Tie that in with being in a position of power. Being a rector is an odd thing. You are technically in charge of it all...But "all" is a loose confederation of volunteers. I am sure that once upon a time, back when the "Church" was "established," the rector was a force to be reckoned with in the community as well as in the congregation, mostly because they were the same thing. The rector could fine a man for failing to attend divine services. He could censure a family or a business for notoriety. Believe me, going back to those days holds no attraction. And I do try to steer clear of folks who operate in that line. I know what havoc that wrecks on a dis-established Church and community.
Reality of relationships is that we can't "lord it over" anyone, really, anymore. There is always the option to simply walk away. Perhaps, though, we wind up over-relying on that. If people who don't enjoy our company make it discomforting enough, hoping we will go away; and we do, then what does that mean? Conversely, if we exercise our power and influence and force people away, is that not a sin of equal import?
Out of that day was a GREAT conversation about power relationships. Rector to associate. Priest to parish. Person to person. Good fodder for reflection for me as I made my way back up the Blue Route to home.
Tuesday was more of the same. I facilitated a clericus study day on a book by Dean Brackley on using Ignatian tools of discernment in times of crisis. I led the group in a reflection on just how we, as individual priests, go about the process of discernment. Everything from how we integrate into the parish to how we are seeking personal and vocational discernment was on the table. Again, strong invitation to maintain and continue to embrace deeper veins of connection to God, God's Will and God's People.
Now, today, I am trying to catch up on life. Working out schedules and tasks for Lent. Tying up loose ends of programs that need a finishing touch before we go to press. Getting some appointments set up for next week so that my pastoral "dance card" is not neglected. I continue to work on making more time for actually being a priest, which means taking less time with admin. But, that is the continual teeter-totter of parish ministry. It simply can't all get done.
My thought for the day, and what I am using as my watch-word in putting together the next couple of months:
- In the study of religion, a sacrament is commonly defined as a mediator of the sacred, a vehicle by which God becomes present, a mean through which the Spirit is experienced. This meaning thus includes the two (or seven) Christian Sacraments even as it is broader. Virtually anything can become sacramental: nature, music, prayer, birth, death, sexuality, poetry, persons, pilgrimage, even participation in sports, and so forth. Things are sacramental when they become occasions for the experience of God, moments when the spirit becomes present, times when the sacred becomes an experiential reality. -Marcus Borg
Talk about a learning curve. And to think that it only took me two years to learn how to tie my shoes (being left-handed, I had to wait for someone who could "speak" that language)!
Being a rector means being a leader