Wednesday, January 31, 2007

An INFJ minority - Are there scholarships available?

I've taken the Myers-Briggs personality test several times over the years and each time I've come up as an INFJ (Introvert iNtuitive Feeling Judging). According to the test statistics INFJ's make up only 1.5% of the population - the lowest count of the 16 personality types - which is why I've taken the test several times, I keep assuming that I'm doing something wrong. Maybe I went the wrong way on some of the toss-up questions. Maybe I'm not answering as honestly as I should. Nope. The results don't lie. An INFJ I am.

The I and J aside, it was nice to see that the NF result I got after taking the nearly 100 question Myers-Briggs test proved to be accurate after taking a 3-question Blogthings quiz:

Your Personality Is

Idealist (NF)

You are a passionate, caring, and unique person.
You are good at expressing yourself and sharing your ideals.

You are the most compassionate of all types and connect with others easily.
Your heart tends to rule you. You can't make decisions without considering feelings.

You seek out other empathetic people to befriend.
Truth and authenticity matters in your friendships.

In love, you give everything you have to relationships. You fall in love easily.

At work, you crave personal expression and meaning in your career.

With others, you communicate well. You can spend all night talking with someone.

As far as your looks go, you've likely taken the time to develop your own personal style.

On weekends, you like to be with others. Charity work is also a favorite pastime of yours.

Yep, sounds about right.

In fact, in lieu of writing an essay for my seminary entrance application I think I'll just forward the results of all the Blogthings quizes I've taken.
I'll start with this one:

You Are the Very Gay Peppermint Patty!

Softball is the huge tipoff here...
As well as a "best friend" who loves to call her "sir"

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Dear God, Sorry to disturb you but....

I'm supposed to be working on my seminary entrance essay this morning, but I wrote this instead....
(I have waaaaaaaay too much time on my hands.)

A Conversation with Pat Robertson
By God

PAT: Almighty God may you bless me with your prophetic words and visions so that I may help guide your wandering flock to everlasting salvation!

GOD: How did you get this number?

PAT: Oh Gracious Creator, yes I have read and reread the words given to the prophet Moses and handed down to us in the book of Numbers - How might I use its glorifying message to beat down the sinners who would trample my name…errr…your name in our midst?

GOD: I told you not to call here again.

PAT: Yes! Oh Yes oh Gracious One! I will answer your call and fight the devil whom hath released his wrath upon us your wayward children!

GOD: It must be this new iPhone that Steve J. sent me - The IGNORE and ACCEPT call buttons are too small and I keep hitting the wrong #%&*ing one.

PAT: Yes oh Lord! We can no longer ignore your demands for obedience and we accept whatever consequences you would lay upon us - Tell me - what horrible disasters lay in our future? What calamities will you send to shake the very fabric of creation?

GOD: Have you seen The Apprentice: Los Angeles?

PAT: Oh loving and vengeful Lord - I would be honored to be your apprentice in this eternal fight of good against evil. I only ask that you expose Satan in all his un-glory so that I may better seek to destroy him!

GOD: Did I mention Donald Trump?

PAT: Yes Lord! Your Almighty Army of Righteous Ones will trump the devil as you so will us to do!

GOD: I think we may have a bad connection…

PAT: Lord, your connection to me, your humble servant, has never been stronger and for that I am eternally blessed!

GOD: Uh, yeah…..look, I'm about to get in an elevator so I may lose you, but by all means keep talking…Your call is important to me and remember, I hear all of your prayer **click**…………………[if you'd like to make a call, please hang up and try again.]

….and now here it is, your moment of Zen:

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time

We did something at church yesterday that was wonderfully ordinary and ordinarily wonderful. We had a Congregational Meeting to vote on our new budget. No, that's not the wonderful part.
Towards the end of the meeting the moderator asked for a volunteer to coordinate our annual summer Fair fundraiser…Her request was followed by a silence so deafening I swear I heard crickets chirping off in the distance….in the sanctuary…in January.

We were all thinking the same thing. Uh uh, not me. I'm too busy. I do so much already. This is a big job. I've never done anything like this before. It's too much responsibility. It's too much work. I'm only one person with limited time and limited talents. Let someone else take on this one.

The hushed stillness continued. And then the something wonderfully ordinary and ordinarily wonderful happened.

