15 September 2007

Bureaucracy and checking boxes

OK. I know there's a reason for the process. I recognize most of what the forms codify, but if they really wanted to know where I need to grow and where I've grown and who I am and whom I'm becoming, then wouldn't they have called, or emailed, or snail-mailed, or otherwise communicated in some way over the past 12 months? So it's really hard to take this seriously.

I must fill out the form because it's a required part of the process. But there's no trust, no relationship with these people so I won't be "real" with them. After all, it goes in my permanent folder. So I check off the boxes and say enough to get through, but not enough to give a foothold to questions. And we'll meet, and they'll give me additional "once size fits no one" goals to work on for the next year, and we'll go our separate ways for another 12 months.

What is this process teaching me? Oh, yeah, How to survive in a church bureaucracy. We can save authentic nurturing community for the webring.

14 September 2007

Reverendmother asks us: In honor of a couple of marathon meetings she attended this week:

1. What's your view of meetings?
a) When they're good, they're good. I love the feeling of people working well together on a common goal.
b) I don't seek them out, but I recognize them as a necessary part of life.
c) The only good meeting is a canceled meeting.
Having spent several years in the business world where meetings the necessary means of working, I have to go with A, but B is there, too. It depends who is running the meeting and the particular culture of the group you're working with.

2. Do you like some amount of community building or conversation, or are you all business?
It depends on the time alotted, the work to be done and the context of the meeting.
  • If the group meeting is not to be a long-standing group, but just meeting for a few times with a specific agenda, I'm all work.
  • If it is a long-standing group it's sometimes great to do a meal or refreshments before (also cuts down on late arrivals).
  • Ice-breakers are also great when forming new groups... in a work environment these are different, but still quite appropriate.
  • For session, I think a devotion time should be part of the agenda, but should usually be managed within a time slot.

3. How do you feel about leading meetings? Share any particular strengths or weaknesses you have in this area.
No problem. I've moderated many meetings in my past life.

the trick is recognizing when people NEED to discuss something and when they're grandstanding. Reflective listening to restate the ramblers also helps dramatically. It's really understanding the people in the meeting, the sensitivity of the topics and knowing when to keep rigidly to the schedule, when to allow flexibility, when to take a break, to table something; to silence someone or to prompt someone for an opinion; the time for humor [or not], and, with session, when to call a break for prayer. Oh, and when to cancel the meeting or topic because people didn't prepare.

The moderation will make or break a meeting and that will make or break the cooperative climate of the group.

4. Have you ever participated in a virtual meeting? (conference call, IM, chat, etc.) What do you think of this format?
I don't like them. All of the non-vocal communication is removed and many of us rely on that non-vocal communication to really understand. There is also a problem with hearing everyone, people who are loud tend to dominate, and it's easy to run roughshod over anyone who is quietly trying to understand.

5. Share a story of a memorable meeting you attended.
2 hour business meetin with 6 team leaders (1 new), we discussed all the issues from all the angles and were all ready to leave when the newbie slammed her hand on the table and said she wasn't leaving until she had a decision. At this point, we realized we had 5 "P"s and 1 "J".

07 September 2007

From the RevGalPals, the Friday five:

1.Have you experienced God's faithfulness at a difficult time? Tell as much or as little as you like...
yes. Husband didn't get basic concept of monogamy. Church community came around me. God worked in so many ways that I can't even remember them all, but he was always there.

2. Have you experienced a dark night of the soul, if so what brought you through?
When someone first asked me how I was getting through, I had to reply that it was my habit of faith. It wasn't even my faith at the darkest time, it was the fact that I had relied on God for so many years that I continued.

3. Share a Bible verse, song, poem that has brought you comfort.
Well, the one that got me through some of that was Twila Paris (it was a while ago...):
Sometimes my little heart can't understand
What's in Your will, what's in Your plan.
So many times I'm tempted to ask You why,
But I can never forget it for long.
Lord, what You do could not be wrong.
So I believe You, even when I must cry.
Do I trust You, Lord?Does the river flow?
Do I trust You, Lord?Does the north wind blow?
You can see my heart,You can read my mind,
And You got to knowThat I would rather die
Than to lose my faithIn the One I love.
Do I trust You, Lord?Do I trust You?

I know the answers, I've given them all.
But suddenly now, I feel so small.
Shaken down to the cavity in my soul.
I know the doctrine and theology,
But right now they don't mean much to me.
This time there's only one thing I've got to know.
Do I trust You, Lord?Does the robin sing?
Do I trust You, Lord?Does it rain in spring?
You can see my heart,You can read my mind,
And You got to knowThat I would rather die
Than to lose my faithIn the One I love.
Do I trust You, Lord?Do I trust You?

I will trust You, Lord, when I don't know why.
I will trust You, Lord, till the day I die.
I will trust You, Lord, when I'm blind with pain!
You were God before, and You'll never change.
I will trust You.I will trust You.
I will trust You, Lord.I will trust You.

4. Is "why suffering" a valid question?
Ah, this would be why I'm taking a Theodicy course this fall....

5. And on a lighter note- you have reached the end of a dark and difficult time- how are you going to celebrate?
I'm going to Disney World! no, just kidding. I 'm not for the celebrating type of thing, I'm more the "heave a sigh of relief and get back to life" type.