions, but I do not fear that he will enter the interview with the intention of making me cry or denying me approval. But, now here's the biggest however: He has been teamed up with THE professor that intimidates the crap out of me. This professor intimidates a lot of people, and many (including me) have tried to schedule their classes and lives in such a way as to avoid taking classes with this man. Except for systematic theology my first year, when I did not have a choice, I have not taken any classes with this man. So, of course he is my approval interviewer.
So, if you know me, then you know I have spent sufficient time freaking out. It has not been helped by conversations that go like this:Speaker #1:
I got Dr. E and Dr. R for my approval interview. I think it should be fun.Speaker #2:
Yeah, I got Dr. O and Dr. L for mine. It will be a little tough, but it should be fine.Speaker #3:
That's who I have. I'm just glad I don't Dr. F and Dr. P, that is the scariest team out of all of them.Speaker #1:
Yeah, those two would be the scariest.Speaker #2:
I am SO thankful I don't have them. Who do you have, Mark?Me:
Um... Dr. F and Dr. PSpeakers #1,2,3
: (various combinations of "ooooh" and "ummmm..." and "well...uhh... that really won't be that bad....")
But, honestly, the more I get used to the idea the better I am able to handle it. It is, indeed, nerve-wracking but I whole-heartedly believe that no faculty member is out to get anyone, and chances are if there were any reason for me to believe that I would not receive faculty approval, I am sure that I would have been told before now. A couple of years ago, a friend of mine who would have had difficulty getting through the approval process was contacted ahead of time and told that they should think about postponing the process for themselves, and that they should think about doing certain things, as a way to make it look like the postponement was their idea, that way they wouldn't have to do all of the hoop jumping that occurs when the faculty or the candidacy committee postpones you. This way, it made the candidate look proactive and as if they were taking the initiative. No faculty member has said anything like that to me, so I think that I will be okay. I'll be sure to let you know what happens as this progresses.
And now, I should really go back to reading. As much as I may not want to, I know that it is something I need to do. I hope you are all enjoying your weekend!