There is a new meme making its way around the blog ring. This one is a series of personal interviews in which you can ask someone who has previously been interviewed to interview you. So I took the plunge and asked Mompriest to come up with some questions for me, and here they are!
1. How did you find your way to the Episcopal Church? And, why have you stayed? I have been known to say that my faith journey has consisted of a lot of trips around the spiritual block. I have at some point been a Roman Catholic (by birth and by choice again later), unchurched, a member of the UCC, spent time among the Quakers, dabbled with the earth-based pagan folk, and seriously considered Buddhism. It was only after all of that that one sunny Sunday morning I simply "wandered in" to the Episcopal church a few miles from my house. I felt an almost visceral sense of being at home at once. It was just right somehow. It wasn't that the people were particularly friendly (they weren't), or the place was overly beautiful (it was stark and modern...not my kind of church at all). The rector was pleasant enough, the sermon challenging, the music was well-done. Obviously none of those things were "it." But I kept coming back...I am not even sure why, except that there was something in the theology I was hearing, the openness and acceptance, the WOMAN on the altar, scripture tradition and reason. I think it was the whole package. It all just fit and drew me in. It's never stopped. Even when things at that church got ugly and I chose to leave, I knew that the Episcopal church was bigger than that one place, and I found St. M's "church of my heart" that I still get homesick for sometimes.
Why I stay is because this is the church that claimed my heart. The Catholic church will, I think always have a little hold on my soul, they got to me so young! And I found things in some of my other spiritual pursuits that fed things in me....but TEC has my heart.... has from day one. This is the liturgy where I fall into the ancient rhythms of language of prayer and find such comfort and peace. This is the church of the via media, willing to wrestle with the hard questions and do so right out there in front of God and everybody. This is the church that says, you are ALL welcome at this table, and pretty much means it.
2. Your profile mentions an interest in "Community theater", so have you ever performed in live theater? If so, what? If not, do you have a favorite play that has inspired you? I actually have a funny story about that. I moved here to Little Town on the Prairie five years ago. New and knowing not a soul, I decided to get involved in some community things to meet people. So I tried out for the summer production of "Fiddler on the Roof." Up to this point my "theatre experience" had been two high school plays (non-musicals), and singing in choruses and church choirs. I had never, ever sung a solo in public before the audition. I expected to be in the chorus, or at best have a small bit part. So imagine my surprise when I learned I was cast as Golde! I had a blast. Met great people and found out that I can do all sorts of things that I thought I could not do. Since then I've been in Guys and Dolls (walk on bit part), the Nutcracker (no lines, a bit of dancing) and Babes in Toyland ( Mother Ginger---got rolled on stage in a cart contraption with a skirt over it, bunches of little kids came out under it....I think you had to be there). My yet to be played dream role is Mother Superior in the Sound of Music. The small town south of us is doing it next summer I hear. Stay tuned.....
3. What similarities do you find between theater and liturgy? I think that the presbyter in liturgy is filling several roles simultaneously. As both stage manager and MC I have the responsbility of making sure that the environment is conducive to worship. As celebrant (actor?) this means that I have to be "well-rehearsed" have all my ducks in a row so my "performance" is as seamless as possible....no groping around for stuff, flipping pages unnecessarily, not knowing what's next, etc. so that the worship flows in a prayerful reverent way without the celebrant herself being a distraction. And the celebrant is a director at times for making sure the other actors are doing what they are supposed to be doing at the right times. In addition to the role piece there are other parallels: flow and timing in a service the building to climax (which for me is the Eucharist), the way we use music, language, the liturgical space. I have REALLY high standards for liturgy. My SD calls me "liturgy geek" and I wear it proudly. And with all this going on the amazing thing is that most of the time I still feel like I'm present for it! Grace is the answer on that one! Becasue that is different from acting for sure!
4. What was your first inkling that you were called to be an Episcopal priest? When I was seven I was serving communion to the dolls and bears when we played church. This was totally audacious. I was Catholic. It was the FIFTIES. What was I thinking!!!! It all went off the map for a long time. After I joined the UCC and again TEC I would think now and again about seminary, but it was always like "yeah right and how will that ever happen." When I was getting ready to move out here my priest at St. M's told me there was something here called "total ministry" in which people were locally discerned, trained and ordained, and that I should check it out. So I did. Obviously God had a plan. The call awoke in me very strongly again and was echoed back by the discernment committee, the COM et al, and here I am, a week away from celebrating my first year as a locally ordained priest. I will absolutely go to the mat with anyone who tries to tell me that there are no miracles. I thank God every single day for this amazing gift, while at the same time I am blinking in amazement and asking myself how in heaven's name I got here!
5. How does being a priest inform your ministry as a psychologist and vice versa? This is a great question. When I was first ordained we talked a lot about how I was "bivocational" (or even "trivocational" if you toss in the professor gig), and that I wore all these hats and was tying to figure out which one I was in at any given moment. While there is still some of that (role-driven mostly, boundaries appropriate to the primary job in the moment, etc.) more and more there is just Kate who is doing her best to be present no matter which thing I happen to be doing at the moment, Kate who is doing her best to see Christ in and be Christ to clients and congregants and students and whomever happens to cross my path. Having said that though, one of the great gifts of being ordained has been the opportunities for conversation that have been opened up. My "rule of thumb" with clients is that I don't bring up the spiritual stuff but I will go there if they do. And in a small town, folks know I'm ordained. Heck I was on the front page of the paper! So they bring things up. They say things like, "I know you are a pastor, so I feel like it's ok to say this, or ask you...." Life is all really spiritual, therapy is soulwork, whether we name it as such or not. My heroes in the psych world, Jung, Kunkel, Adler, Sanford.....they all get it.
Bonus question: is there a question you've always wanted someone to ask you but it's never been asked? If so, what is it and what is your response? Well.....being a good Midwestern Episcopalian, who will never, ever in this lifetime (at least in my own denomination) have the opportunity for an altar call, I have always wanted someone to ask me publicly (*******Spoiler you pisco squishy types, evangelical stuff ahead******) if I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and accept Him as my Lord and Savior. And my response is: Yes, I do!
So come on brave people, who is in? It's fun! Here's all you have to do:
1. If you are interested in being interviewed, leave me a comment saying “Interview me.”
2. I will respond by posting five questions for you. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with a post containing your answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.