Sunday, July 26, 2009

Upside Down

Working/interpreting dreams has taught me to look at things both right side up and upside down. The scary monster in a dream may have my best interests at heart, may be a good friend trying to warn me of impending disaster. A death may be the announcement of a healing transformation.

Though I more often hear stories of shock, pain, fear, and anger from individuals who receive a "yellow light" from a Regional Subcommittee on Candidacy (RSCC) or a "2" or "3" from the MFC, I also hear stories from people who tell me that they have come to agree with the decision they received and have benefited from the additional study or the additional activities prescribed. Though this blog contains suggestions for improving the current examining process, it recommends that the UUA continue to examine for ministry and acknowledges that some candidates are not ready for "green lighting" when they first present themselves to the examining body.

My theology is principally drawn from Indian philosophy. When the WRSCC (Western RSCC) told me that I didn't have a fully developed UU theology, it forced me to research the Indian roots of transcendentalism. I found that I was treading a path that held the footprints of Mary Moody Emerson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry David Thoreau. The research and reflection helped me integrate my UUism and my nondualism.

Do you have a tale of how RC and/or MFC prescriptions--no matter how disappointing at the time--eventually worked to your benefit?


  1. Not me--RSCC--and given the prescription and the reality... it's not going to work out to my benefit--other than the pure serendipity of people met along the way. But the object of mine was a pure fantasy on the part of part (or all?) of the panel. And that's not just my view, that's an outside professional take on the matter, commenting on the non-professional prescription I got.

    Ah well. It's been appropriately buried in the litter box, but I'm afraid that I found it very disappointing. The panel squandered time on someone's (on the panel) fata morgana and didn't spend that time on investigating or poking at something else that might have been of benefit to me.

    What's really problematic is that the advice from others--seminarians and ministers both--is to just let it go. Say nothing. Which means that the process lacks a feedback loop that would correct defects, failings, and inappropriate actions on the part of the panels.

    In my case, that's not going to be a problem. But...

  2. My personal answer is "no." And because of the nature of my "no," I can be certain that it won't change. I got a "1"--and yet walked away from the experience disappointed and with a bad taste in my mouth for the new "not-gatekeeper" process of the RSCC.

    No one--seminarian or minister (plural, both cases)--thinks I should say anything official.

    So my analysis is that the process is severely flawed--there's no way to point to deficiencies in it, nor to things that were done badly, or wrongly, and inappropriately... that the people best placed to provide advice feel is safe for those in the process to use. The ministerial advice is that it's a small world and that any complaint or grievance will... not just be in channels, and wouldn't be wise... certainly not for someone not yet in final fellowship, which rather defeats the purpose.

  3. Thank you for your comment and for adding to my vocab (had to look up "fata morgana," out here in the West we just have mirages).

    I too received the same advice--suck it up; don't fight city hall even if the decision/recommendation is erroneous--from my faculty adviser at SKSM.

    I wholeheartedly agree that the lack of a feedback loop, or at least the insufficiency of current feedback, is a problem. My human resources experience tells me that an appeal process (whether called appeal, grievance, or complaint) that allows review by a 3rd party keeps an examining body on its toes. Even if appeals are rare, the possibility of submitting them reduces actions based on fata morgana.

  4. P.S I hope it doesn't remain in the litter box, but becomes fuel for change.

  5. Great, burning used kitty litter.

    I'm more of a squeaky wheel, so I expect that sooner or later...