Sunday, February 14, 2010

Being Passionate

In a recent piece called, Phoning it in, Seth Godin talks about whether you're passionate about what you do or not. (He doesn't blame you if you're not, by the way. Not everyone can do what they're passionate about for a living.)

Why this post is interesting to this blog is because he begins by saying:

I was talking to a religious leader, someone who runs a congregation. She made it clear to me that on many days, it's just a job. A job like any other, you show up, you go through the motions, you get paid.
I guess we find this disturbing because spiritual work should be real, not faked.

(Note the use of the royal 'we' here - intriguing.) He then goes on to equate spiritual with passionate - which may not be the best equation - but nevertheless points up something that people in church leadership need to think about. Do I do what I do because God told me to, or because I felt called to this, or because it pays my wages, or because I really am passionate about it - quite apart from the spirituality of the calling.

If, even on the worst days, we can't say we're passionate about what we do, then maybe it's time to go on a retreat and spend some time reflecting on how we got where we are, why we do it, and should we keep on doing it?

And just a thought that is somewhat connected to this: if we asked older, retired ministers who they kept going during their long careers, and why they didn't experience burnout, what do you think would be their answers?

In other words, is burnout a symptom of our current worldview rather than a hazard of being a Christian minister?

[Totally unrelated, but we're told on the news this morning that the increase in fraud isn't driven by the recession, but by greed. It's great the way the news always tells us what we already know!]

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