Thursday, January 1, 2009

Welcome Janus

January was named after Janus, the god of the doorways and beginnings and endings. He has 2 faces, one forward and one backward, so he could guard both doorways from both directions. Janitors, caretakers of halls and doorways, draw the name of their occupation from Janus.

I will start being 2-faced by both supporting and challenging the examining process for UU ministry. Ministers have fiduciary responsibility. Fiduciaries are not only financial guardians; they are any people to whom property or power is entrusted for the benefit of others. This not only includes accounting, but law, medicine, and the other professions. Examining processes should be designed to help protect those served by fiduciaries from incompetence and misconduct.

While there is wisdom in having formation and examining processes for professions, sometimes such processes can get out of hand or out of date. Have the examining processes gone out of balance when considering academic and experiential knowledge and preparation.

Recently, a mentor of mine who is a experienced UU minister wrote:

In the very old days ministers (and lawyers, physicians, carpenters, et al.) "sat at the feet" of those who knew what they were doing and were pushed, prodded, pulled into acquiring the sensitivity and skills they needed. At it's heart, this was also the SK method of education. At the end it wasn't just the mentors who knew a person was ready, more important, the person knew.

How does an examining panel weigh the assessments of mentors? What are the fiduciary responsibilities of mentors to mentees, to the MFC, and to UUism?

Thoughts and comments on this issue will be appreciated.

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