One person volunteered to organize the music, and another volunteered to help. Two people volunteered to organize the games, and someone else said "I can do the food." Someone else agreed to do the publicity and solicit advertising for the Fair guide, and still another stepped forward to man the committee. With the ball now in full swing, last year's coordinator offered to assist whoever was willing to fill the coordinator's spot and a split second later someone offered to take on that role as co-leader.
We went from dead silence to a fully staffed committee complete with co-leaders in under 5 minutes.

This kind of stuff goes on in houses of worship everyday all over the world, which is why it's wonderfully ordinary. Yet each time it happens we are amazed at how generous others can be, at how neatly our mish-mash of talents fit together as a whole, at how much one person can do when they have one person standing on their left and another standing on their right and ten more following in their wake.

This is how we keep the soup kitchen staffed, the homeless shelter funded, and the food pantry shelves stocked. This is how we ensure that the sick, the elderly, the grieving, and the lonely know how much they are loved and cared for. This is how we keep the sanctuary doors open, the Sunday School up and running, and the songs and prayers flowing.
This is how we achieve the ordinarily wonderful.

For those who call for the obliteration of organized religion, painting it as being at the root of our world's evils, I need only direct their attention to the little church, synagogue or mosque on the corner. The one that all those crazy and deluded people waste time and money keeping alive. There are amazing things going on inside those little houses of worship. Things that are wonderful and ordinary all the same.

…and now here it is, your moment of Zen:

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Can you hear me now?

I've inherited quite a few quirks from my father (God rest his soul):
I like to leave early when I'm due to be somewhere because you never know what may delay you along the way; I need to consult a multitude of maps before traveling anywhere and I rarely divert from the planned route; I get touchy and defensive when someone points out that I've said/done something wrong; and I hate talking on the telephone.

The first two quirks simply make me punctual and organized which is not a bad thing, and I'm working on overcoming the third (and making progress), but that blasted telephone phobia has hung me up more times than I care to admit (pun intended). I've tried analyzing this fear: I prefer to see people's faces and read their body language when I talk to them so I can better interpret what they're saying and gauge their reactions to what I'm saying; I don't like making calls because I may interrupt my callee while they're doing something important, and they'll either be too polite to say so and secretly loathe me, or they'll be short and abrupt and I'll limp away feeling dismissed and rejected [the line for grad students wanting to do their psyche dissertation on me forms here].
I don't mind receiving phone calls (especially since I got a DVR) and I don't even mind picking up a call and being put on the spot by a fellow church member soliciting volunteers - I've learned how to resist my people-pleasing urge to say "yes" to everyone and to instead say "Let me check my schedule and get back to you."
It's when the shoe is on the other foot that I begin to panic.

I hate asking for help over the phone. I would make the worst telemarketer in the world. I would sit there with my call list and try to analyze the likelihood of my interrupting my callee based on the time of day, their work schedule, the ages of their kids (don't call during bath time or wake sleeping babies), their current physical and/or mental condition (how much of a struggle is it for them to get to the phone), and the day's weather forecast (sunny=they're not home, snowy=they've struggled to get home and don't want to be bothered by phone calls, stormy=stay off the phone when you see lightning). I would then make two calls out of twenty, congratulate myself on my bravado, and call it a day.

I used to careen down mountainsides at 60 mph on my bicycle with less than an inch of rubber keeping me from becoming a permanent part of the pavement….yet it's talking on the phone that scares me. Go figure.

Case in point: yesterday I spoke in front of roughly 200 strangers at the DES induction ceremony, and what did I fret about for the entire day before? Having to make a hand-full of phone calls to find a replacement child-care worker for today's Worship service. Two hundred people in a theatre? No problem….One-on-one on the phone? Fugetaboutit!

Thanks Dad……couldn't I have inherited your love of flannel instead?

….and now here it is, your moment of Zen:

Saturday, January 27, 2007

It's all Greek to me

I went down to school today to attend the Mass/induction-ceremony for the Delta Epsilon Sigma Honor Society. It's a national honor society for students attending Catholic Universities that I learned today is actually not that easy to get into - you need a minimum 3.67 GPA (mine is 3.97...still don't know how that happened), you must demonstrate a level of intellectual curiosity - which is essentially providing them with a list of all the books that you've read since starting college - being a book-geek that was no problem for me, I had about 200 on my list before I ran out of room on the application; and you have to provide proof of community service - again, no problem, between the soup kitchen, senior center and a ton of church volunteering I had that one covered.

