The jacarandas are in full flower, which means that exams are upon us — and for me that means the end of College (God-willing)! So, like a good procrastinator, I’m on the look out for distractions. And the pièce de résistance of distractions is to question the whole process. Which I’m about to do.
When I ask What am I studying for? I’m not taking aim at the validity of exams. Rather, I’m asking about the process of studying for ‘the ministry’ — which includes, but is obviously bigger than, what goes on at College.
Now I’ve some sense of what I’m not studying for:
- I don’t think I’m studying specifically for full-time ministry. As I read it, Jesus’ call to discipleship — ‘Take up your cross and follow me’ — simply is a call to full time ministry (ie. service).
- Nor am I studying to be ordained for ministry in the Anglican Diocese of Sydney. Not just because I’m not an ordination candidate. But because (I take it) we don’t think that’s the be all and end all of full time paid Christian ministry.
But beyond this I find I lack a clear, positive picture of what I am studying for. Precisely what will I be qualified to be in a few short weeks?
Or, to come at it from another angle, I’m just not sure I can decisively say what would disqualify me from attaining the goal of all my studying and preparation? Actually, I do have some idea of this — if the moral and faith requirements for elders outlined in the Pastoral Epistles are anything to go by. But is what I’m studying for an Every Christian Really Should thing? Or is it only suitable for particular kinds of people? (And, if so, what kinds of people?)
I suppose I should have figured this one all out already. (Perhaps it was one of those depths plumbed at Anglican Candidates Conference). But maybe you can help me. What am I studying for?