Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Discussions and Opinions

A church that shall remain unnamed but is deeply connected to one of my sons is having a lot of discussions about hospitality and being welcoming.  There is a bait-and-switch operating regarding the word hospitality, which is a Gift of the Spirit, but also a marketing approach for businesses.  These are related but not identical ideas.  Thus, having an owner of many hotels in to talk about hospitality is certainly interesting for a church, which should have all the secular knowledge in its armament for the ministry of making Christ known.  But it is not the same thing as what St. Paul was talking about. Sacrificial generosity to the saints or to widows and orphans is distinct from cheerful greetings.

Nametags for the staff were discussed.  It is clear in retrospect that management at this church - oh, I'm sorry, did you want a more spiritual-sounding title than manager?  Something that reflects your years of religious training and clerical qualifications? - wanted to roll out nametags and everyone to agree. Just like where I work. I still fall for it.  I still think that when bosses ask for my opinion, it's because they want my opinion.  My oldest son, at least, doesn't fall for that so much.  But uh, another son still thinks, as I reflexively do, that staff discussions and workshops mean that staff discusses things and work on them. He made cautionary statements pointing out possible flaws in the nametag idea.

He was booed by the rest of the church staff.

I encourage him to tell me these stories but take his advice from his older brother, not me.  There are people who pull me aside on the way in to department meetings who instruct me, for my own good, not to comment about anything.  I just can't lay off pointing out the obvious.

We had a training today by a Psy D about a form we have to sometimes fill out.  I have never filled one out myself in 35 years, but those who work in a specific branch of the hospital have to do 3-4 a year.  The trainer immediately announced that this was all going to be changing in the next few months, and hopefully would be completely revamped by 7/1/14.  But we spent an hour learning how to do this anyway.

Is it necessary to point out that the training was largely useless?  The Power Point went up and he basically read the forms to us.  Name.  Address. Facility referred to. Address of facility referred to.  Has the patient required more than outpatient treatment at any time in the last two years? (We're a hospital.  If we're filling out the form...) Do they have a mental illness?

Late in the training, one of the assistants sitting behind me said "I see some heads shaking over this last section.  Is everyone understanding this?"  I realised that I had been shaking my head - but in disbelief, not puzzlement. One of the qualifying categories was if the patient is in a coma.  We were spending time on this.  None of our patients is in a coma.  We send those to Concord Hospital.

Tomorrow we will be sent an email by our management for feedback if this was a worthwhile training. I am going to have great trouble answering that with the required "Sure! One of the best this year!"


james said...

Liars annoy me, and the fake discussion sessions (at work, or the scripted political town hall meetings) are pretty despicable.

I've met some (more than a few) forms where the jargon was ambiguous and a full sentence spoken to describe it clarified the situation wonderfully. But I don't usually need everything spelled out.

I have to fill out a semi-annual work report that consists of estimating how much of my time I spent on project X or Y. Fill in percentages and click the buttons. (Since I'm now 100% IceCube it is pretty easy, and in any event the expected percentages are beside the boxes.) They have a training video for this.

I assume that your training session level is appropriate for somebody in your situation. I gather it isn't the staff, or you'd have mentioned candidates. That leaves the presenter or the manager, likely both.

Dubbahdee said...

As for your response to the email, that's what emoticons are for. ;-)

BTW - I bet you get that "Don't say anything..." advice a lot. That some people feel that is necessary -- that is one of the things about you that I love.

Dubbahdee said...

One more thing...

I hope Son Number Two wears that boo proudly. Just because we work in the evangelical circus doesn't mean we have to be a clown.

Retriever said...

I like Dubbahdee comments...

Fantasy: Perhaps we should start a house church when the Retrievers finally move permanently to somewhere near you guys. We can dress like Puritans, alternate preaching and be very severe. We will have three hour services, and have an ultra orthodox theology, and of course routinely bend all our severe principles when our secretly soft hearts are broken by the hard luck tales of the latest neerdowells lured our scrumptious coffee hour.

Reality: I LOATHE the way my church has talked more about hospitality and planned ways to rope in new people as it has actually become more anomic recently (in our case, it's because it's become bigger, richer and has a pastor who does;t do pastoral care, can't do administration, and isn't an intellectual or a preacher able to reach women or people who are struggling).

By contrast, when the church was small and fervent, over half the congregation was in recovery it sometimes seemed. You'd ask someone after church how they were and they'd say "Well Harry is out of jail, but he's not as violent as we were afraid praise the Lord, and I can handle it better since I no longer drink." God's people. Honest, loving, kind, and passionate lovers of the Lord.

james said...

Do you ever read The Last Psychiatrist? If so, any comments?