(Bonus points will be given for those who can complete the post title…)
Mike saw me at Yearly Meeting, our church’s annual conference, and I looked so pathetic that he had pity on me and asked to get together. Part of what I’ve been trying to figure out for three years is what leadership looks like among Friends, and specifically, what in the heck I’m supposed to be doing at Newberg Friends. Friends are notorious for mixed feelings about the leadership of pastors. As someone who chose to be among Friends, I’m really drawn to community discernment, everyone being a minister, leadership out of giftedness and not role. I’ve been very schizophrenic, perhaps even MPD, about my role. Am I a leader? I need to lead! Wait, no, we need to do this together! Wait, maybe I need to give some direction…but is that too much?
Lately, my own thinking and the voices of many people I trust have been saying, “it’s your job to help Newberg Friends by articulating more clearly your vision for where we’re to go.” Not so it’ll be my vision and no one else’s, but because we honestly are stuck-we have many good things we could pursue, and are at a time where we need to decide which we will say yes to and which we will say no to. I was moving toward accepting that responsibility, and putting aside my leadership MPD.
But I was afraid to talk about this with Mike. He’s a deeply committed Quaker. I was sure he’d say, “No, no, you gotta let the meeting do it’s thing, you’ve got to work at group discernment.” I was sure he’d pull me back into confusion.
Mike’s a great listener. He didn’t say anything except to ask questions, until both our McMenamin’s burgers were gone and we were picking at the fries. He paused, got ready to speak, and I held my breath.
“Dude, it’s Newberg Friends! It’s like a high performance automobile! Take it out on the road and see what it will do! Run it over some bumps just to see what happens!
”IT’S BATTLESTAR FREAKIN’ GALACTICA, MAN! Sit in the chair! Push some of the cool buttons! See what it can do, and don’t worry about getting it right the first time. Try some stuff and have fun.“