Tuesday, September 25, 2007

No Cheatsheets

This weekend we are all travelling up to the town of Church Much Nearer to the In-laws to let P and L meet some of the PNC folk and give P a chance to tour the area a little. I will be in a meeting with the presbytery's Committee on Ministry (COM) for an examination for approval. This is one exam with no cheatsheet. I have no idea what they will want to know. I've already sent them a bio and statement of faith. I'm hoping the Spirit will be there and grace will abound. I have been in plenty of committee meetings where that wasn't the case, especially at the presbytery level. As long as they don't get too political, and keep to theology and faith and such, we'll be golden.
On the other hand, I know P is really excited to see where we'll soon be living and working. It's a beautiful area, less than an hour from the shore, lots of great cultural attractions. And it's a mini-vacation for us because every time I visit, they put me (us) up in a swanky, brand new Hilton right on the river. (Ok, so it wouldn't be my choice to line Paris's pockets, but they're making the reservations and I'm not paying for it.)

Friday, September 14, 2007

Frida Five: Meetings, Meetings

Posted over at RGBP by reverendmother.
In honor of a couple of marathon meetings I attended this week:

1. What's your view of meetings? Choose one or more, or make up your own:
a) When they're good, they're good. I love the feeling of people working well together on a common goal.
b) I don't seek them out, but I recognize them as a necessary part of life.
c) The only good meeting is a canceled meeting.

Hmm, a little of each, I think. Most meetings (especially church meetings) are useless pushing of agendas and personality conflicts in action (see b). But if you get the right combo of people, great ideas and inspiration can abound (see a). On the other hand, there's almost always something else I'd rather be doing than sitting on my butt in an uncomfy chair for hours at a time (see c).

2. Do you like some amount of community building or conversation, or are you all business?

I think there's always room for a little fellowship, it helps people feel more comfortable and perhaps puts them in a better frame of mind for getting things done "decently and in order." As long as it's got a time limit, of course!

3. How do you feel about leading meetings? Share any particular strengths or weaknesses you have in this area.

Personally, I'd much rather lead a meeting than just sit and let things get off topic and drag on. While no one would ever call me a type-A, I can't stand it when moderators let people go on and on, repeating their stale argument, or straying from the agenda. Meetings are about business and getting it done.

4. Have you ever participated in a virtual meeting? (conference call, IM, chat, etc.) What do you think of this format?

Sure, I've done a number of conference calls. I certainly appreciate them. It's kept me from having to travel from deep south to midwest any number of times for CPM meetings. I've done a number of phone interviews that way lately too. While I usually like to be able to see the people I'm speaking with, it's a great way to talk to people far away. Even though you can't see their faces, it's still better than email to guage emotion and reaction.

5. Share a story of a memorable meeting you attended.

Ah, well, the CPM is always a good place to start. I remember one of my earliest meetings with them. I'd shown up like a good little seminary student with all my paperwork in order, my Bible in hand. I had this particular Bible marked with Post-it flags for my favorite and most used verses. Probably about two dozen or more sticking out the top of my Bible. At some point in the meeting, the committee asks me what my favorite Bible verse is. Well, I say, I don't have a single favorite. I like different ones for different reasons or situations. (I flip the tops of the flags pointedly here.) I was trying to be honest, because I don't have just one verse that is a favorite. There are way too many good ones to pick a single favorite. My mistake.
Anyway, apparently they conclude that this means I don't read the Bible enough (yeah, a seminary student who doesn't read the Bible!) and I get a lecture and a mandate to read this awful year with the Bible book that's done with a terrible translation complete with sexist language. Supposedly, my liason would check in and work with me on this. That never happened. And I never made it through Genesis. I also learned it was better to stick to the status quo than be honest with that group of folks. Sad lesson, good experience, I think.