SpiritFarmer


Strengths and Weaknesses
January 23, 2007, 10:52 pm
Filed under: uncategorized

I just spent the past two days at an in-town (as in, not a sleepover type) staff retreat. It involved some team oriented discussions around the DiSC assessment. Given my counseling education and work experience, I’ve taken and administered a ton of personality inventories, and by now, I can usually predict what the inventory is going to tell me about myself.

This time, though, it’s been at least a few years since I’ve taken an inventory of any kind. A lot’s changed since the last time I did one – I launched out into church planting, I put an end to my church planting efforts, I moved to the Seattle area, I went into collegiate ministry and began developing a dream for an experiential learning process for young adults. All the while, over the past few years, I’ve deconstructed, partially reconstructed and then re-deconstructed most of my assumptions about faith, church, scripture, leadership, vocation, etc.

I can’t say that I was super surprised by the results of the inventory this time around, but the profile was significantly different – in some good and not so good ways. I came out as a much more entrepeneurial, adventurous, creative type fellow . . . with a strongly pessimistic, cynical outlook on life. Interesting combination – I’m energetic to go start new things, but apparently doubtful that anything worthwhile will come of them! O.k., so perhaps that’s not really what it said, but you get my drift.

When I read the part about my cynicism, I smirked and later laughed – mainly because that’s a fairly new description for me . . . and yet it’s really quite correct. For a few minutes there, I have to admit that I had a smug attitude about it – sort of a prideful thing, like, “Yeah, see, I’m this fring-y rebel punk rock guy that doesn’t buy into the system and wants to change everything.” This morning, I thought and prayed a good bit about this, though, and realized the ways in which this is both a good and bad thing. Cynicism isn’t typically a complementary word – why should I view it as a positive? Well, mainly because I think I see more deeply into issues of culture, theology, and praxis because I don’t automatically swallow what everyone tells me. I think I have a sharper edge and can speak more prophetically to the church and culture because of it. But, it’s definitely a dangerous thing. Just because I can see the dark spots in the rosy pictures of life doesn’t mean that it helps anyone for me to go around being a whiny jerk. My cynicism is often arrogant and unkind. As if that’s a terrific way of helping people see the Kingdom of God at work around them.

I honestly can’t say that I want to leave my cynical, critical thought processes behind me. I do think they serve me well . . . except when they don’t. So, I need to become more self-aware when I’m being overly critical, overly demanding, and borderline hopeless. Time to put away the Depeche Mode and Morrissey CDs for a while.

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