November 9, 2007

Balance vs Integration

I received a very interesting email today from the Rev. Dr. R. J. Voyle of the Clergy Leadership Institute, concerning the appreciative inquiry technique. I've always liked this approach, but the email in question was particularly interesting in light of the current woes in the WWAC. Here is part of what the email said:

...Seeking balance is a guaranteed way of living in a state of tension, pulled between the two different demands. This state of tension also leads to continual worry and vigilance over whether one or other of the demands is being neglected. Similarly, church leaders often get caught in the midst of trying to balance the competing demands of their congregational programs. If you seek balance you will not have peace.
Rather than seeking balance we need to integrate our lives around our core life-giving purpose. This is the place where we can simultaneously say Yes! to God, our Neighbor, and Our Self. It is the life-giving hub which energizes all aspects of our lives, bringing peace, harmony, and passion to all that we do. In congregations the Church’s core purpose is the hub from which each church activity derives its specific purpose. Without a commitment to a unified vision the church dissolves into series of life-draining competing entities.
“Getting integrated” requires that both individuals and groups know their core purpose.

It certainly strikes me that Rowan Williams could use the benefit of coaching from this group. Rather than seeking to balance all of the conflicting claims and counterclaims, he might better hold on to the core values for which the Anglican Communion has long been known and recognized.

As I said recently in another context, we gather at the table because of what each of us brings to the table, and what we derive from that gathering: no one comes empty-handed, but all are given more than they can ask or imagine when they are open to the multiplication of gifts. It is not for any of us to tell any others to leave the table because we might not like their gift.

Tobias Haller BSG

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