More than four years ago, after a series of classes, discussions, debates, and prayer, I stood up, alongside brothers and sisters, and made five promises; or, better stated, took five vows. The first three are essentially vows of personal faith and piety. The fourth is about support and service. On the whole, these have been easy. But the fifth one; that fifth vow is hard. It pushes back and challenges me to a life that is more than the one I am seeking.
Do you submit yourself to the governance and discipline of the church and promise to study its purity and peace?
First of all, I do not “submit” very well. So right off the bat, this one is tough to swallow. Then, inherent in this vow is the promise (or at least looming prospect) of discipline: unsurprisingly, not a favorite of mine. And we end with a study of purity and peace. The “study” part is fine, but I’m a firestorm. I doubt very much that anyone has ever described me as peaceful.
This is more than I want.
What I want is rebellion and to go my own way. I want to be the loudest and last voice yelling for my cause. I want to pick and choose and be the arbiter of whatever sort of ‘justice’ suits me today.
But settling for my desires betrays a lack of imagination.
I have been called to a life bigger than the one I know. And I have been called there alongside brothers and sisters who watched me promise to “study the church’s purity and peace.” And it is these men and women, these voices, who listen to my tyranny, then show me a better way. One that is more than I could ever dare to ask or imagine.