The priest presiding over the service, Fr. J, asked me to do the introduction/welcome to the Mass. His instructions: Comment on why we're celebrating, include a tie-in to one of this week's lectionary readings, keep it under 3 minutes, and email it to him for review (??!) a week beforehand. Since I haven't attended a Catholic mass in many, many years I asked him for some direction as to how general/specific he wanted me to be in regards to the reading, "It's up to you" he said, "you set the tone." Great! I can do that. I decided to focus on the 1 Corinthians 13 reading where Paul says "I will show you a still most excellent way": Love God, love others. I emphasized the community service aspect of being a DES inductee and how we were not celebrating our own accomplishments but rather the gifts that we've been given to help others. I spent a few days sweating over my 3 minute copy and emailed it to Fr. J Tuesday morning. With no response by Friday I was starting to worry that he never got it, so I emailed him again - "I'll look at it tonight" he assured me.

I spent this morning working in the church thrift shop, got home at 1:30 p.m. to an email which read "thanks for writing the introduction. I have edited it stressing the part of thanksgiving in the service".....ok.....a) I did not expect him to edit it and b) if he wanted a "thanksgiving" tone he could've told me that up front. No sweat, I can live with I opened the document and BAM! Not only had he moved entire paragraphs around so they didn't flow as well, but he reworded the heart of my message making it into something I had not intended it to be. Aaarrrgghh! To top it off, English is not Fr. J's first language and it showed in the grammar/awkward phrasing of some of the additions he made.

Ok, I know I have to get over this fear of editors given that I will have run-ins-a-plenty with them in seminary. Although I've been lay preaching fairly steadily for quite some time I know there's still much for me to learn: Polishing my delivery, editing out repetition, making my points clearer, reading deeper into scriptural meaning - these are all things I need to work on....but I HATE having my words moved around to the degree that they no longer express the message I was trying to convey.

I could not in good conscious read what Fr. J. had written - so I spent the two hours I had before the ceremony re-writing his re-write. Point-of-interest: I had never met this priest before, for all I know he may have thought I was a 20-year-old neophyte rather than the aged and experienced preacher (ha!) that I am (puff puff puff goes my ego).

All my puffing came to nothing. I showed Fr. J my revised copy prior to the ceremony and explained to him that he had misinterpreted what it was I trying to say, and he was fine with it. (in fact when I showed him my copy he said "yes, that is what I wrote"….no, that is what I wrote, so nanny-nanny-poo-poo).

God Lesson for the day: Editors are a fact of life and so are last-minute re-writes. Don't get so full of yourself that you can't take a little constructive criticism; but if you honestly feel that the criticism is more destructive than constructive, open your mouth and say so.

…and now here it is, your moment of Zen:

Friday, January 26, 2007

Allow Me To Introduce Myself...

OK, I'm ready for my first day of blogging:

No. 2 pencils - check
Mead Trapper Keeper - check
Regulation green knee socks - check
Sigmund the Sea Monster lunch box - check
Let's Roll!

Here I am tip-toeing into twenty-o-seven with my very first blog entry. I've actually been blogging since I was 11-years-old but back then we called it "journaling" (it’s one of those quaint twentieth-century terms like "45 RPM" and "honest politician").

As I write this I am a 40-year-old undergrad beginning my final semester at a Catholic university in southern CT. If all goes as planned I will graduate in May with a BA in Religious Studies and go on to seminary in the Fall, and then in 3-5 years with an M.Div in hand, seek ordination and move into parish ministry in the United Church of Christ. Right now I am mid-point on a journey that began nearly ten years ago, when my lapsed-Catholic butt slid back into a pew for the first time in many years. My plan is to use this blog to document the rest of my journey - To get outside the pages of my journal and outside of my own head and experience the trip in new ways in the midst of community.

Of course all pray and no play makes Mo a dull girl so this blog will also be about other things as well - friends, family, cats, books, TV, movies, current events, science, philosophy, esoteric musings about this and that. It will be serious at times and funny most of the time, because as the old saying goes: Man plans, God laughs.

As my regular readers now number at 2 (me and my significant other) I know I am free to wax poetic on whatever the spirit moves me to say without fear of reprisal, but there will come a time, God willing, when others will find their way here and discover something of use for their own journey, and/or have something of use for mine. I welcome comments, questions, rants and raves, feedback of any kind. (note to self: just because joe in jersey doesn't think you're funny, it doesn't mean you're not...if what you've written makes you laugh out loud then as GW would say, "mission accomplished").

End of intro entry. Let the games begin!

…and now here it is, your moment of Zen: