Thursday, 29 June 2006

On Not Being a Bishop Elect and the Process of Getting Here

So, I'm a guy. It takes me a few days to figure out what on earth I'm feeling.

Last Saturday, June 24th, the Anglican Diocese of Calgary elected its 8th bishop. I, along with seven others, was a candidate in that election; a great honour. In just two ballots, the Venerable Derek Hoskin (God bless him!) of Red Deer, our diocese's senior Archdeacon and Administrator of our diocese since the 7th bishop retired, was elected.

None of we other seven even came close. Derek was chosen and we seven Barsabbas's (see Acts 1:15-17, 21-26) were not.

I want to record some feelings and discoveries I made during the process.

This was a surprisingly difficult thing to do; way more difficult than I expected it to be.

The first difficult thing was deciding to let my name stand, or not. Quite a number of people thought it would be a good idea. If I'm honest I have to admit that on many days part of me would have liked to be a bishop even in these "interesting" times.

It was quite a job to pray it all out. Is God calling me to let my name stand in this election, was the question I had to answer. It required some effort to avoid letting that question be drowned out by others, such as, did I think I was electable or did I think I could do the job.

So I asked some trusted people, some in my parish, some not, some Anglican, some not, to pray asking that question and let me know the results. There were no "no's."

I also looked back in my journals for some prophetic things folk have said. Everything seemed to point to letting my name stand. I could find no reason not to.

The prospect of being elected frightened me, but even that could not, for me, be a reason to refuse. I've come to think that fear is not a good enough reason for not stepping out when it seems that God is calling me into something new.

So I did.

There then ensued an amazing time of emotional disturbance and ups and downs ranging from "Are you out of your mind? Who do you think you are? You've been far too out-spoken on what you stand for" to "This could happen! What an exciting prospect! I just might be able to make a difference."

This was intensified by the candidates "dog and pony show road-trip" when we spoke to delegates and did the dvd thing. A nerve-wracking experience but well done by the search committee and a much better way of preparing the diocese for an election.

The experience certainly cranked up the intensity of my prayer-life. I prayed fervently...not "O please let me be bishop," but "Glorify Your Name!" and "Your will be done" and "Jesus deliver me from the desire of being chosen."

And then came the big day. As I have already written, not even close. Thoughts on that:

All the "yes's," let your name stand obviously had nothing to do with actually becoming the bishop of Calgary. If we weren't all just plain wrong, the Lord must have had some other purpose in mind. No doubt there are many under-used spiritual muscles in me. This experience must have given many of them a weight-bearing work-out.

That it happens in public is hard. Perhaps it was just a lesson in humility.

In the end, I honestly don't see how, with integrity, I could have refused to let my name stand. If there was a "no" somewhere in the discernment process, I missed it.

Yogi Berra once said, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it!" I tried.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord.