Saturday, August 22, 2015

No Fraternity Office

Our Fraternity Council met yesterday, and per my desire, I was not nominated for any office in the Fraternity, other than Council.

In asking if I'd reconsider for Vice Minister, a couple of people said it did not involve a lot of work, but I noted that work was not the reason I did not want to serve in that or any other office. Indeed, I pointed out that I had volunteered to read ahead and prepare study questions for the new formation book we will be using this year.

Later, the Good Looking One asked why I did not want to be in a Fraternity office.

Several reasons.

First, I am not very Franciscan, at least not in comparison with many others in the Fraternity. I tend to be argumentative, confrontational, sarcastic, resentful, and so on - all sorts of internal violence. I am also incredibly impatient - and that sometimes comes across in my words and actions toward other people in the Fraternity. I need to get my own house in order before I become an example or model for others.

Second, my spiritual life is largely surface and inconsistent. I go through the motions, but I haven't advanced much beyond externals. And beneath that surface is a lazy, sinful nature.

Third, my ego would like an office.

Fourthly, I am not a people person, especially in comparison with many of the good folks in the Fraternity. There are times when I don't even like to be around people - I have avoided places or activities simply because there are a lot of people.

Those are my four main reasons.

A more twisted reason for not wanting to be Vice Minister was when I was on the Library Board I was elected Vice President, then the President died mid year and I was suddenly the President. I served out his term, got reelected, and hated it the entire time. I don't want to take the chance of anything happening to our current and likely to be reelected Minister, who is not in the best of health!

I am content to be useful - to unlock and open doors, to help people into the building for meetings, to run errands, to provide music. As I had joked, if one of the offices was Porter or Doorkeeper, I'd be willing to serve in that position.

All this means is a reprieve for three years. Maybe I'll be better prepared or more spiritually mature at the time of the next election.

Pax et bonum


Do Not Be Anxious said...

Huh, you basically cited most of my concerns with JOINING the SFO, which I have been meeting with for about 9 months, and am approaching the next level of commitment. I'm not sure I get much out of this group, albeit they are nice people --- who I don't associate with at all outside the meeting, and not much then either!

On a separate matter, I will be reviewing a book on my blog soon titled: The Better Part, bu Fr. John Bartunek. I just finished putting copies in the two adoration chapels I attend, and friends who have read a portion of it all asked for copies. It is deep meditations and contemplations on the Gospels, great for adoration chapel use, or quiet time alone with God. This book is not "spiritual reading," it definitely opens you up for a more close relationship with Jesus --- in fact it puts you there, whether you are comfortable with that or not.

I thought you might find this a great opener for conversations with God, and for discerning His will for you.

A Secular Franciscan said...

I am happy to be a Franciscan. I am learning so much - and my fellow Franciscans are inspirations.

My problem is with holding an office. But this is not just manifested in my Franciscan life: I hate holding any offices. I'm so reserved it's painful. Indeed, one of the reasons I dropped out of the seminary was I had a hard time with the thought of being a constant center of attention.

Do Not Be Anxious said...

ASF, I think you and I would have made good co-workers. Over the years I learned to value the contributions of the quiet ones in the group. I've never been that way; my mind has always been analytical, questioning things or looking for better ways -- or more Godly ways -- of doing things. And when I spoke up, people saw me, and like you, inevitably asked me to leadership roles. I've come to accept it as using the talents God gave me, albeit often reluctantly. I'd much rather work with those in need, than board members of the organization.

But, to my real reason to respond again: "I am learning so much." My SFO group always focuses on books about Sts. Francis or Clare, books that as a reader, I have previously read. I am learning nothing, or nothing I perceive to be of value. Perhaps, it is humility I am learning in accepting that I belong somewhere even if it doesn't teach me anything, but to be with others of like mind.

What things do you perceive that you have learned, beyond the life and philosophy of St. Francis? I really want to see SFO from a different light.

Thank you, for all you do.

A Secular Franciscan said...

What I have seen is not so much the book learning - there are many well-read people in the group, and I, like you, have read much of the material on my own. It is how people live their lives as Franciscans. I have seen how they incorporate Franciscan ideal in how they interact with others, how they make decisions, and so on. I have found myself again and again looking at my own actions and words in light of what I see from the Fraternity members.

In addition, I tend to hang out with educated or artistic types in the rest of my life. At the Fraternity I come in contact with a variety of people from other parts of our society. I have seen such Franciscan simplicity and such spiritual depth in many of these people. I am humbled.