Thursday, September 23, 2010

Heart leaps where followers cannot go.

After praying through the events of each day, inquistive as to the task of situating a Triune God, in the events of my behavior -- leaving aside the heresy that we can go and do where God is not-- I am beginning to take serious the following observations.

  1. Operating in my head and with focused attention, I can lead a seminar, workshop, and classroom in the way that it needs to go, and successfully push what needs to be pushed and rest what needs resting. 
  2. My instinct is to overule the focused attention/intention and lead where my curiosity leads. This often has the result that my audience is lost, confused and distrustful. I seem to do this most often in my classroom at school.
  3. Classrooms are "captive." They are not paying participants in the same sense as a workshop or seminar. Sometimes my desire for student engagement results in an impromptu performance piece, that while entertaining, does not advance the learning my students need. The classroom becomes an audience for me to "show-off." Not good.
  4. My ability to "perform" and tell a story is pretty good, and should be deliberately practiced.
  5. If I let my heart get engaged while in a position of "leader" in a class-to-parish sized community, my heart makes leaps, detours, surrealist disconnects, non-sequitors, enjambments, verbal puns, and off-the-wall connections that cannot be "followed" by the majority of those present. 
  6. This disjoinment is a species of the oft-discussed fundamental estrangement of the poet and artist from the community of trusting that each member is enough like the other so as to be trustworthy with spiritual/emotional honesty in community. I am usually very sceptical of the so-called artistic temperment because an artist must have an audience. 
  7. I don't believe that I am being intentionally rude to my audience, I sometimes cannot control my oral impulses and my mouth runs amok. It has the effect of being rude, but the intention is simply my naive curiosity at the pursuit of what gives me pleasure. It is selfish, and talent is no excuse for selfish.
  8. Communities of believers, students, learners and seekers are tolerant of outsiders, but the trust required of leadership of these types of inter-and intra-personal communities is often jeapardized by the selfish whims and diction of the leader. 
  9. What the leader says is not as important as what the audience hears. A leader must say and do what the audience can and will hear. A poet, not so much, but a poet without an audience is not a poet.
  10. A community needs to trust that their leader is working for their interests and that the leader is NOT using the community for his own intellectual stimulation.
  11. My leaps of the heart, the experience of which tends to shut learning communities down, often lead to my feelings of being alone, odd, eccentric, too "out there" and "other."
  12. At the same time, these leaps are the most precious and beautiful things that I create. These connections are the poetry, the art, the worship that I create. In them I feel I am most alive, most creative, most inspired and most likely to experience Beauty, Truth and Love/joy.
  13. When I have to shut my heart down in order to lead a small community, I get bored.
  14. When I am leading, and I am bored, I have to resist the impulse to drop poetic word bombs that shutdown the process, stop participation, and set the members all atwitter with energies that do not serve to take them where they need to go.
  15. There is an edge that I can work that asks the members of a community to expand their thinking, but when I get bored, and I don't maintain my teacher discipline,  I get a rush from pushing them too far and too fast, but then I feel remorse and distance.
  16. I have learned that I can discipline my curiousity and impulsivity so as to not "hijack" the conversations and that my own promiscuity with ideas can live without being sated. I used to believe I could not.
  17. I can discipline my obsessive compulsive tendencies to expand too fast and maintain the edge of creative energy that is effective for the community I am leading.
  18. This discipline while required for classroom, seminar and workshop, is not strong enough for parish ministry as parish priest.
  19. I do not find energy and passion in building communities and keeping them together.
  20. I do find energy and passion for building audiences for my performances, but I am too afraid of the "other," but have been too afraid of being an "other" forever, and wanting to have it both ways: as an insider trustee, and an outsider prophet.
  21. To risk performing the leaps that engage my heart the community/audience must be very large or very intentionally created. Out of a large group, some will follow and the rest will be mildly entertained. But their expectation is to be entertained and stimulated, not to learn how to be a better xtian. Think in terms of dioceses, regions, social networks, and communions. In that larger group there is an audience for whom my heartwork is not too "other" so as to be alien, exile, and unheard prophet.
  22. It is probable that I will need the imprimateur of "deacon" to be accepted as authority in the Diocese, communion, social networks and region.
  23. The teacher voice is leadership of smaller groups in the question, "Where do you find God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost in this artifact." This is class, workshop, seminar, and lecture.
  24. Aesthetic artifacts, not nature, but man-made, made special, creation of hands, attempts at aesthetic intention, liturgy, worship modalities, architecture are all objects for scrutiny and curatorial effort.

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