September 5, 2008

FF: Vulnerable

From Rev Gals: "I have recently been reading a book entitled Jesus wept, it is all about vulnerability in leadership. The authors speak of how Jesus shared his earthly frustrations and vulnerabilities with a select group of people. To some he was the charismatic leader and teacher, to others words of wisdom were opened and explained and some frustrations shared, to his "inner circle of friends: Peter, James and John, he was most fully himself, and in all of these things he was open to God.

So I bring you this weeks Friday 5:"

1. Is vulnerability something that comes easily to you, or are you a private person?
I find myself in situations where I am the person who listens, rather than talks. But there is also always this desire within me to share my story - our stories are really all that we have to share... but I hesitate to share, however much I want to because of a fear of being pitied. My grandfather passed away when I was in seminary, and because it happened to be over fall break and because of my schedule that semester, I was home for 6 days, and missed no classes. I got back and such a monumental hole was in my life, but no one at school knew what had happened. I didn't have to ask for class time off, so no professors knew. I had a really hard time sharing that with people because in a sense, it was easier to focus on school.

2.How important is it to keep up a professional persona in work/ ministry?
This is a hard question for me. Mostly because I believe a professional persona in ministry is overrated. And yet I do it anyways. I guess the professional persona I embody is a sense of neutrality, which comes naturally to me because I can see all sides of an issue/problem. If I were more vulnerable, my own positions and horror at the things people say would be much more evident. That may or may not be a good thing.

3. Masks, a form of self protection discuss...
Oh - absolutely self protection. But self-protection isn't always in our best interest. I think that omission is also a mask. I meet with a local group of clergy and I know that I am by far the most liberal among them and there are often sideways remarks that I usually disagree with, but I let them go, rather than become the target. I go to that group to have colleagues and to be around people who understand what it is to be a minister in our town... it is relaxing and not the place where I want to constantly have to defend myself.

4. Who knows you warts and all?
My husband - hands down. And maybe my very bestest friend. The more I think about these questions the more I think about how much I do keep my guard up, even with the people I love the most. The other person who knows many of my warts is my youngest brother.

5. Share a book, a prayer, a piece of music, a poem or a person that touches the deep place in your soul, and calls you to be who you are most authentically.

The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

by Wendell Berry

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.

And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.

When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won't compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.

Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.

Listen to carrion -- put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.

Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.

As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn't go.

Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

"Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front" from The Country of Marriage, copyright ® 1973 by Wendell Berry,


  1. "Practice resurrection"...fabulous! Loving your blog! I'll be back.

  2. Thanks for the Wendell Berry poem!

  3. thank you for such an honest post; I love the poem too