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August 16th, 2010


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10:22 am - NYT article: lowering burnout among priests
An interesting article popped up in the New York Times not too long ago: "Taking a Break From the Lord's Work". The article talks about a rise in obesity, hypertension, and depression among clergypersons in America, and a lowering of life expectancy. In addition, they apparently have "significantly higher rates of arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma." Mostly, this is attributed to the "growth-ethic" of churches these days (wherein megachurches are the desired outcome) and social media and cell phones. I stumbled across the article when it was referenced on Wikipedia's "Clergy" article (which I stumbled onto trying to find out what a shorter word for "ordained priest" might be).

While we don't have to worry so much about "megachurches" (though Three Cranes is rather large, clocking in at around 50 people who are somehow officially related to the Grove, either as Members or as Friends), the social media aspect is huge with us: demands to be on e-lists, video chats, Facebook, and other net-savvy functions are high. . . so high, in fact, that those who are visible and quick to respond are seen as better at "doing our jobs" than those who aren't, which is a troubling (if understandable) trend. The social aspect of being a priest can really, really wear on folks.

I like the solutions hinted at in the article: yearly retreats (with longer sabbaticals every few years), teaching Priests to say "no" (I've learned that one, for the most part, pretty well), encouraging discipline of any sort (particularly silence, meditation, prayer, vacation days, etc.), and calming the need-for-growth mentality.

Anyway, food for thought.
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Mood: busy
Current Music: "Train to Dixieland", -JB

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Comments:


[User Picture]
From:anivair
Date:August 16th, 2010 02:35 pm (UTC)
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That is really an amazing idea. And it's not just pagan circles. I'm in a few gaming orgs (or have been) and it's the same there. Any sufficiently large group that people can turn into their social circle becomes that.

And I think that having your faith group be a part of your social circle is certainly healthy, but it's important that people understand that there's a life outside that and that being on ADF chat or at their computer 24/7 is not making them any better. It doesn't make you a better pagan, really. (I need to learn that lesson myself from time to time).
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:August 16th, 2010 06:25 pm (UTC)
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Oh, faith and social interaction certainly must co-exist. They really can't be pulled apart, as religion is clearly a community experience.

But yes, like the gaming group, if you only have friends in the gaming group, then you cannot separate from the gaming group. And it's important (and healthy) to separate from any group for at least some time.

Having more than one social circle is, I think, pretty important. And having others recognize that they're not your only social circle is equally important :)

I've often found myself getting frustrated with being disconnected (for instance, I'd love to spend the entire day on ADF's chat rooms, but I simply can't), but my religious response to being disconnected is less often to get on to the ADF lists or the chats, and more often to go to my altar and light a fire.

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