It's a little daunting to think that I will be studying Theology again soon. I first studied it when I was at Uni 20 years ago. I came away with a passable Biblical Studies degree, but haven't really gone out of my way to do much 'deep' stuff since. I have on occasions had the need to research some subjects in depth, in particular 'The Ordination of Women', and have been amazed at the amount written on the subject. The stuff I've read has ranged from the 'extremely well argued and researched' to the 'total hogwash' spewed forth by those who really don't have a clue what they are talking about. The perpetrators of such drivel usually begin from their own standpoint and seek to prove it without any regard to the opposing arguments. I have encountered good and bad on both sides of the divide, so please don't think I am taking a pot shot at the anti women priests brigade..I'm not.
The other subject I've had some interesting discussions about over the years is Calvinism and in particular Limited Atonement and Predestination. The Atonement has always been a subject I've found fascinating as there are so many different interpretations and explanations of it. Hopefully I'll get the opportunity to investigate it further.. if it is ordained that I should...hmm.
Well I'm back from the BAP. It was at Shallowford House in Staffordshire and lasted from Monday Evening until Wednesday teatime. The whole thing was really exhausting but enjoyable nontheless. Shallowford is a lovely old house in the country, left to Lichfield diocese in the 30's I think. Had we been there in the summer we could have enjoyed a game of croquet on th lawn..not SO attractive in February however!!! My room was quite big and the bed comfy which is always good. I took my laptop with me which was VERY useful and kept me occupied in between interviews.
There were 12 candidates in total (6 men and 6 women) and 6 advisors, plus a selection secretary. We were split into two groups, the yellows and the pinky-lilacs (no-one could decide what the exact colour was!!!) I was a yellow.
Pretty much as soon as we got there we had the Personal Inventory which was a 40 minute 'exam' which asked questions about how you would react in certain situations you may come across in ordained ministry. It was just like being back at school..."You've had 17 mins and should be moving on to the next section now!" Tea was fantastic...YUM! Worship was after tea and is best described as 'contemplative'.
On Tuesday we had worship at 7.30, followed by breakfast and then the Presentations and Discussions fot the rest of the morning which seemed to go pretty well. Then in the afternoon the interviews started!!!! My first one was Educational which was generally OK although one or two of the questions threw me a little, but I answered as best as I could. I then had to wait until Wednesday for the other two. In our free time we had to write a letter in response to a complex pastoral situation. My second interview was Vocational. I was pleased with it as I felt I answered everything and said everything I wanted to which was good. My last was Pastoral. This went ok but again there were a few questions which were unexpected. This interviewer kept asking me about being 'Middle Class' which I found a little perplexing... Still it was generally a positive experience so whatever the decision I feel I did my best in what was a very strange sitiuation (much harder than any job interview). Add in the fact that you were expected to mingle with advisors during mealtimes etc and the whole thing was quite a 'Big Brother'...The candidates were all very supportive of each other which was lovely and the Selection Panel Secretary was very helpful.
Now I just have to wait...it could be a fortnight, and waiting has never been my strong point. Still, I'm being kept busy. I gave the sermon in the all age service this morning and people were very encouraging afterwards. I'm back at work tomorrow and there's plenty of things coming up in the next few months whether I get through or not. The BIG plus point is that come what may I won't have to say IF I'm training or IF I become ordained etc. etc. The uncertainty really is the worst part of this process and it'll be a relief to know what's happening at last....