Scattered Thoughts On 18 Years of Ordained Ministry

Scattered Thoughts On 18 Years of Ordained Ministry June 21, 2024


18 years ago, I was ordained a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ at The Rock Baptist Church in Rex, Georgia.

*Yes.  Since then… I’ve had to get glasses.  I’ve shaved my head.  I’ve grown a beard.

2 years ago, I was incardinated into the priesthood of the Catholic Church by Bishop James St. George at St. Miriam Parish in Flourtown, Pennsylvania.

“Do you believe in a literal hell?” I’ll never forget that question. For one of the pastors that convened my ordination council, that was the most important question that he could come up with. I answered matter of factly, “I believe that any separation from God is a literal hell.” Life has changed so much since then. I’ve slowly learned that nothing can separate us from the love of God. I try to live in that truth daily. Sometimes that pesky question from my ordination council pops up into my head. Theology that draws us away from the love of God has a way of doing that from time to time. But I believe that love covers a multitude of sins. I think this is the reason I’m able to still look back and celebrate the communal recognition of the calling of God on my life. Even though such a calling has changed dramatically in the many years since.

Three men are pictured with me the night of my ordination. Rev. Charles Worthy was the most loving man I’d ever known. I don’t know that anyone has changed my life as drastically as he did. Indeed, he set me on a path to do the justice work that has filled my ministry ever since. Rev. Worthy died not long after the picture was taken. Rev. Don Bazel is still the most fundamentalist pastor I have ever let get close to me. Multiple years after he helped lead the ordination, he tried to convene a council to take it away based on my beliefs about LGBTQ people. Such efforts failed. In recent years, Rev. Tripp Skipper has come back into my life. For the reappearance of a dear friend, I’m thankful. Without these three men, the ordination would have never happened.

The young man that was ordained that night many years ago no longer exists. I’ve been baptized through the fires of so many heartaches, hells and injustices. Then again, though I’m different…love still abides. God has been so faithful to me. Indeed, God has helped me to die to all the certainties that I carried back then…so that I might truly live for others.

In recent years, I’ve found a home in the sacraments of the Catholic Church.  Regularly, I am fed in order to feed.  So thankful for my friend Bishop James St. George standing in the middle.  Here’s to 18 more years.

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