In the couple weeks since the #pastors24 project, I’ve been thinking about how to foster the community and reflection that I experienced during that day. I want to invite you, my colleagues and friends, to an ongoing practice of examen, shared on Twitter with the hashtag #ourexamen. As I wrote in the earlier post:
It felt like an examen to me. The way I think of an examen may not be by-the-book Ignatian, but it is taking some time to reflect on the events of the day and determine when I felt closest to God or most connected to my calling (and sometimes, when I felt farthest away, because that’s important to know, too). What things lifted me up? For what do I give thanks? What do I give back to God? This exercise of tweeting my ministry helped me be aware of the silly things that were annoying or when I felt far from God/my calling, and the many things that were uplifting and sacred and drew me closer to God and who God is calling me to be as a pastor and a person… In our shared frustrations, I found some humor and consolation, and in our shared celebrations, I saw nothing short of the laborers in God’s vineyard.
So here are “the rules” for this exercise:
1. Be you. I’m a pastor and that’s what I’m reflecting on, and this came out of an experience shared by many pastors, but this need not be limited to pastors. Examen away.
2. Practice as often as you want– daily, weekly, monthly. For me I’m going to try at least weekly, on my sabbath day (Friday) to reflect over the past week.
3. Spend time reflecting on (some people call this praying about!) the events of the past day or days. Ask yourself the following questions, or variations thereof:
– What lifted me up? Brought me closer to God? Affirmed my sense of calling?
– What dragged me down? When did I feel farthest from God and my sense of calling?
– What challenges did I face? What unresolved issues or tasks to I offer back to God?
– What do I want to celebrate? Bemoan? Share?
4. Post whatever reflections you wish to your Twitter account, and include the hashtag (that’s the little #-plus-topic code that lets Twitter put all updates with the same category together in a common search) #ourexamen. That’s examen for the process, and our because we’re sharing it (and because #examen was already taken by every spanish-speaking person talking about exams).
5. Create a post on your blog talking about what it is, or link to this one (you can use the short url [ http://bit.ly/dAszpu ]), so that others can learn about the project and be invited into the reflection if they wish.
Will you join me?
This week, I had some really wonderful moments, so my tweets will look like this:
lifted up and affirmed by conversations with candidates for ministry this week; their excitement is so familiar & dear. #ourexamen
giving 2 God: tomorrow’s funeral service (still waiting 2 hear from family), and the ongoing need 4 emergency shelter from cold. #ourexamen