Tuesday, April 12, 2016

That Is How It Should Be

All the moo cows lying in the fields yesterday proved correct because we had rain last night and into the morning. The misty rainy skies are beginning to lighten, the clouds are more distinct in shape and the radar screen I just looked at emphasized the above with the green radar rain moving on out of our area. I don't think we received copious amounts of rain but the greens of the fields and trees do look a little brighter this morning.

With my morning coffee I perused funny animal videos on Facebook. I also got in a little reading. Today will be a good house cleaning type of day so of course I am procrastinating something fierce. Alas, blog writing right now, previous reading and then some good old fashioned sitting in silence...which for me can be a good thing but sometimes it can turn into a mischievous thing. An email I read this morning got me to thinking in that time of silent contemplation and instead of the silence resulting in some kind of wisdom, I got caught up in a fit of laughter which soon progressed into tears and the wheezing, coughing laugh that comes right before the wetting of pants. Thankfully, I was able to stop laughing before the last result.

Way back in the day when I worked on a church staff I belonged to a group with other women staff members of large churches around the nation. We never met each other in person but our conference calls, chat room sessions and emails were a vital source of encouragement in the world of spiritual and church business. Our group was formed largely by friends and family members that had some kind of six degrees of separation. I believed our friends and family were tired of hearing these ridiculous yet sad stories from our job...our supposed ministry...and thought we would stop lamenting over working at a church with them. The concept and thought being, we would commiserate and rejoice with one another in our newly formed group of friends and leave them out of it. Only in a perfect world...it was just another outlet to vent or cry but mainly laugh at the absurdities that come with church work. We all were astounded that our stories of people and circumstances sounded very much alike but we shouldn't have been so surprised because you know...the human condition. We once had a rather fun discussion of, when is it the proper time to take someone off the prayer list? Do we tell the person their name is being removed? How did we know when they had properly recovered or the situation had righted itself? I think sometimes we become warriors of reading emails about prayer needs instead of really being prayer warriors. Do we substitute knowing about the situation for prayer? Our group concluded that the reality is some people needed the attention and would rather choose their name on a prayer list for all eternity rather than the God of all eternity answering the prayer. It goes back to John 5, do you want to get well or see something come to pass or end? So it was a kindness to keep them on it even when it aggravated the dickens out of us.

I thought of my crazy friend Debbie whose husband was on staff at a medium sized church. The teaching pastor had been appointed to conduct all the staff team building exercises. So once or twice a month all the staff and spouses would gather at his house, of course it was a potluck supper. He would teach a short devo on team building and then have everyone work on a project that emphasized working together. Now Debbie has never been one to keep her opinion to herself. She realized that all this team building was just a disguise for building a covered patio for this teaching pastor. Pouring cement, adding the screen and roof, building planters and then landscaping...yep this was building alright. She would always volunteer for the group to meet at their house and the teaching pastor would vehemently disagree and quote out of context of course, "He who began a good work in you will complete it." At the end of that particular team building and before he announced the new team building would be knocking out a wall and remodeling the living room, he asked all as they sat around while eating what their spiritual gifts were. This is the most brilliant response ever to disingenuous team building, Debbie said her spiritual gifts were lying and deception. I have used that line several times when the reality of a meeting is rather specious (vocabulary word from The Bad Seed) I have also added the spiritual gift of delegation... I shared this with my fellow sufferers of being women on a church staff and of course they loved it! I wouldn't be surprised if this spiritual gift line has been used on more than one occasion.

We didn't just share funny or ironic things, we did share and rejoice when a "but God"... came about. Those are some of my favorite memories from that long ago group. Truthfully, the funny or ironic things many times outnumbered the rejoicing times. No there were more stories of staff members who had meetings that were longer than the begats and then wondered why no one could get their work done during office hours. Or the hatchet warrior women, a group of two or three women whose job descriptions morphed and they became the ones who quietly got rid of Sunday School teachers and workers who didn't fit the profile anymore, mainly due to Christian PC issues. The staff who fired admins and lower level personnel on a whim, usually when it was discovered to be the admin was much smarter than the staff member.

I don't think any of us that were in the group are still in church work. Some retired, some just quit because they couldn't take it anymore...others found more fulfilling work in the business world and some had the joy to be able to be stay at home moms. One of the last times I participated in a conference call several who had moved onto the business world were astounded that corporations were kinder and more merciful than most church organizations about so many things. It is a shame when you get off earlier before major religious holidays at a company or companies being more generous with time and money. But the really sad thing, business world stories were almost as funny and I guess that is how it should be.

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