...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Saturday, November 15, 2008

You Make Me Want to be a Better Person!

We hear too much about being accountable, which seems always to address the letter of the law. A variety of covenant groups meet to report on the presence or absence of specifically Christian practices of the members. Church hierarchies ask clergy to self report an inventory of bodies and bucks that will be used in assessing the effectiveness of the self-same clergy. Sort of a built-in conflict of interest there, don't ya think?

Whereas the behaviors, practices, fruits, or numbers can be used as a measure, accountability's style of relationship is more transactional, and it runs on power over to define what success is. Everything depends on who decides what constitutes accountability. The bare minimum is neatly laid out. Those always touting accountability are what Charles Dickens would call the "grad grinds;" they inhabit a place in the food chain and status quo of institutions.

Loyalty, or being counted on, is much different. It deals with the relational aspects of motivation and why I would want to change in the first place. Being counted on addresses the whole person and not just a slot on an organizational ladder. The core of loyalty is transformational.

The best leaders are transformational, and free others- a separate universe from those whose only real authority is title or organizational control. When we are loyal, we want to do our best, not just because of institutional goals, but because we have the backs of those with whom we're serving. We become more than servants- we become friends! We want to do our best. We become our own best person, not because we have to, but because we will it.

"You make me want to be a better person," Jack Nicholson told Helen Hunt in As Good As It Gets. And that, I believe, IS as good as it gets!

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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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If you want a formula for making the best of the less-than-perfect and making the most of what you have been given, then begin to compare your lot to what you were before you were born, and it will empower you with wonder every time. John Claypool

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