Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Lot of Words About Being Quiet

I have never met a personality test that I didn't take and then try to persuade everyone I know to take. It may be deep, unbridled narcissism, or a healthy interest in people, or a gift from my hyperinquisitive mother, but I find pop psychoanalysis fascinating. My long-suffering grad school friends can tell you of nights at The Tombs where we sat at the bar and I illuminated to them one-by-one their personality types and subsequent issues. This weekend I actually emailed someone the words "A 9 with a 1 wing and an SX variant? That is SO you."  (I know. I'm just crying out for a "My name is Kim and I'm a personality test addict" moment.) 

The result of every personality test I take underscores a basic truth about me: I like to talk. The Myers-Briggs says "ENFJs have definite values and opinions which they're able to express clearly and succinctly (maybe not so much the latter). They enjoy being the center of attention." The Enneagram describes Twos as "demonstrative and people-pleasing" with a motivation to "express their feelings for others." The Gary Smalley Personality Inventory characterizes Lions as "demanding, loud, and extroverted." The APEST model explains that the Teacher Shepherd "believes that communicating wisdom and understanding is a way of deeply caring for others."

This weekend was odd for this Type 2-ENFJ-Lion-Teacher Shepherd: I was alone. My hubby, BFF, and mom were all out of town on various adventures and, with the exception of two coffee dates and a trip to church, I spent the weekend alone. (I just know all of the introverts reading this are thinking, you had two coffee dates and went to church over the course of three days and you consider that alone!?) The time alone was a gift, not just for the time to do laundry, and watch movies, and eat the mushrooms and sweet potatoes and blue cheese my husband would never eat, but just to be quiet. To think thoughts and not immediately speak them to someone (I did break down and post a few to Facebook).  I kind of enjoyed sitting with thoughts and quotes and words from other people and not feeling the need to add my two cents or explain what I thought about them. To just let the words be in my head and do what they will there.

The point of this post was merely to share some of the words I'm sitting with and I've now expounded for three paragraphs (I told you).  Regardless, here they are if you'd like to sit with them too.

"It is our job as ministers to 'first acknowledge the presence of God not with those who’ve been healed but with those who are suffering. To be healed in this world is to be abnormal. …Healing is wonderful, but weird; it is to be celebrated but not glorified… To suffer, however, is to be embraced by the crucified God; to hear no answer to your pleas for help is to find community with One crucified. …[W]hen someone suffers without healing, their perceived Godforsakenness is the very thing that assures us that they are with God and God is for them.' And when we hear word of a congregant healed, while giving thanks to God for the healing, our very next thought must be for those whose loved one was not healed." -Andrew Root via Scot McKnight

"You are God of our impossibilities...you have and will preside over those parts of our lives that we imagine to be closed. And we are grateful. At the outset of this day, we place our lives in your strong hands. Before the end of this day, do newness among us in the very places where we are tired in fear, we are exhausted in guilt, we are spent in anxiety. Make all things new, we pray in the new-making name of Jesus." - Walter Brueggemann

"Sometimes I wonder if I had been exposed to those laments earlier in my life, it wouldn’t have hurt so bad when I found myself vomiting up doubt as a twenty-year-old. What if someone had promised me that anger and disappointment and insecurity have always been part of pursuing God?"  - Micha Boyett 

"Nothing could surely convince me of God's unending mercy than the continued existence on earth of the church." - Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm (oh, come on, that's just funny).  

"The Reformation was a time when men when blind, staggering drunk because they had discovered, in the dusty basement of late medievalism, a whole cellarful of fifteen-hundred-year old, two hundred-proof grace - of bottle after bottle of pure distillate of Scripture, one sip of which would convince anyone that God saves us single-handedly. The word of the Gospel - after all those centuries of trying to lift yourself into heaven by worrying about the perfection of your bootstraps - suddenly turned out to be a flat announcement that the saved were home before they started...Grace has to be drunk straight: no water, no ice, and certainly no ginger ale; neither goodness, nor badness, nor the flowers that bloom in the spring of super spirituality could be allowed to enter the case." Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

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