I am currently in the final stages of the ordination process in my denomination. I just finished filling out a detailed form concerning doctrinal and ethical positions. I will soon have an interview with my ordaining board. Let's hope it goes well.
The interesting thing about this process for many of us is the struggle between integrity and submission. On the one hand, we want to have the integrity to voice our divergence on the substance or wording of denominational doctrinal statements. On the other hand, we want to communicate clearly an attitude of submission to the ecclesial community and its governing bodies. How do walk this tight-rope without falling off?
I realized something this time around. As I answered the question on baptism, I felt the waters of dissent bubble up inside me. I still found a way to word my answer in a submissive yet honest way. This was not the first time I have expressed dissent regarding my denomination's views on baptism. I even had a candid and fruitful discussion with my ordaining board two years ago. But here's the funny thing: this time I found myself questioning our position from the completely opposite perspective. Two years ago I was complaining that our statement was not sacramental enough. Now I am wondering if it is too sacramental. This just goes to show that my "views" about which I desire to have "integrity" are a moving target. I am still "in process" on some of these things. How arrogant of me to judge these statements against my own constantly developing views.
So I came to the realization that submission to the spirit of my denomination's doctrinal statements does not undermine my integrity. Rather, it is a sign of deeper integrity to admit one's own lack of integrity over time. As I twist in the wind of new ideas and arguments, my tradition provides an anchor. Maybe the path to integrity can be found in submitting to one's tradition and learning to be taught and guided by it.
Have you experienced similar realizations?
Why are we so obsessed with integrity and so averse to submission?
Am I just "selling out" or is this a genuine approach?