Thursday, July 19, 2012

MASTER OF DIVINITY? REALLY?

Saint Mark - Brancoveanu Monastery
Saint Mark - Brancoveanu Monastery (Photo credit: Fergal of Claddagh)
Master of Divinity -- Really? We pastors are supposed to go to school, gain a strong Biblically-grounded theology. We are exit grad school with an MDiv (Master of Divinity), or so we're supposed to. But really, can I lay claim to that title?

Sure I can parse a few Greek verbs. I can exegete a passage of Scripture. I may be even be able to preach a understandable sermon, or offer effective organizational leadership. I may even maintain a good bed-side manner and bring pastoral care to those who are shut-in, or in the hospital or are grieving over the death of loved-one. But, consider myself a Master of Divinity? Hardly!

Consider, dear reader, (and I might lose my Ministerial Certificate of Ordination over this.) I still walk in the flesh from time to time (Hardly divine). I have been known to get my exposition of Scripture wrong once in a while (or so I have been told by that dear saint with the veins popping out of his neck!) There have been times I wished I was the Pope so I could excommunicate a certain attendee at our annual meeting. And yes, there have been times when I did not feel like visiting a new attendee, and truth be told, I sometimes wonder why the "good die young?"

For more than thirty-five years I have carried the mantle of the pastor. I have planted a church, officiated weddings, funerals, baptisms, baby-dedications (even baptized an infant, not immersion of course, which is usually not done in my denomination.) Without trying to sound proud, I think I have done it all, seen it all, and not surprised by much, but to say that I am a Master of Divinity, hardly. Truth be known, I don't consider myself a master of anything.

Now, please hear me out (or read me out, because you're most likely not hearing this blog), I am not saying we should throw the proverbial baby out with the proverbial bathwater, nor should we throw caution to the wind. What I am saying (writing) is that we all need to take a step back, and give a sober look at the titles we confer and receive. I mean, as I see it, there was only One who was/is Divine, and it is in His footsteps I must tread, it is to His Image I am called to conform. He is the Master of Divinity. My call is to trust and obey as a faithful follower.
Well, I'd better stop. I am sure the letter requested the return of of Certificate of Ordination is being sent out in today's mail, and then I'll have to change the title of my blog-site. I wonder what I'll call it? Any ideas?
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