What is it about this wonderfully archaic patriarchal institution that always pushes the ‘you are not good enough’ buttons in my head? If it does it to me, a reasonably competent clergy woman, God help those in the pews.
Perhaps it is a female thing. We just function completely differently from the men. If there is a job spec, a woman will look down the list, she sees that she can do the first nine things but not the tenth so decides she is not good enough and won’t apply. In contrast a man looks at the list of ten, spots one thing he can do, ignores the nine he can’t and says, I can do that job. It’s a female and perhaps generational thing that we need to be asked or encouraged to apply for a job to give us that necessary push.
The reason I chose to be an NSM is because I am married to a doctor, we are comfortably well off so I don’t need a stipend. (Well, that is what I have been telling myself -not that I am not good enough).
Today, I went to see the DDO to start the process of changing my category from NSM to NSM/Stipendiary. This will require me to go to a bishop’s panel again (three interviews) plus all the attendant references. It is not because I am looking for a new job but with all the changes afoot I want to be able to keep my options open. The easy thing would be to do nothing.
I’m rather fed up that I have to subject myself to further inquiry but it will do me good to think through what my vocation is again and whether it has changed. I will jump through all the necessary hoops, but sometimes the Church of England shoots itself in the foot. It does us no favours when the institution makes us NSMs feel ‘not good enough’ especially when we went to the same theologial colleges and have had the same training and formation as our stipendiary colleagues.
Fortunately I have a rather better sense that God thinks that I am rather special. This stops me being damaged by the system.
So that’s OK then.