Monday, 13 August 2012

Group Exercises

Sometimes you wonder why we bother. I knew everybody would be a bit low - and that was before they saw the Olympic Closing Ceremony. But I tell you, what with the weather and everything the atmosphere has been as fraught as a Spice Girls reunion.

So I figured we'd have some group work at this morning's Pouring out of Beakers. We'd moved the ceremony from the traditional 8am - I put this down to something to do with the peak of the Perseid meteor shower, but in fact it was because I suspected a few Beaker People had celebrated the Ceremony with some considerable vigour.

So we broke everyone into six groups, and gave them 30 minutes to tell us the best things about the Life of Faith. Then we asked each group to nominate a spokesperson.

Then, on the grounds that by definition the spokespeople would be the most annoying extraverts, we said we would give them five minutes in the quiet of the Doily Shed to prepare their presentations. Complete lie, of course. Hnaef locked them in so we could hear what everybody else had to say.

I should say that we had hand-picked each group to have similar characteristics. So Group 1, the "Thinkers" (notice the quote marks) played back to us that they couldn't decide whether they should be discussing the Life of Faith, or whether it was the Life in Faith. Or maybe the Life to Faith - reflecting that faith is a movement, not a point of stasis. This was all accompanied by about 25 pages of flip charts, proving that the Life to Faith isn't going anywhere.

Group 2 was the Doers. They suggested that the Life of Faith is about Changing; Doing; Renewing: Reviving: Enthusing: Trampling on the Deeds of the Dark One and Dancing on Injustice. They then did a haka before running round the Moot House, whooping. I've never understood why people would want to dance on injustice - I reckon it would be pretty bumpy.

Group 3 was the Emoters. They expressed the Life of Faith by telling us we don't know what it's like - we wouldn't organise group exercises if we really understood them. We - the rest of the world - just skip around in a state of ignorance of how utterly demanding the Life of Faith is if you really live it.

Group 4 had spent the half-hour discussing how they felt they related to the task. That's the last time I accept a booking from a bunch of Anglican ordinands.

Group 5 quoted the Church Fathers on the matter. So profound, theologically sound and almost completely impractical if your problem is really that you can't get a 3G signal to pick up your morning cyber-liturgy.

Which just left Group 6 - the people who just want to get nice feelings out of their religion. I'll be honest, they didn't show any evidence of wrestling with the subject. But they did draw some lovely kittens.

So all in all I like to think we learned something. And that was - don't do group exercises. Although Group 3 did assure us that we'd been on a journey with them. Albeit, not a nice journey.

1 comment :

  1. I always feel comfortable in group exercises, because as I know that I'm a natural leader (having been trained by the Army for 43 years to tell people to jump through hoops), I just relax and let others take the lead.

    You quickly establish that some are leaders, others think that they are leaders and some who should be leaders, think that they are followers.

    The most productive ones are the followers, because they hang on every word, soaking it up and thinking about it in some pretty outrageous directions before coming up with the solution that just works, because it's simple, has no guile and is practical and involves someone else taking the lead.

    This is where I come into my own, appearing humble, but ready to bite their hand off to lead. I than abandon anyone else's ideas and impose my own.

    Works every time.


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