Monday, September 10, 2012

What I Learned on Cathecist "In-Service" Day

I've taught Sunday school for 9 of the past ten years and in the year I took off, I helped with the program at our church.  Does that make me a saint?  No.  Does that make me crazy?  I'm sure some people would think so to deal with 9 and 10 year olds for that long.  Does it fulfill a need in my life?  You bet.  It fulfills my need to continue to think about and engage with my religion.  It then gives me the gift of sharing that experience with others.

I could say a lot of things about yesterday's "in-service".  It was definitely one of the BEST in all 11 years that I've been a part of at least one in-service.  We talked about a definition of prayer (sure to be a subject of a future blog), heard about different ways of reaching kids through prayer, talked about personality types, and talked about different types of prayer.

The last time I took an official Myers-Briggs personality test I came up INFJ.  I'm never quite sure whether the N and F are typical parts of quantitative individuals lives, but I've also never seen data on that.  Yesterday as we simply read descriptions, I am pretty sure that if I tested now I'd be an I/E, i.e., somewhere much closer to the middle but still leaning I, and I'd be P rather than J.  I will go into detail on that in another blog entry as well.

The most interesting thing to me from an intellectual and spiritual point of view, however, was the four prayer styles.  I had never heard of them before--that I recall.  This morning I will discuss the one that I find most suitable for me and where I go most of the time.  It is called Augustinian spirituality.  As I read over the description my jaw almost dropped.  Not over the fact that it is found (in some survey(?), although the leader didn't identify where the data came from) that this temperament is found in only 10% of church ministers and a higher percentage among the clergy.  Not sure what that is telling me other than that I am not part of the big crowd.

But here is the rest, "Needs: to find meaning in everything; uses intuition and feeling to make connection of Bible to present; sees spiritual task of transposing ancient words and ideas into the present context today..."  Then as an example, "When have there been desert experiences in my life?  Combine intellectual and affective elements, but may make leaps other types cannot follow."  (And I must say that on that last point it does not imply that my leaps are right..."  Finally, "Helps: In meditative ste ask, What did the text mean then?  What does the text mean now?  DIALOG inwardly and using a journal."

It was the under the example and helps that my jaw nearly dropped.  Why do I like Fr. Sam and before him Fr. Hank--each one will often give some historical context--not just talkt about the verses but really put it in context.  What do they also do?  Bring it to our lives today.

What do I do? I spend time writing a blog (a journal I share with others) where I think a lot about the words now.  I don't always have the full historical context to think about the words then, but I definitely do a LOT of transposing.  It is what I thrive on.  As far as my spiritual life goes, it is what I live and breathe.

My blog is my Augustinian spirituality brought to life.  I'm not sure what else to do with that information.  but it truly puts my blog in a context I had not even known existed before.  And it makes me feel like there is more meaning here for me--not just in the words I consider but in the words I write and how they can help me grow over time--than I may have realized.

Further, even the last sentence form the website I linked to above is very fitting for me, "Ikons, statues, and other representations of art which express beautifully and symbolically a good relationship with God will also help the iNtuitive-Feeling personality in prayer.". This suggests to me that my tattoo really is a part of my Augustinian spirituality as well. There is something I never thought I'd be writing.

So many lessons learned. So many more out there.

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