Tuesday, March 25, 2008
What I want in a leader is: Integrity, Wisdom, Maturity, Experience, Compassion, Love, Strength & Humor. (sounds like an ad for e-harmony) While this is not an exhaustive list, these are the most important qualities.
I happen to know two men who fit the bill. Either one of them will do a cracker-jack job of running this country which is more than I can say for any of the current candidates. These men possess all of the above character traits as individuals. If one could be President, and the other Vice President, that would be even better. Between the two of them, one has served our country in the military; the other has vast experience overseas and is fluent in several languages. One has run several successful businesses of his own. The other has served in high-ranking positions within the organization that he works under. Both have spent time teaching and counseling. Both men are respected within their communities and have put in hours of volunteer work with people of all ages. Both men are straightforward and honest. Both are adept at managing conflict and mediation. Both are highly intelligent, self-motivated, hard-working individuals.
In short, I believe that we should all vote for these two men. You can write it in on your ballot:
VOTE FOR DAD!
Saturday, March 22, 2008
My kid hit her teacher a couple days ago.
I'm not gonna lie to you - I was fairly dismayed when the "Children's Director" pulled me aside to inform me of my child's misdeed. (I go to a non denominational Bible study where they have a children's program)
Now, I have not gone out of my way to give people the whole low-down on being a pastor's wife - and I think all of you know by now how I feel about that whole issue. So it wouldn't surprise me if someone had a few snarky things to say about the hellions on wheels that PK's (pastor's kids) can be. **I love it! Do you see that?! They are called pastor's kids, not pastor's wives kids! what a delightful discovery just now!**
Well, I've been a goody-two-shoes PK and a hellacious MK (missionary kid) and I can tell you that it only gets worse in proportion to the amount of preachy religious people that a kid has to put up with but doesn't know enough to tune them out. A few of my pals and I took to chain smoking down by the river (literally) although not in a van as in Chris Farley's SNL skit. (Having the van would’ve made all the difference!) We also took to writing heinous poems about hell and suicide. That was some of my very worst writing. How original is the F--- word after its fiftieth time in verse? I know, I know, the angst of it all.
This was not the first time that my child has created a disturbance in her class but it was the first time that she hit someone. Apparently it's "the first time this had ever happened" (that a kid hit a teacher there). I'm wondering if that should go in the scrapbook under "Firsts"?
Since it was a first, the nice director lady asked,
"What do you want us to do?"
You're asking me??
"Enforce some consequences? Like a time-out?" I ventured, uncertain if this was her polite way of saying, "We're not sure we want your kid here."
Spank her in front of the whole class? (That actually happened to me and now I cannot do math as a result)
Smack her back?
So, being the decent parent that I am, I had a good chat with the child, asking her what happened and what she could have done differently and how did she think the teacher felt about being hit and was she ready to apologize? I also mentioned that being mad doesn't give her the right to hurt people or misbehave. She felt badly about it and apologized to the teacher. Later we talked about things some more and she said that she hit the teacher because she didn't want to be there. I informed her that not being there wasn't one of her options and that she was going to have to find a way to make it work. Far be it from me to allow my child to think she can dis authority figures even if I may not agree with their methodology. I was a pathetic people pleaser as a child so I am relieved to have a child who stands up for herself and speaks her mind even though it comes across poorly at the age of 4 3/4. She is no pushover with children or adults and that is a good thing so long as it can be properly channeled.
I told her Dad what happened and he laughed, not surprisingly, since he is the type who cheers for the underdog. He said that he hit his 1st grade teacher.
Only she smacked him back.
