Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Humor and Seriousness

Got back to seminary late last night and reviewed the meeting at some length with Dramatic Friend, a wonderful woman from my Presbytery whom I met last summer during CPE, who showed up here this summer for Hebrew, and who went to the meeting last night to support me.

She goes before Presbytery this fall and, after we rehashed the questions I was asked, she said she thought she'd go to her meeting and say, "Would you please ask me Gannet's questions? We've discussed them thoroughly and so I can answer them, plus ~ I can give you her answers!"

In all seriousness, and it took me awhile, but I realized something that we all should know by this time in life: it's hard to ask good questions in a situation like that. Questions that are conceptual and vast and seem tinged with a bit of an ideological bent are almost impossible to address off the cuff. (Unless, of course, you are a politican, which a couple of my FB friends thought candidacy meant!) The questions that work are those which address the specific and call for a narative answer.

It's the difference between a job interview question such as What's your greatest weakness? and one one along the lines of Could you describe a situation in the last few years in which you've made a big mistake, and how you handled it?

There I was, all prepared to talk about my life (which, yes, is a scary subject these days) and I got huge Scriptural and theological questions, the kinds that fill libraries. Do you suppose, I said to Dramatic Friend, that people thought that, under the circumstances, those would be easier?

The other reality, of course, is that some of what I was asked does not fall within my usual range of contemplation and action, which might explain why I could not translate the questions into stories upon which I might reflect. The upside is that I was reminded that there are things barely on my radar screen which are of great importance to others, just as there are matters of critical concern to me to which other people are oblivious.

Now: I really have to focus on nifal and piel!


Jennifer said...

Wow...pretty heavy stuff for moving from inquirer to candidacy!
My hunch is that your presbytery has some who have to ask their litmus-tests questions, and others who saw your ability and were giving you a chance to shine with challenging questions('cause they knew you could handle it.) Kooky and less than fair, but true in some presbyteries I've been in.
I'm sure you did so well. I'm glad this milestone (millstone?) is past.

Mompriest said...

Hope the final goes well. Sounds like the interview went well enough as such times go...(Mine was so awful I have blocked it out my conscious memory forever)....