Lessons learned from the music situation.

With the whole music situation, which as you will see it wasn’t all bad, I learned some important lessons:

  1. The process of becoming a leader does not happen by people getting what they want right off the bat. Whoever doesn’t go through this process becomes a monster in the church who gives everyone else a hard time (something that could have been prevented with a good mentor).
  2. My church has shown that they have no ability to form leaders, only monsters. Shame, because my church isn’t capable of developing people and using it’s resources efficiently.
  3. For a musicians, the process of becoming a musician is to start playing a non-essential instrument and absorbing the good things that are to learn from the environment. When God determines that you are proven ready, the promotion will come. That takes years, though.
  4. God will not promote anyone to a position that is already taken if the person who is in that position isn’t promoted to something greater (where they will be more efficient).
  5. People should, at some point, realize the benefits of going through hardships; of the lessons and the character that is gained in the process.
  6. Being taken under someone’s wing (at least in my church) is a privilege. For someone that cannot become a leader without constant direction, it is a must. For someone that is more independent, the mentor idea seems to not be necessary at all but it is important to make process more efficient.
  7. Talking makes things more complicated, but if I see that something is wrong and no one does anything about it I shouldn’t wait for it to become worse to speak up.

How God teaches me.

For me, it is necessary to have things be congruent in both the Bible and what I see from my formal and informal education before I accept it as fact. God knows that and uses it to teach me important lessons about Him. So God’s teaching moments are preceded by long periods of research and long periods of internalizing the information unconsciously. Sometimes God teaches first through the Bible and my experience and then confirms it through experts in the different fields that I research or learn from. Other times the process is inverted: God first shows me what experts says or what is the secular knowledge and then confirms it through the Bible. It is a different process than what is approved and/or promoted in the church, but it is an understanding and the method through which God teaches me.

I have to be clear that I don’t doubt God or what He teaches me. The lack of true acceptance of a conclusion as true in my mind comes from the fact that God gave me, through the process of self discovery that He took me through in my adolescence, a auto didactic approach to understanding myself, the world, and God. Because of issues regarding my upbringing, I learned to not take anything that comes out of my mental analysis as true or acceptable. God, who knows all, has worked with this perception to show that I shouldn’t doubt the results of the process because the judgement of other people (family, classmates, church people, etc.) is wrong in His eyes. I’m learning that, but God knows that I like the security in the teaching method and the weight that it brings to arguments that I make.

What is preaching to me… and what it is for others.

For me, preaching is:

  1. A privilege and a responsibility that God gives.
  2. One of the highest things that you can do in the church.
  3. A method to share that which God shared with me.
  4. Something that I am capable of doing.
  5. Something that should be a planned process.
  6. Something that I like doing.

For others, preaching is:

  1. Something to tremble upon.
  2. Something that takes over the reactions of the body.
  3. A moment that should be escaped.
  4. Something that is done in fear.
  5. Something that others say that I don’t identify with (and it’s actually true).

It’s been a long day.

The situation that I explained in the previous posts made me feel that my position and my safety in my music ministry is threatened without justification. My father, the keyboard player of the church, intervened in the situation by talking to the pastor when the co-pastor, through his daughter, texted  an implicit “screw you, I’m getting what I want because I’m me!”. The pastor agreed with what we were both presenting and made the decision to void the co-pastor’s command. So because of the pastor’s intervention I ended up playing the drums today after all.

Playing the drums was a sign of triumph, but I am nervous because the co-pastor has a lot of roles in the church and I don’t want to be negatively affected in those other areas by his power. What my father said was that the situation was more complicated than what was seen from the co-pastor in this one incident (something that I already knew). This probably means that I still need to make serious decisions about how I’ll go about my work in the church.

Today has been a day where I felt anger, frustration, sadness, and nervousness. I am still not at peace. The big issue has not been solved. I hope that this doesn’t last much longer, because this has been a really long day.

Emotional situations and making hard decisions.

Update on the music situation: I’m being forced out of the drums today by the co-pastor, who apparently had approved for her to play. I stood my ground with him as a 6 year veteran musician because what he is doing is wrong (it violated the order of musicians and he was going over the pastor’s word), but he is using power to force this into being. As of right now, 28th of july 2015 at 5:27pm, I will not play tonight and I will have to start making some serious decisions regarding how I will operate in the church.

