Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Optimism and the Board of Ordained Ministry

I am at heart an optimistic person.  Although I am enough of a realist to know to expect the worst possible outcome, I almost always anticipate the best.  I am reminded of Ronald Reagan's favorite joke.  To quote:
"The joke concerns twin boys of five or six. Worried that the boys had developed extreme personalities - one was a total pessimist, the other a total optimist - their parents took them to a psychiatrist." 
"First the psychiatrist treated the pessimist. Trying to brighten his outlook, the psychiatrist took him to a room piled to the ceiling with brand-new toys. But instead of yelping with delight, the little boy burst into tears. 'What's the matter?' the psychiatrist asked, baffled. 'Don't you want to play with any of the toys?' 'Yes,' the little boy bawled, 'but if I did I'd only break them.'
"Next the psychiatrist treated the optimist. Trying to dampen his out look, the psychiatrist took him to a room piled to the ceiling with horse manure. But instead of wrinkling his nose in disgust, the optimist emitted just the yelp of delight the psychiatrist had been hoping to hear from his brother, the pessimist. Then he clambered to the top of the pile, dropped to his knees, and began gleefully digging out scoop after scoop with his bare hands. 'What do you think you're doing?' the psychiatrist asked, just as baffled by the optimist as he had been by the pessimist. 'With all this manure,' the little boy replied, beaming, 'there must be a pony in here somewhere!'"  - excerpted from How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life by Peter Robinson
I am that optimist - there's got to be a pony in here somewhere!  I think that we are promised that in Romans 8 - that all things, no matter how good or how bad - in fact how incredibly awful, stinking and horrible - all things will work together for the good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose. We may not see it immediately - we may NEVER see it, but this is His promise.  And I rest in that promise.

Or as Thich Nhat Hanh would state it:
"'Neither defiled nor immaculate.' Defiled or immaculate. Dirty or pure. These are concepts we form in our mind. A beautiful rose we have just cut and placed in our vase is immaculate. It smells so good, so pure, so fresh. It supports the idea of immaculateness. The opposite is a garbage can. It smells horrible, and it is filled with rotten things.
"But that is only when you look on the surface. If you look more deeply you will see that in just five or six days, the rose will become
part of the garbage. You do not need to wait five days to see it. If you just look at the rose, and you look deeply, you can see it now. And
if you look into the garbage can, you see that in a few months its contents can be transformed into lovely vegetables, and even a rose." excerpted from The Heart of Understanding.
Things just ARE.  Most really are not that different in substance - the good that we perceive cannot really exist without that which we see as bad, just as the rose cannot exist without compost, the rose is on the way to being the compost and the compost the rose.  It's all a part of the cycle.

I was deferred by the Board of Ordained Ministry for a year.  Some see this as bad, awful, rotten and so forth.  I see the pony, I see the rose. I am on the way to becoming the person God intended.  How can this be bad?  All things work together for the good, for those who are called according to His purpose.  If God is for me, who can be against me?  Praise God!  I am becoming.


Preacher Dan said...

Theresa, I was deferred last year. Like you, I decided to be an optimist and to make the best of everything. I also addressed the concerns/deficiencies mentioned by the board and took them head on. And yesterday afternoon it paid off when I was approved. If I can offer one piece of advice to you is that you find a mentor of some sort and address those things the board wants you to work on. You will probably get assigned to a deferral group like I was and also make the most of it. You will be in my prayers as the year goes by...

Theresa Coleman said...

Thank you Dan! I am going to indeed fulfill the Board's requirements. I am so happy that you passed! Yipee!

Joe Harrington said...

Theresa is the long run deferral is no big deal. I like Dan, I was deferred first time. I took advise of committee that deferred me and concentrated on what they saw as deficency. Passed easily following year. Deferral is not "no;" it's just "not yet."

Mickey Moss said...

Theresa, you are in good company. I to have been on the road you are traveling. Use the journey wisely for God has placed you there to prepare you for glory. I grew in spirit and wisdom during my year long journey. And by the teaching of the Holy Spirit I am certain that Christ will give you wisdom, discernment, and great joy.