I don't want anyone to miss Rachelle's thoughts on the difference between the leadership styles of traditional church pastoring and being a neo-monastic abbess. Here's one of my very favorite parts (I have several favorites):
Pastors often end up being gurus – people look to them to have all the answers and they become a sort of depository where congregants can come to make an “answer withdrawal.” As a pastor, this stressed me out to no end. I’ll let you in on a secret folks – pastors know some stuff, but not nearly as much as you think we do. I didn’t like being the answer repository. However, I am pretty good at being present, listening for answers, and being a withmate. This is what I can do as an Abbess – not provide answers, but travel with a small group of fellow journey-makers. I’m not sure how this works, but somehow, making the shift from answer-holder to fellow-traveler has allowed wisdom to be held not just by me, but by the community. Conversation over beer and dinner allows our community to guide one another. Sure, I still sometimes sit down with people one-on-one for more focused spiritual direction. But it’s our out-living of life together that really helps us find direction and hear from God. [emphasis mine]Reminds me of something Cynthia said the other night about affirming the priesthood of all believers. Good, good stuff.