This situation has forced me to have to work through emotions that I don’t understand and have a hard time managing (being an INTJ and all). I can rationally make some decisions and know what is right, but I have a hard time keeping my biological reaction in check. This conflict drains my energy and that causes me to want to isolate to wait for things to mellow out. In this situation this wasn’t possible.

This situation hasn’t been the only one where I have had to push through emotional situations to get certain things done; usually, though, the situations are on one aspect of my life and the things that I have to do is in another. In this case, both were in one aspect. This made the music situation harder. I can’t just isolate.

I don’t like to make important decisions in emotional turmoil. I like to cool down (if I can), think of things from all sides and make a decision. Here that hasn’t happened. I don’t like making life style altering decision like this. It feels that I’m given no choice but to make them.

It feels weird getting what you want from my Pastor.

I’m a musician in my church. The second youngest musician and the most vocal of them. This has the implication that at times I encounter situations in this ministry that the other musicians don’t really encounter.

A young person wants to play the drums or the guitar on church services where the youth group are doing the devotional, but she wants for me to “move mountains” so that she could have her desires met. She asked me last night: “since the youth are having the devotional tomorrow, can you let me play the drums?”. I knew immediately that I had to say no and I knew that there were two reasons for it:

  1. this desire violated the order of the church (I also didn’t really want to give up my well earned spot because she wants me to).
  2. she doesn’t have the right mentality to play on that particular service.

When I was confronted with this situation, I knew that there was a bigger problem: I didn’t have the authority to say yes or no, because the Pastor hadn’t given that authority to anyone in years. So today I had to talk to my Pastor about what was going to be my course of action.

To understand the context of this post, I have to say that my impression of my Pastor is that he is not as helpful and as reasonable as I feel that he should be, which is a biased standard. So my mind went in under the idea that the Pastor wasn’t going to listen much less give me the authority that I needed to guide this young person where they should go.

I presented the issue at hand and the type of decisions that I had to make without the authorization to make them. I then presented the reason that it was important to deal with in a manner that made everyone happy in the long run while not causing a big disturbance. I presented my proposal to solve the problem in the most logical way possible: I told him that the best way to solve this problem was that I was going to tell her that her best path to be a musician was to start at the congas with the goal to end up at the drums; that I wanted to give me the guarantee that he would say yes to her if she asked to play the congas and drums so she can learn what she needs to learn to deal with those weaknesses.

To my surprise, he not only accepted my proposal but he also gave me the authority to make future decisions about what she can and cannot do in music without having to go to him first. This was huge, because it put her musical development in my hands under the context of a Paul and Timothy mentor-mentee dynamic. This was something that God already had put in my hands, but now it is something that is approved by my Pastor. It also forces me to have to re-think who the Pastor is in my mind. He is more reasonable than I expect. He can say yes, at times. I have to say something, though: It still feels weird getting what you want (sometimes more) from my Pastor.

Truth and Lies? Or just bad speaking?

How do I know when I’m telling the truth and when I’m telling a lie? That depends on what is being talked about.

  1. When I’m talking about facts, a lie is said when the facts aren’t cited correctly.
  2. When I’m talking about a memory, a lie is said when what I said isn’t consistent with the memory,
  3. When I’m talking about a feeling, a lie is said when I immediately question what I said.

Why is this topic important to me? As an INTJ I believe that it’s important to have a morality that is my own, whatever that means. So as a christian that comes from a christian family that has taught that lying was good in certain contexts, I saw that what my family was teaching was against what I perceived (and the Bible state) that was wrong. That made me have  to make a decision when I was in high school that I was going to do everything in my power to not lie.

As much as I try not to lie, I end up failing for the reasons mentioned above. When I find out that I lied, I feel guilty because I failed. Sometimes it happens and I feel that I can’t avoid it, because in my mind I’m telling the truth but when I speak I can’t state what in my mind correctly: I end up lying. This makes me realize that what I really have is not necessarily a lying problem but a speaking problem. The probability that my inconsistency with correct expression of my thoughts is one of my weakness is relatively high. So maybe what I should focus on is not 100% on not lying but on speaking the truth that is in my mind.