“Do you still believe in God?”
That was the question Fr. Dick Bowman asked me privately when I was nearing the end of the process of becoming an Episcopal priest. I was young then—full of fire and certainty and not a little arrogance, though I did not yet recognize it as such. I did not understand the question.
Today, on the 30th anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood, I do. The day was chosen to coincide with the celebration of the life of St. Andrew the Fisherman on Nov 30. I expect the reason is obvious. But had I known then what I know now, I might’ve chosen St. Thomas the Doubter, celebrated Dec 21st.
I do still believe. And I hope that at least little bit of the fire still burns in my belly; if it ever goes out or even grows dim, it’s probably time to hang up my collar. But these days certainty looks a lot more like a sin than a virtue, breeding self-righteousness, and I do my best to repent of it.
And arrogance… For reasons I don’t fully understand, it is so hard to recognize let alone root out. I can only say that life, and maybe even God, have a way of humbling us when humility is needed. There has been no escaping it. The truth is, though I will always regret the pain this has caused others, there are few things for which I am more grateful.