Friday, April 12, 2013

CREDO? Not Sure.


In a few weeks I will attend a CREDO conference for retired clergy.  CREDO is a program of the Episcopal Church funded, I think, by the Church Pension Fund, that provides a one week, all expense paid program of renewal for clergy in mid career.  Renewal is broadly defined improved well being within the dimensions of the spiritual, emotional, physical and financial.  A few years ago a new version was added for retired clergy with the intention of adapting the program to issues especially important to retirement and aging. 

I’ve heard many good things about CREDO from those who have gone.  Everyone I have talked with has said it was well worth the time and effort involved, and they highly recommended it.  I had often signed up for it in the several years before retirement only to be told the session was sold out and I should try again later.  Now, in the sixth year of retirement, I am going, and I find I have some apprehension about that. 

The orientation packet arrived a while back.  It required detailed information about my health, including an online Mayo Clinic evaluation.  It also asked for, but did not require, detailed information about my financial condition and plans for the future, a timeline of important developments in my life, and so on.  It seems to me that their operating assumption is that, as a retired clergy person, I am probably in questionable physical condition, emotionally and spiritually exhausted, have poor eating habits, and am ill prepared for the financial burdens of retirement, all of this without a clear understanding of my vocation as a priest in retirement.  Give CREDO a week and they will get me back on the right track, all fixed up and ready to hit the road until my next 5,000 mile check up and oil change.  I wonder if I’ll get new wiper blades to improve my vision. 

Does it really have to take an entire week away to do that?  I’m not too keen on any conference that lasts over three days.  We travel a fair amount as it is, so a cross country flight, even one paid by someone else, is more of an endurance test than a treat.  I’m a fairly private person so find much of this to be a little too invasive.  As you might guess, on the good old Myers-Briggs, I score fairly high on the introversion scale, with a composite profile of INTJ, so find this forced intimacy a bit threatening.  After all, I grew up in Lake Wobegon.  I’ll share my most intimate self with you after I’ve known you a decade or two.  Moreover, I’m relatively confident that I’m in decent shape in most of their categories.  I don’t believe I need to be fixed.  Is that true or just arrogance?  So, I’m working hard on having a more open, less skeptical, mind about this upcoming event, with the intention of learning some new things during a week that will be refreshing.  We shall see.

2 comments:

Gretchen said...

Steve, be less sceptical and more open minded. credo is the only place I ever went that spent the whole time telling me that my vocation was important and honored and saying thank you for your work. the work you do in preparation is more for you to actually look at that material than for them to say how bad you are. you will be invited to meet with experts in each area, but invited only, no pressure to do so. really - enjoy it. and by the way the week long conference makes the day long travel worthwhile, who wants to spend a day travelling for only a short conference!

Tom said...

I have to confess that I find the depth of information asked for...well, creepy.

And, yes, just what assumptions are at work behind such a need to know that much information?

I mean if I need help in any specific area of my medical or financial life, why would I assume that this group of folks is literally best situated to put all that information to good use? Why wouldn't doctors and various financial consultants be quite literally better?

And if the point is spiritual guidance in facing the trials of old age, is the assumption that such guidance itself only makes sense in light of an exhaustive survey of the material aspects of one's life? I realize that it is the spirit incarnate, but somehow I find the emphasis on the carne (so to speak) unsettling.

But then I'm not a retired pastor....