I am at the dining room table with folders, cup of tea, scripture, a couple of pens and my music going. This seems to be a space where I can get the writing done. The project this week is to gather the paperwork together for a Clinical Pastoral Education Equivalency. To be certified by the Association of Professional Chaplain one needs to have a Master of Divinity degree, four units of CPE- that’s the clinical pastoral ed thing- and then 2000 hours as a paid chaplain. I have completed the MDiv, have two accredited CPE units done with a third starting up at the end of May and one year of field study that should qualify for the equivalency unit. You are allowed one of the four units to be an equivalency. So there are the details.
The bigger picture is that I have been going over what I did in chaplaincy work my second year of seminary. You have to do field work as part of the requirements for the degree and most seminarians do their year at a church because they are following a call to ordination as a minister within some sort of denomination. I am called to be an interfaith chaplain which is a bit different and so I did a field study placement as a chaplain intern at Newton Wellesley Hospital through Harvard Divinity School. Now I am looking back to see what my goals were then and how I attained them, or changed them or found out I needed some more work in certain areas. We call that our “growing edges”. God I hate that term.
Seems like every field; ministry, business, psychology, all comes with terminology. And every association or grouping of folk have their rules and regulations that from the society for which they congregate. I get that. I get that we form groups with like-minded folks and have rules by which we play. But sometimes the rules become its own game. And I don’t like that either. I want to get to the actual doing of stuff, working with people, rather than getting stuck in the details.
It is not that I don’t need more training. I do and I hope to remain teachable and open to learning more about the art of chaplaincy and pastoral care. But the whole paperwork thing drives me buggers. To the point where I will do almost anything to get around what it is I should be doing. I have been know to clean the bathroom instead of writing the paper. I also just took up running again, not to get into shape, but most likey to avoid the paperwork. If I run myself tired I won’t have so much angst about the paperwork. And it is really not that bad. Not like a theological systematics paper for Prof. Heim or a Christology paper for Prof. Valentine.
And here is what I know about myself. I get all caught up in the angst of getting the paperwork done, rather than just sitting down and answering the questions and writing the papers. Nothing has changed much there. I would rather blog, with the hope that by clearing my voice and opening up the flow of writing, that the writing I need to submit will come easier. And that my friends, all comes down to being judged as being acceptable by how I write and what I say. Old wounds from Jr. High School where I learned I am dyslexic and became fearful that what I wrote was wrong because I never understood what exactly people were asking me to do.
OK, so stepping back, I have a folder of work I did for a field study through Harvard. They thought it was good enough to pass me through. I guess my “growing edge” is to accept that perhaps what I did should count for something.