Yesterday I told a group of students that I preside well – the exact phrase was, I think, ‘I celebrate beautifully’. Last week I told a clergy chapter meeting that I find it very hard to remember names. Both statements elicited the same response – that saying either of these things is inappropriate.
Some things can be learnt – how to preside – others are innate gifts (or lack thereof). I can understand why some one might think I was boasting in the first statement (although I ascribed my ability to presiding well to those who have taught me), but I don’t understand why admitting something I can’t do isn’t helpful. We seem to be hung up about success AND failure in the church, and in ‘polite’ religious society, neither should be admitted publicly.
The resultant fall-out from this generates people who in any other walk of life would be incapable of doing their jobs well. If you know that you can do ‘x’ but you struggle with ‘y’, while your colleague aces ‘y’ but isn’t too hot at ‘b’, then when you next appoint to the team you look for someone who is strong on ‘b’, and might add a bit of ‘a’ to the mix too. A bit like accepting parts of the body of Christ who function well in as completely different body parts to your own. How we de-skill one another if we fail to acknowledge how we have been gifted – or not – in our service of the Kingdom.