Fitter, happier, more productive. A pig in a cage on antibiotics.
—Radiohead, “Fitter Happier“
I‘m still thinking about the overwhelming response to the last post. (Hey, 80 Facebook likes is a lot for this blog!) This audio track is offered along the same line but in the spirit of Radiohead’s “Fitter Happier.”
Sorry there’s no creepy music backing it up like Radiohead—I’m not that good (or patient).
Here’s the text:
Fitter, happier, more transformative.
Establishing firm but permeable personal boundaries with church members. Not being enmeshed in or alienated by congregational relationships. Practicing a non-anxious presence in tense situations. Caring about church members, but not so much that it hurts.
Practicing positive self-care. Reading books and articles that don’t contribute directly to a sermon. Taking care to establish life-giving relationships outside the congregation. Not making friends of church members. Dating outside the church and outside the immediate area. Practicing fidelity in marriage and celibacy in singleness. Getting a full eight hours of sleep, falling to sleep easily without sleeping pills. Spending time with my family. Finding an appropriate hobby. Not thinking about church on my day off. Not checking email from home. Getting regular exercise at least three days a week. Eating healthy and avoiding fast food on the way to make hospital visits. Practicing simplicity and avoiding excessive consumeristic purchases. Paying off my student loans. Being satisfied with a rundown parsonage and genteel poverty.
Finding a volunteer for every role and a role for every volunteer. Making sure all volunteer roles are engaging, fulfilling, and life-changing. Appreciating everyone, even those who hate me. Reaching out to visitors and bringing them into the community. Visiting all longtime members in their homes. Raising the rent, paying the bills. Making sure all staff are performing well and inspiring the congregation. Managing change. Planning ahead. Reforming governance structures. Guiding church leaders without giving unwanted advice. Never calling them jerks, not even in private to trusted ministerial colleagues.
Always being available to listen to church members. Offering three to four pastoral counseling sessions before referring out to a licensed therapist. Visiting my own therapist at least once a month. Getting a regular check up from a primary care physician every year. Taking my meds every day. Finding and paying a spiritual director. Not burdening church members with my doubts and hesitations.
Afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted. Preaching challenging yet affirming sermons. Leading worship services that are a model to the denomination. Offending no one. Keeping everything familiar and fresh. Embracing social media. Reading the latest in systematic theology. Preaching from my own spirituality without making it about me. Highlighting denominational history while keeping everything relevant. Rallying people for social justice while tending to their personal needs. Knowing everyone. Not playing favorites.
Fitter, happier, more transformative. Being thankful, every minute of every day. Exhausting myself, but not so much that I can’t stay in the ministry.
Now what did I miss?
(Photo by The Other Dan. Used under Creative Commons license.)