Friday, January 15, 2010
More Thoughts on Leadings
Should one have a sense of leading before serving on a committee?
This question has surfaced in a variety of ways in my meeting recently and has been troubling me. The argument seems to be that there are certain All-Purpose Friends who Get Things Done and do good work on many different kinds of committees. Thus, the nominating committee can put these Friends just about anywhere, to the good of the meeting. The All-Purpose Friend sees that something needs to be done, agrees he could do it, and says yes to the nomination.
The problem for me is that whenever I agree to serve on a committee without a sense of leading, things go badly. Committee meetings feel like a burden, conflicts arise, and the work is not smooth. I get resentful and feel like I am not appreciated.
This is not to say that things are always easy when I do something because I have a sense of leading. On the contrary, that work is hard too, and I usually find myself questioning my decision at some point. But there is an underlying sense of rightness, or at least a memory of my initial clarity to help me through hard times.
So I think it is important for Friends to have a sense of leading before serving on a committee.
The next question is, what does it mean to have a leading? I don't have a good answer for that. I know how I feel when I have a leading, but I don't know how other people feel unless we talk about it. And I know there are not always words to describe the experience, but I want to know how other Friends experience the Spirit or Way Opening when considering what to do.
At the center of this is our commitment to listen to the Spirit. The role of the meeting is to listen to the Spirit and name gifts in Friends, gifts that the Friends may not know they have. The role of the individual is to listen to the Spirit, consider the gifts the meeting has seen in them, and use those gifts for the good of the community.
But what do we do if no one has a leading to do something we consider essential to the life of the meeting? What we always do: wait, listen, and trust that God will give us everything we need.