Saturday, May 4, 2013

Chaplain Barber our New Bishop

I was elated to hear that former Navy Chaplain Michael Barber, SJ was appointed as bishop of Oakland yesterday. Chaplain Barber was born July 13, 1954 in Salt Lake City.  He entered the Society of Jesus in 1973 and was ordained a Jesuit priest in 1985. His assignments have included assistant professor of theology at Gregorian University in Rome, researcher and tutor at Oxford University in England, director of the School of Pastoral Leadership in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, assistant professor of systematic and moral theology and spiritual director at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, director of spiritual formation at St. John’s in Boston, MA.  Chaplain Barber and I attended USF and served as chaplains together at the Middle East Forces Religious Unit in Alameda.  He attended my retirement from the Navy and my final vows.  He is the one on the far left in this picture of Navy chaplains taken at my retirement ceremony in 2005.  (I'm third one from the right)  I wish our new Bishop "fair winds and following seas" as he takes the helm at the Diocese of Oakland.  He is a good man, a brave man, and a great choice for our diocese!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Differentiated Leadership

At the end of my third unit of CPE I am integrating my Christian mystical theology with Friedman's theory of Differentiated Leadership and Johnson's theory of Polarities Management.  It is not easy to stand apart and be a "non-anxious" presence when all of one's company or colleagues seem to turn against you.  But, it is counterproductive to cave in to the desire to fit in, or to react with hostility, disgust or disdain.  This is not because any of those emotions lack validity, but because they undermine the common good of attaining wholeness and fulfillment together.  It really is wiser to "keep calm and carry on" as the British slogan suggests. Differentiated leadership plays a key role in the four pastoral functions of healing, sustaining, guiding and reconciling.  Healing means helping someone overcome an impairment so they can integrate and achieve a state of wellness.  Traditional steps are anointing, sacred touching, charismatic presence and exorcism.  Sustaining means supporting someone who has experienced an overwhelming loss or series of losses.  The four stages of sustaining are preserving (holding onto what remains), consoling (showing that someone is valued and loved), consolidating (pulling together the pieces to begin again, and redeeming (embracing the loss and transforming). Guiding means counseling someone so they can choose wisely between various courses of action.  Historically guidance included advice-giving and actively fighting Satan (or some pathology).  In the present era the way of guiding is listening.  This is a method that allows the person in need of healing to access their own wisdom.  Reconciling means helping alienated persons re-establish good relations with God and others. It takes place through forgiveness accompanied by a proclamation, an announcement or a gesture of some kind.  Confession, contrition and absolution are the main steps that lead to forgiveness.  In pastoral care love heals, sustains, guides and reconciles in an unselfconscious way that is miraculous.