Find tips and resources for self-care, material to assist you in providing pastoral care, and general information to help you in your practice of ministry. Information will be updated every two weeks concurrent with the East Ohio E-news.
August 15, 2016 Edition
Top 5 Ways to Cope When You Want to Take this Ministry Job and Shove It
by Talbot Davis
Ministry is like most occupations. There are times, in the immortal words of Johnny Paycheck, when you want to take this job and shove it.
So what do you do when you’re a pastor and Mr. Paycheck is singing to you? For you?
The Wisdom of Shattering
by Kimberly Brunelle George
Gymnast Kimberly George speaks of the wisdom of shattering.
Quitting something and developing new imaginations is not a skill we often give much credit. But I wonder if, at some point, letting ourselves shatter could be our bravest act. Can a moment of giving up be that sacred turning point if we infuse it with faith? When we acknowledge that we have feelings, that we have limits, that we don’t have to be superhuman, that sometimes we experience things that do, indeed, for the time being, gut our capacity to go on — can these moments of recognizing our pain and limits be our most courageous ones? . . .
I am going on faith that one day, someday, I will heal enough to try again. But for today, I am listening to the shattering, feeling out what it means to give up, to grieve bravely my loss instead of just keeping on, to allow myself to be as I was: broken. To trust, perhaps, that giving up is not a failure, but a reorientation toward ourselves. And that the dreams we most seek after are the ones that move us into ourselves, into new places of healing, even as we catch flight.
Some Things Just Hurt
by Sharon Salzberg
Our dominant cultural attitude towards pain is that it’s something to be avoided, denied, “treated,” . . . Some of us may feel that the cultivation of compassion should be a practice that keeps us from feeling those “less virtuous” emotions like anger, annoyance, impatience, and disappointment. And, yet, part of the cultivation is simple acceptance, including the acceptance of those things that just hurt. . . .
Often, when we feel like we’re experiencing a truly terrible thing, we don’t let the terrible feelings exist on their own. Instead, we usually make it worse for ourselves. Perhaps we judge ourselves for not being able to let go of the bad feeling; perhaps we ruminate extensively about the past and stew in regret or guilt; perhaps we allow ourselves to start projecting into the future, wondering when the pain will go away. Regardless of the details of the terrible situation or the particulars of how we make it worse for ourselves, this is a common reaction to the sheer force of our cultural conditioning. . . .
Accepting suffering doesn’t mean that it goes away, or even that it gets better. Too often, we conflate the idea of “being spiritual” or the idea of acceptance with the New Age-y cliché that we can simply say no to suffering. We can learn to feel discomfort in a far more pure and direct way, without the additional burden of distorted thinking. But I still maintain that some things just hurt.View online ...
Spirituality of Imperfection
by Richard Rohr
Perfection is not the elimination of imperfection. Divine perfection is the ability to recognize, forgive, and include imperfection--just as God does with all of us. Only in this way can we find the beautiful and hidden wholeness of God underneath the passing human show.
Spare me perfection. Give me instead the wholeness that comes from embracing the full reality of who I am, just as I am. Paradoxically, it is this whole self that is most perfect. As it turns out, wholeness, not perfection, is the route to the actualization of our deepest humanity.
The richness of being human lies precisely in our lack of perfection. This is the source of so much of our longing, and out of that longing emerges so much creativity, beauty, and goodness. With appropriate openness and humility, it is the cracks that let in the light. Once those cracks and flaws are embraced and accepted as part of the self, then, and only then, can the light flow out though them, into the lives of others and into the world. This is Henri Nouwen's "wounded heale r"--one who mediates healing, not in spite of personal wounds, but precisely because of them. It is our humanity, not our pseudo-perfection, that allows us to both receive and pass on what Christians call grace--the goodness that flows into our lives from beyond.
Look forward to seeing everyone in September. Watch for notice.
The Program in Pastoral Care and Counseling encourages the spiritual formation of our pastors believing a strong spiritual base is the greatest resource a church leader can possess. It helps us weather the many storms of ministry and deepens the incredible joys ministry provides. Following is a list of Spiritual Directors in our area. We encourage you to take advantage of this rich resource. This listing will appear in each edition of our bi-monthly webpage updates and new names and contact information will be provided as we learn of them and have permission to include them. If you are a director or know of a director that is not included here please let us know.
Debbie Baker - firstname.lastname@example.org
Bruce Batchlor-Glader – email@example.com
Harry Finkbone - Finkbone1@gmail.com
Karen Hollingsworth – firstname.lastname@example.org
Liz Nau – email@example.com
Jennifer Olin-Hitt – firstname.lastname@example.org
Sue Palmer - email@example.com
Sharon Seyfarth Garner – firstname.lastname@example.org
Valerie Stultz - email@example.com
Carol Topping - firstname.lastname@example.org
Living with and Living your Imperfect Life
The notion that mindfulness imparts some unrealistic state of human perfection misses the point. Not only does it not equal perfection, it encourages quite the opposite view of our lives. For as much as you’d like to think you could be cheerful and understanding about—maybe even grateful for—your children’s abundant early morning energy and generous about your partner’s need to catch up on sleep, too, you’re tired, and yes, annoyed. The reality is that living peacefully with our families, friends, and colleagues requires patience with an awful lot of things.
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