Wednesday, April 5, 2006

thoughts on mentoring

in a recent conversation with len sweet, he mentioned the worth of "historical mentors" that i thought deserved to be reprinted:

"I've been thinking about the Great Cloud of Withnesses (sp. right) that you need beside you as you move into the future - here's my list:
Jethro, Jonathan, Nathan, Issachar, Timothy, Paul, Barnabas, Deborah, and Eli

"Jonathan is the friend who "sticks closer than a brother;" the person who, when you strip your soul bare, doens't reel back in horror at your ugliness

"Nathan is the one who can stand up to you and say, "You be THE MAN." You're in trouble if you keep doing what you're doing.

"Timothy is your heir, your protege. To be without a Joshua or a Timothy will one day go down in history as "Sharonism." Ariel Sharon brought his nation to a point where he reversed many of the things he himself did, but then when he was almost there, he had a stroke . . . and was without an heir.

"Paul is your mentor, your theological and spiritual and intellectual guru.

"Your Barnabas is your encourager, the person who keeps your feet to the fire and your hand to the plow . .. the person who puts wind into the sail of your spirit.

"Issachar is the one who helps you read the handwriting on the wall . . . most probably the most off the wall people in your life.

"Then there is the "Withness" of a Deborah . . . the one who covers your back, as she did for Barak . . . Who's got your back? You're going to take it in the back . . . more than back-biting; back-stabing.

"Jethro was the Go TO Peace person, the coach who pushes you into your mission with insight and imagination.

"Your Eli is Someone to help you hear God when he speaks. Leadership for me is less a vision test than a sound check."

Len also noted that each of these mentors had a peculiar antithetical quality, or maybe a paradoxical virtue, to their character:

Jethro had a Peaceful Restlessness;

Jonathan had a Reflective Spontaneity;

Issachar had a Random Attentiveness;

Nathan had a Committed Openness;

Timothy had a Doubting Faith,

Barnabas had a Realistic Optimism;

Paul had a Humble Confidence;

Deborah had an Overt Covering;

and Eli had Visionary Acoustics.

it's his comments on these biblical characters that have got me thinking about the duplicity of our own lives and characters, about how we have complimentary skills and strengths [and even impatience[s] ] that allow us to be uniquely employed by god.

care to take a stab at what yours might be?

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