In a Facebook discussion there was conversation about “idolatry.” Such discussions always take me back to the ways in which God has dealt with it in my life.
I had sought deacon ordination in The UMC starting in 2008 and was discontinued in 2017 after a tumultuous 3 years with the ordination board committees. I knew that God had called me to deacon ordination and I knew why. But I also knew from the first interview with the ordination board committee as a provisional presenting for ordination that it would never happen. God showed it to me clearly right then, right there, saying in my spirit, “Be still and watch. This isn’t about you.” But God did not release me from the process until three years later, after much turmoil and questioning of “what are you going to do with THIS???? How am I to respond to all of THIS????”
I ultimately was ordained through Christian Leaders Institute and have continued growing in the ministry in which God had placed me. I learned so much through my struggle with individuals and the processes within The UMC. But mostly I learned that God is God and no institutional organization can sit in judgment of the validity of a person’s calling and readiness to be used by God. God can do whatever, whenever, wherever, however, and with whomever He chooses. And when one is sheltered in the will of the Almighty, the storms may blow, but safety is never in question. And even religious devotion can be an idol if the object of the devotion is one’s church, denomination, or dogma.
I wrote elsewhere about the irrelevance of ordination in my weblog. I operate free of the encumbrances of the episcopal system of The UMC, but under authority of The State of Florida, as well as that of a local church and those whom God has placed in my life to hold me to account for the stewardship of Kingdom resources and my witness in my little place at “the ends of the earth.” He will free us from any idolatry…..even to the institutional church….