Pondering Faith

Journal: Monday, 8/11/08

On Cindy’s Birthday:

Saturday was my wife’s birthday. My parents came into town, and they watched the kids so that Cindy and I could go to lunch and a movie. Then we all met for dinner at one of her favorite restaurants. It was very nice. I made her a blog and we are trying to get it up and running. You can find it over at www.simplycindyblog.com.

On Sunday Worship:

This Sunday, I invited two church members to share their “life verse.” For more information on life verses, check out my article on them. They shared their life verses and told the congregation why these verses were important to them. It was extremely moving and very well received by the congregation. I am going to have two people do the same thing every week in August. After they share their verse, I invite them to write it on the stained glass windows (that have been covered with plastic wrap). At the end of the month, our windows will be full of Bible verses!

On CPE:

First, I realize that not everyone knows what CPE is. I didn’t know what it was until I was halfway through my unit!

“Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is an intensive experiential educational program for pastors and religious leaders interested in developing their clinical skills. Students engage in pastoral work and reflect on their experience with a trained supervisor and a peer group. Key areas for learning include integrating theology into pastoral practice, formation as a religious leader, and self-reflection and knowledge. CPE can be an excellent tool for discernment, self-care and renewal” (from www.advocatehealth.com).

“Clinical Pastoral Education is interfaith professional education for ministry. It brings theological students and ministers of all faiths (pastors, priests, rabbis, imams and others) into supervised encounter with persons in crisis. Out of an intense involvement with persons in need, and the feedback from peers and teachers, students develop new awareness of themselves as persons and of the needs of those to whom they minister. From theological reflection on specific human situations, they gain a new understanding of ministry. Within the interdisciplinary team process of helping persons, they develop skills in interpersonal and interprofessional relationships” (from www.acpe.edu).

I am now down to two weeks left in CPE. I am glad. I front-loaded most of my hard assignments so that they were due towards the beginning of the summer. I am starting to get some breathing room. I went into CPE for only one real reason: it is required for ordination in my conference. I tried to have a good attitude about it. I heard that CPE could teach you some useful things about yourself if you let it. Well, that sounded good to me, so I went in being as open and honest as I could.

Part of my honesty was admitting that I really didn’t want to be there. We explored my resistance, and I decided that it was ok. I allowed myself to work hard at it as a requirement, and to try to get something good from it. I still think a full unit of CPE is too much for someone who is not going into hospital or hospice chaplaincy (I would compromise to ½ a unit), but I am coming out of it a better person. I learned about myself.

I learned that I do not do well with conflict. I do not express my feelings when it might contradict someone or make them mad. Instead, I allow my feelings, especially when it is anger, to build inside of me, and I internalize it. I take it home and stew about it. I stay up at night. My stomach churns. In order to handle these feelings better, I have to learn to express them.

I have started expressing my feelings. The problem is, since I haven’t really done it before, I can be rather blunt and cold. I can sound like a complete jerk. So, I still have to practice it and tweak it until I get it right. It is going to cause disagreements and conflict. But it is better to work it out in the real world rather than simmering over it at home. My experience helped inspire our article about conflict. Hopefully I can make conflict be a true road towards harmony, with others as well as myself.

 

 

 

Dan

Welcome to Pondering Faith! My name is Dan. I am a husband, father, and pastor. I serve as the Director of Church Development for the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. This is the place where I ponder all things related to faith, including church leadership, and life in general.