Weigh my heart, summon me by night, *
melt me down; you will find no impurity in me.
Keep me as the apple of your eye; *
hide me under the shadow of your wings,
The community members, for their part, are to express their opinions with all humility, and not presume to defend their own views obstinately.
Benedict's Rule 3:4 (Chittister, Pg 52)
And Benedict knows that there is a spark of the divine in all of us. The function of an abbot or prioress, or leaders and spouses everywhere, is not so much to know the truth as to be able to espy it and recognize it in the other when they hear it.
Chittister, Pg 53
Shared decision making. Here we have a central part of creating community, and a way of guiding the community. As I read all of the portion of the Rule for today and all of Sister Joan's reflection I hear that I am to listen and share. I am not to make decisions rashly. If my role is the leader I must, in the end, make the decision. If I am not the leader then I must abide by the decision. I do not get "let off the hook" either way. I cannot simply say "All of you voted for it, make the best of it", nor can I say "I am agreeing only because all of you voted for it". Will this work everywhere? No. And I think mostly because there are places where everyone concerned is not willing to make decisions with these rules.
For our potential, growing, community I hope we can all think about sharing, listening, and abiding by decisions. We all have a part in creating this community. It will not happen without our all taking an active part.
A Note To Anyone Reading:
Unless stated otherwise quotes from St. Benedict's Rule from the translation in this same book.
Psalms are from The Book of Common Prayer, The Episcopal Church, 1979 unless otherwise noted.
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