Monday, April 26, 2010

Tempests, Teapots

I've been having conversations with people about Confirmation and worship service. I don't have any children who are getting confirmed, so I don't have a dog in this fight. I must confess to being surprised by how much energy people have on this subject. I always assumed that since the congregation promises to support the Confirmands in this new part of their journey that we'd have the rite of Confirmation during the service where more people attended, as opposed to the service where the Confirmand attends most regularly. Not everyone sees it this way.

In fact, I'd have assumed that the parents of Confirmands might be offended if the rite of Confirmation was done at the less well attended service. Well, I'd have assumed that, if I had thought about it much.

I'm still fairly new to my church, so I assume that there are traditions, and I don't give much time/thought/consideration to some of these issues. I'm also Church Council President, so I hear from unhappy people. It's a very strange position in which to find myself.

I'm reminded of some of my work encounters this week, where various people have gotten really worked up over issues that surprised me. For example, I had one student come to my office in tears, so upset that she could barely speak because of a grade on her first paper.

It was a B+.

I tried to assure her that a B+ on a first paper was actually quite good, and that she'd be fine. Even though she eventually calmed down, I'm not sure that I convinced her.

I've been reading Bill McKibben's new book, Eaarth, about the climate and how the planetary changes we've wrought are not reversible, and that experience provides an additional disconnect. I have spent several days wanting to scream, "Excuse me. EXCUSE ME. You're upset about this, and meanwhile we've altered the planet into this hostile place we've never experienced before. You can't be serious."

And, to keep myself humble, I force myself to think about all of my own personal tempests in teapots. I know that I spend lots of time worked up over things that really won't matter in the long run. And they probably don't matter in the short run.

Why can't I remember this when I'm in full lather? Why can't I talk myself away from the precipace of rage and worry and fear before I get fully worked up?

There are many answers of course. I see it as a psychological issue, but maybe it's also a more deeply spiritual issue too.

1 comment:

Mrs. M said...

Erm... I think I showed you one of my teapot-tempests below.

I just finished re-reading Robert Fulghum's Uh-Oh, and so I have the question, "Problem or inconvenience?" stuck in my mind. When I think to ask it, it's helpful with this.