Brian’s Reflection: Wednesday, March 3, 2010
I think I have learned since that a parson of a parish must be content to
keep the upper windows of his mind open to the holy winds and pure light
of heaven; and the side windows of tone, of speech, of behavior open to the
earth, to let forth upon his fellow men the tenderness and truth which those
upper influences bring forth in any region exposed to their operation.
George MacDonald, Scottish parson, author and mystic
As a “parson”, I’ve learned this. But believe me, it isn’t easy to be this kind of person in a church, even in an Episcopal church! I remember how disconcerting it was to discover that, on the Myers-Briggs Temperament scale, I was an INFP ………. and that 95% of pew-sitters were not of that type!! In other words, 95% of one’s parishioners was “not in synch” with you. So the question was, is there anything worthwhile in preaching and designing Liturgy, etc., when practically no one would “get it” !!??
But then I realized: this is the ministry of an INFP – to keep the "upper windows of his mind open to the holy winds and pure light of heaven”. And to keep the “side windows of tone, of speech, of behavior open to the earth, to let forth upon his fellow men the tenderness and truth which those upper influences bring forth in any region exposed to their operation.”
Good “parsons” are grounded in “heaven” and “earth”. They, men and women, represent the fact that “God” and “wo/man” are inextricably linked with the Great Mystery at the heart of all Being. And therein lies their nature as theological misfits and eccentrics. Our major “job” as parsons/ministers/rabbis/imams is to keep the 95% of the population open to their mystic heart! And believe you me - we put up with a lot of shit to try doing this!
“Tenderness and Truth”. This is what we need in our/God’s World today. We are beset these days with all kinds of things that are contrary to Tenderness and Truth. This is what in Biblical terms would be called “the work of the Devil”.
It’s time to renovate ourselves and the World! A “parson” is only a symbol for every person. To save our humanity and our human community, we need “open people” - people listening for the depth truth of Love; people who love and are not afraid of the “other”; people not afraid to be fully their god-given selves!