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  • Canon Adrian Daffern

What the hell is wrong with me?

As Shirley and David will confirm (having been the latest of our lot to undergo the process) while ordination confers holy orders, it does not take away what was there already - one's equally holy humanity.


This came as a bit of a shock to me after my ordination. I was only little (even younger than David, though I didn't look it). In my excitement, and, let's face it, cringeworthy naivety, I think I had imagined that the Holy Spirit would be provide me with some kind of force field; some kind of protective barrier that would keep outrageous fortune's sharper weapons at bay. 


If anything the opposite is true. Faithful Christians get broken. St Augustine of Hippo puts it like this

'You are the Body of Christ. In you and through you the work of the incarnation must go forward. You are to be taken. You are to be blessed, broken and distributed, that you may be the means of grace and vehicles of eternal love.'

Having been around the block a bit, and gained some experience on the Way, a number of clergy give me the privilege of listening to them as a sounding board/mentor/informal adviser - and friend. All of them, without exception, have, in one form or another, asked that question of me in the last few weeks: 'what the hell is wrong with me?'. They feel varying degrees of being stressed, exhausted, bewildered, Godless. One remarkable Lutheran pastor, the inspirational Nadia Bolz-Weber, puts it like this

'Every single pastor I know is exhausted. Twice the work doing stuff they are half as good at.' 

It's not exclusive to clergy. Obviously. I speak with many of you, daily, weekly, hundreds of conversations these past six months. Many of you feel the same. Most of you. Which begs the question: 'what the hell is wrong with us?'.


This week I've found a helpful article by a theologian called Jonathan Zecher. He tells us that what we are feeling is nothing new, even if the causes are. The article is called 'Acedia: the lost name for the emotion we're all feeling right now'. Do read it right now - you'll find the link here


It's always good to name our demons. Acedia is one. So park your guilt, and learn to love yourself. Recognize that your feelings are legitimate, and don't be afraid to be honest with yourself and others.


And the answer to the question? Nothing. There is nothing wrong with you. God loves you, calls you to be part of the Body of his Son, taking, blessing, breaking, and sharing.

Wholly human : holy human. You can't have the one without the other.

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