Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The feminist voice

I presented my final evaluation for CPE today. It was very affirming, and I feel gratitude for the experiences I have shared with my internship group this summer. I bid farewell to the staff on my floors and a few patients that have been long term in the hospital. I did my final paperwork. Tomorrow night I work my final on-call shift.

I cannot imagine what next week will be like without chaplaincy in my life. This is somewhat how I felt when my internship at the shelter was over in May, except that this has been all-consuming ministry. I am also excited to dive into my congregational internship in just three weeks, but it will be a very different experience than this. 

It is interesting to me how entering ministry has changed my discernment process. I foresee it being much longer and more deliberate than I had thought, and this growth and maturity is a wonderful thing.

In any event, one thing that I was surprised to find myself focusing on in my final evaluation was my voice as a woman. My group has 5 men and 2 women, and it has been shocking to discover things about myself in that experience - how I inadvertently defer to men - checking in, for one. I have worked on these observations over the last three months, and have been fascinated to be a participant of and observer of my experience.

One of my questions for feedback was about my direct style. I have been labeled "aggressive," and a "bitch" for being direct and clear in my communications. But this was not the perception of the men in my group. I didn't get much feedback from the woman today, but at mid-unit, there was a desire to see some of my softer side. (Some would assert that I don't have one ). My supervisor was delighted to find out that I am an 8 on the Ennegram, which healthily integrates to a 2, which has become obvious to me as I work to attain a balance of diplomacy and prophetic voice.

I am anxious to see how this plays out in a congregration. I think a strong prophetic voice is an asset in preaching and justice work; it might be perceived as challenging in a board meeting, but it remains to be seen. I'd be interested to hear about other women's experience with their ministerial presence and voice.

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