Fear Of Whales

Tales of a reluctant minister

Beware of Monks Bearing Gifts

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I have a friend who I used to think was so cool. I thought He was so cool, that I considered myself cooler for having known him. He is a classmate of mine at seminary, we are the same age, only between High School and Grad School, while I was working with College kids he was.. A Monk.

Like an honest to God, Praying to God, honest, Celibate, Carmelite Monk, in a monastery in Ireland. He spent MentalPrayerHermitage1years there, before realizing that the call was not for him, and joining me at a protestant seminary. Can you even imagine?

I took singing lessons from him. Because c’mon, now for the rest of my life I can say an ex-monk taught me to sing. We became friends, and I considered my background weak and uninteresting in comparison to his.

I realize I’m writing in the past tense. He is not dead, he just moved to Berkley, but more importantly, I’m in the past tense because I’ve stopped thinking about him in this way.

We talk a lot about differing gifts and equality among people. The Presbyterian Verbiage is “There is no hierarchy of grace, and there is therefore no hierarchy of ministry” and when I’m honest with myself I realize that I don’t believe it.

I mean there is a grace of ministry that is literally called “Miracles” and then on the other hand there is something like “Teaching”. And among a single gift, such as “Evangelism” for instance, I am pretty good at evangelism, but I am not remotely as good as some people. I mean that is a quantifiable thing. You can count it.

Yet my Monk friend has allowed me to see the truth in the doctrine which we have long confessed. He is awesome at some things at which I am not. Contemplative prayer for instance. Chanting. And he is also terrible at a lot of things. Once I met him as a real person, got frustrated with him, watched him try to do things like preach and exegete, I can confidently say that he will have a vibrant ministry which is no threat to mine.

Plus I get to tell stories about me and my Monk friend…


Written by RyanGaffney

July 15, 2015 at 8:59 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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