Friday, June 24, 2011

Prophets and Personality

Charles Villa-Vicencio's talks are still echoing through my mind - partly I suppose because I have a week of holiday coming up and am not having to prepare for anything immediately and so have space to think. The two images that he used that have stuck in my mind are the one about allowing  seminarians' claws to grow sharp and their manes to grow long (which I mentioned in an earlier post) and the other is about having the courage to say so when the king is not wearing clothes (in reference to the story of The Emperor's New Clothes).
This morning I was reading the book by Reinhold Niebuhr from which Villa-Vicencio took the excerpt which named his morning talk - it is quite a cool book for a seminarian to read! The book is 'Leaves from the Notebook of a Tamed Cynic' and can be downloaded as a pdf if you just search for it. Niebuhr shares his thoughts on being a new minister very frankly and I can certainly identify with some of what he says.
But what does the lion do (the one with the claws and the mane), when approached by a zoo-keeper with a disapproving expression and a pair of nail clippers? Humbly succumb, swat the keeper, or take advantage of the open cage door and flee back to the beckoning wild?
The reason most of us give up as prophets is just that we care too much about what others think. It is not a safe occupation!
I was reading a Psychology Today article about internally and externally imposed perfectionism. Unfortunately I couldn't find the online test to which it referred in order to find out if I was a maladaptive perfectionist! It might be an excuse for being a tame prophet.
Perhaps these reflections are a little random - I am nearly on holiday.

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