I’ll know soon when I’ll be ordained as a lay server at my church.
In Ecclesia Gnostica*, lay server is basically entry-level lay clergy. No training or experience required. The priesthood in EG does not rely on a seminary program but instead, much like the priesthood before the rise of universities in the 12th century, it is an apprenticed position where one’s study is self-taught and one learns the elements of the mass through participation.
I’m actually feeling really happy about this. It’s a big endeavor but with college over (until I figure out how to weasel my way into grad school) I need something big and ambitious to throw my efforts into. My father seems overjoyed to hear I’m going into the clergy and is happy to help me in the mean time. My fiance, my counselor, and my bishop all seem to think it’s a good thing for me, too.
Even so, this is where the real work begins. I need to really learn how to deal with frustrating people in the most harmless but effective way possible, first of all, because “run them off by being belligerent and intimidating” is no longer an option (nor was it ever a particularly helpful way of dealing with the problem).
I could probably name ten thousand other things that I feel the need to change, or at least improve, about the sort of person I’ve been. This isn’t because someone is standing over me telling me I have to change either, it’s because I know these things don’t serve me and I’m trying to shed them, the way a snake sheds its old skin. I have a fearful streak that makes my life frustrating and less free than it should be, and I just want to find some kind of peace.
Maybe I’m just the sort of desperate scoundrel that seeks a final refuge in religion trying to fix a problem so pathological that it will eventually be my undoing. In fact I have a strong sense that my fear will be my undoing in this life because I’ve already dodged that bullet a few times. I can bracket my hedonism safely enough, I can bring myself back from the brink when extreme melancholy comes knocking, but I’m absolutely at my worst when I’m fearful, or when my natural tendency toward paranoia gets triggered. I’ve already done and said some stupid things in a fearful state and I suspect that one day I’ll push my luck too far if I don’t get this under control.
I have nothing to lose by trying, though.
*Not to be confused with Ecclesia Gnostica Mysteriorum in Palo Alto which is an offshoot of our church, or Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica which is a branch of Thelema and in no way affiliated with our church.