Thursday, November 12, 2009

Assess This!

Got up at 3:45 am Monday morning and flew to the town of my candidate career assessment. Intensive and intimate, but since my personality is the open and ready to share type (you've never noticed that, right?), nothing bad. And I now have the test results to prove that I'm the open and ready to share type. And an extravert. And a big picture person. And "Joyful."

Very nice assessor, willing to go deep with me. No surprises in the assessment. Before we went over the test results, my assessor asked me to pick five words about myself. All five were represented in my test results, often in capital letters. So, I got confirmation that I know myself. Hmm. Is there a teensiest bit of disappointment, that perhaps there was some secret deep inside that even I didn't know about? Alas, I am no woman of mystery. Like Popeye, I yam what I yam.

And part of that, very comforting, is that I am, boringly so, of a personality type that is a good fit with ministry. There was some concern about my preternatural appreciation for ABBA, but with some trepidation, the assessor agreed that it's not technically a psychosis.

Now for those not in the candidating loop, the assessment centers where you are sent are specifically for those entering ministry, and we UUs (at least at the one I went to), are a tiny percent of the patrons, most of them being Methodist, Lutheran, and so on. I say that to give some background to the following exchange:

I was telling my assessor about a numinous experience I had this summer. I said something about "of course, it wasn't like a literal voice from the heavens, and it certainly could be my imagination, and I'm okay with that; imagination and God are certainly not ...

"Why do you do that?" she interrupted me.

I knew what she was referring to. "Because I'm a Unitarian!!!" I said. And we both laughed.

And then we talked further about that. And I spoke plainly, without all of the extraneous protestations -- "God said to me ..."

We talked about why I feel the need to do all the explanations, clarifications, justifications, about how I am often speaking to people who have a wide range of understandings of the divine.

"Do you feel that is burdensome, or a challenge you relish?"

And I had never thought of it before, but the question made me smile. And light up. And say, "A challenge I relish." Because it's not about proving my vision of a divine. Or trying to convince others. It's about finding the common grounds in all of our understandings. This was a bit revelatory because I have had the experience of mentally rolling my eyes as we split into subparticles yet another word or concept. Really, Bill Clinton must be a Unitarian -- "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is." -- classic UU! But it's a challenge I relish. For the past few weeks, I've been cogitating on a definition of God, fit for those who do not believe in anything transcendent. But that's a post for another day ...

A world where people just nodded in agreement if I said, "God said to me ..."? How flat! How boring! How spiritually lazy I could become!

(That doesn't mean I don't want it sometimes and want to keep my tight group of intimates whom they know what I mean, and I know what they mean, and we can skip all that.)

Now, this did bring up another issue -- that of being authentic. Which I've taken to refer to being upfront and honest about your doubts and uncertainties, but she made the point that if you believe in the transcendent, but don't own it, ya ain't being authentic.

So, I haven't seen the official report yet, but my assessment of my assessment is:

* I know myself
* I want to be a minister
* I'm a Unitarian Universalist

We ended early, and I had given myself a good cushion of time before my flight "just in case," so I wound up at the airport with 4 hours to waste. I asked about switching my flight, and learned that my time isn't worth very much, as I was unwilling to pay $87 to change it. Called The Husband, told him about the assessment and that I was just going to use the extra time to study for my Big Fat Old Testament Midterm.

And proceeded to instead eat a cinnabon and cruise Facebook.

My assessor probably would have predicted that.


ms. kitty said...

Hey, it's a great challenge, to be religiously-bilingual! I love it too, having spoken traditional Christian originally and now able to speak spiritual UU as well. It's fun! Glad things went well. Now on to the BFOTM.

Jess said...

Self-awareness is the greatest ministerial super power. :-)

Chalicechick said...

I'm really glad lawyers don't have to go through that. I think I'd do OK, maybe not as well as you did, but OK.

Still, I'm glad I don't have to do it.


Kelly KH said...

I'm so glad it went well. It sounds about like mine went. I wish you were closer; and anytime you want to call and just be able to say God said...I'm here!

Allogenes said...

Actually Clinton was channeling Zwingli. At the Marburg Colloquy, Martin Luther insisted that the Body and Blood of Christ were objectively present in the Eucharist because the Bible says "This is my body... this is my blood." Zwingli responded that it depended on the meaning of "is." Luther slammed his Bible down on the table and shouted "Is means is!"
You can't make this stuff up. There is nothing new under the sun. There's also a 2000 year old clay tablet with a cuneiform text describing the impeachment of the Mayor of Nuzi. It quotes him as saying "I did not have sex with that woman!"