Having unrealistic expectations has been one of the causes; both my own and those belonging to others. When we first jumped into this venture some one who goes to our former church was talking with me and informed me that "being a senior pastor's wife is a lot different than being a high school pastor's wife" (not that this person had been either one, ironically) Anyway, this person's near-lecture seemed to be more about keeping up appearances that about caring for others. Nonetheless, it was like a bitter pill that gets lodged in the throat and did nothing to arm me for what was to come. I allowed myself to fall into a trap of being anxious about those type of things for quite some time after our arrival in our new town: Will people think I'm a good parent even though I scream at my kids sometimes? What if I don't know how to help this person who is in front of me? What if someone I know sees me drinking a glass of wine with dinner? And on and on it went. The truth is, the person who said all that stuff to me is a fearful person who hasn't been able to let go of unrealistic expectations when it comes to "being in leadership". I am a real person with real issues and I'll be danged if I am going to suffer alone in those. At a team meeting I went off about something that is an issue in my life and just being able to admit that I can be a jerk about some things is a good thing for me because I have spent my whole life trying to be good and hiding all my stuff because I thought I was supposed to be this spiritually mature person. I tried to make that happen in my life by following all those asinine how-to steps that people fueling the Christian machine like to pump out. You know, like "Five Steps to Knowing God Better" and other stupid sermon or book titles. How about a sermon titled "Keeping Up Appearances and other Horse s---"?!
I went from pastor's kid to missionary kid and it only went from bad to worse because it seemed like the stakes kept getting higher. Now here I am, a "senior pastor's wife" (gag me, like, totally with that title) and if I can't be authentic than I don't want to be at all. I couldn't take the whole stupid leadership persona any more - it was killing me. I don't have all the answers and there is no one who does. As for being in leadership, we are equally important in the "body". Leaders only exist to help bring continuity to what is going on within the body and to help facilitate spiritual growth. There is nothing special about leaders beyond that. I have been doing well, l and feel more like a real person than I have in years.
Now more than ever I think that delving into one's doubts is the best place to begin when it comes to one's faith. If I don't ask the hard questions then how will my faith ever be called into account? Blind faith seems illogical to me. Even Jesus said to count the cost before choosing to follow Him. That, to me, says that He knows we have questions as well as brains. He wasn't some cheese-ball salesman so why should we behave that way when it comes to our faith?
There are plenty of Christians who get really irritated by those who express doubts and tend to offer reproach. It seems like a lot of these people are motivated by fear - perhaps because their own faith has never been called into account. It's easier just to follow a formulaic approach than it is to ask whether or not God is real and if He's worth following. Is He worth following? Only if He is real. How do I know He is real? I keep asking Him to reveal Himself to me. How will I reach the maturity level of the apostle Paul unless I am first convinced that God is real? It isn't possible! Paul staked his life on the fact that he knew God was real. Paul had a personal experience with Christ that changed his entire outlook.
Sure, people might ask, "Well how long are you going to keep asking if God is real; at some point you just have to believe!!"
"I will keep asking God as long as it takes." That is my response.
No, I don't have to just believe. That is foolish and naive. People who "just believe" are people who join pyramid schemes and cults and drink the Kool-Aid given to them. God is OK with me asking questions in order to try to gain more understanding. It's like a four-year old who is constantly asking, "Why?" Four-year olds don't ask questions to be annoying, they ask questions because they want to understand the world around them and to understand their place in that world. Do we expect a four-year old to know how to drive a car? No, we expect that they barely know how to wipe themselves after using the toilet. The difference is, most four-year olds do not have a problem admitting that they need help wiping whereas many of us would like to pretend that we possess the skill when, in fact, we need help wiping also. At some point there are the inevitable skid-marks on the ole under-roos and the evidence of our inability is undeniable.
Pride, fear, pretense, self-absorption, lusts, contempt - these are the spiritual silicone parts that we add on until our true selves become unrecognizable. They become the ties that bind. "Therefore... let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. ....Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. " (Hebrews 12:1,2,12)
I want to see the bubble filled with that kind of wisdom; especially my own bubble.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be?"
It's easy to be "nobody". I struggle with nobody-ness all the time because I am afraid of the ramifications and responsibilities of being somebody. I want to know my true self; the self that God created me to be. And then I want to be that person. I suppose it is my mistake to think that is a destination where I can arrive... someday.
What am I passionate about? What are my strengths? What are my talents and gifts? What is the life that I hope to create?
There are a lot of things that I want to do but the real question is: Who do I want to be?
What is the light that frightens me? What will happen if I embrace it?