(I’m calling it; that is the worst post name I’ve ever come up with. By miles)
This week, I began my second year of studying to become an aged-care chaplain. It will take a while; I can only fit in a certain amount of study between work and the boys, and although I am not type-A in any way shape or form, I am a mature aged student, and you know how we like to do all the reading and ask all the questions and get the best mark that we possibly can.
All of the volunteer work that I’ve done in the last 15 years or so has been in aged-care facilities , so when I decided that I wanted my next career to be ‘something church-y’, it made sense to look towards chaplaincy. Who knows, I may be simply dreadful at it and fail miserably, but I intend to find out either way.
(On the topic of aged-care, my Grandmother turns 95 today. Her father was at the Gallipoli landing and my children get to spend time with her regularly. That’s an amazing connection with history right there)
There’s one unit that I’m studying that I’m really excited about. It’s called ‘Introduction to Formation for Ministry’ and it looks to me like The Perfect Subject. From what I can tell, it’s concerned with how different people have grown in their Christian identity (by studying biographies, etc) and then connecting this to an understanding of how we ourselves can grow in our own faith, life and in serving others. The lecturer specifically said ‘This isn’t going to be about navel-gazing; it’s about growing in Christ’, but I’m pretty certain I can make it all about me without anyone noticing *.
My excitement about this subject contrasts nicely with another one that I enrolled in. On reading that the major assignment would be (to paraphrase) ‘a case study of a specific congregation or organisation, focussing particularly on understandings of leadership, the way the leadership team(s) function, decision-making processes and the model of governance’, and would rely on interviews, discussions and recommendations for change, I withdrew in about 3 seconds flat. I’ll concentrate on my nice little spiritual formation unit for now, thank you very much; one that avoids talking to actual people too much.
Yes, I realise that there might be a slight disconnect between an avoidance of that, and wanting to become a chaplain. But I’m fairly sure that this is something I’m being called to do, so we will see. My sister has asked me if I can sit down with her and answer lots of questions that she has about Christianity and faith in general. She is worried though that she might ask ‘really stupid, or just offensive questions’. I pointed out to her that that was pretty much the position I was ten years ago and I can’t really imagine anything that she could say that would offend me, but hey, she can be quite direct, so who knows?
I’ll report back on how I go. Maybe I’ll be able to get my first WON A SOUL FOR JESUS bumper sticker. It’s on my bucket list, after all.
*I’m joking, seriously.