As most of you probably already know, I moved from Frisco Texas to Norman Oklahoma in October. Norman is just north of Edmond OK where my family lives. I came here to help take care of my mother who suffered from an aneurysm and a stroke nearly two years ago. Her condition is stable, yet she is mentally and physically incapacitated.

I was very conflicted about the move. While I knew that my family desperately needed me for encouragement and support, Texas had become my home. I had been there for nearly ten years, arriving late in 98′ to enter seminary. Texas presented me with a new life. All four of my kids are Texans.That is where I received my theological training at Dallas Seminary. It was where I was ordained at Stonebriar Community Church. It was where I pastored over a flock entrusted to me for six years at the same church. It was where I began The Theology Program and where Reclaiming the Mind Ministries had its birth. They trust me in Texas. It was where I became a man of God. It was were I was really a pastor.

Oklahoma, on the other hand, was a closet. In that closet lay insecurity, fear, timidity, and shame. It is a closet linked with my old life of a relentless pursuit of . . . (ahem), other things. It was the place I grew up. It is the place where people know better. They know the real Michael Patton.

When I began to pursue what I felt was my call to ministry, I know what people thought. “Oh, Michael Patton—going to be a man of God now? A minister? Riiiggghhhhttt.” I could see it in their eyes, “Who died and left such a desperate vacancy that Michael Patton has to fill it?” “We will see. We know who you really are.” No one ever said these things, but this is what I thought they were thinking. Could it be a guilty conscience? Could it be insecurity in my call? Could it be that my compulsive personality always goes to such extremes and this is compensation for my former life? Not sure.

I have always sensed a trepidation about my returns to Oklahoma. During visits before our family tragedies, I was always relieved to get back to Texas. While in Oklahoma people would treat me as a pastor. This I was. “Michael, do you want to pray before we eat?” Well, no not really. I really did not. Why? I don’t know. Fear? Guilt? A deep enter sense that they would find me out? Was I a charlatan?

Praying around my father has always been the worst. I felt like an either-year-old kid again. Scared and with a scattered mind, I would do my best to say something spiritual before a meal. Not to God, but to my dad. I know. I will just pray like my mom did. But dad always gave her a hard time for her prayers. It is better if I just stay silent. Please don’t ask me to pray. Please don’t suppose that I have anything spiritual to say simply because I went to seminary and am a pastor. I am not a pastor here.

Now I am back in Oklahoma permanently. My dad morns each day for my mother and sister. My family looks to me for support. Why do I feel so young and immature? Can I be a pastor in Oklahoma? Why does crossing the Red River seem to remove my ordination?

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    5 replies to "The Removal of My Ordination"

    • Rusty


      Ths “self’ is capable of peculiar things.
      Distortion being most common.

    • nicholas pellegrino

      i know the feeln…God has placed you there so find comfort in that fact…if you dont already know by now i believe God in due time will fully disclose on “why” He has directed you there…i’ll be prayn for your strength and patience through this time…God speed

    • Honey

      We are not toconcentrate of our feelings, but our Faith. Just trust G_D.

    • Carl D'Agostino

      I am not sure what you mean by the removal of your ordination. I did my MA paper on the New England Puritans 1630-1670 and the doctrinal disputes that somewhat divided them into camps of Presbyterians and Congregationalists. In the Congregational model the pastor was elected by a particular congregation. If he was fired or replaced he lost ordination until selected by another congregation. In the Presbyterian protocol, once ordination was conferred it was permanent whether a pastor was actively serving a congregation or not. In Miami there must be hundreds of store front churches with “uncertified” pastors accepted by their congregation. Personally I subscribe to the rigorous academic and intellectual and community internship demanded by the traditional denominations. But as you have set up your own ministry no one would have authority over you. I had an “old life” too. Got BA and MA in religion and almost went to Presbyterian seminary 35 years ago. But I did not have an exemplary personal life and did not want to be a hypocrite as are so many of these fakes in the ministry. I became a high school history teacher for 34 years instead. I am now clean and sober 8 years and change. If I had been able to do that 35 years ago I probably would have answered the call.

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