I keep coming back to this post by DeForest London – “A Way Out of Burnout: Cultivating Differentiated Leadership Through Lament”. I originally reposted it on my other blog, A Medical Education. I keep coming back to this rich piece.
I have begun reading the work of Rabbi Edwin Friedman, whose work on family systems and overfunctioning/underfunctioning in relationships London uses as the springboard for his thoughts. This quote from Friedman, which is in a footnote of London’s piece, resonates beyond the world of clergy leadership:
“There are a number of clergy of all faiths who, rather than burning out, almost seem to relish abuse, either emotionally or in their physical surroundings. If they are Christian, they might see themselves as emulating Jesus on the cross. If they are Jewish, they might justify their suffering by recalling the martyrs of Jewish history. In both cases this is sheer theological camouflage for an ineffective immune system. In any family, taking the suffering for others, or being willing to suffer because of the suffering of others, is absolutely irresponsible if it enables others to avoid facing their own suffering! Indeed, the effects of that type of self-abnegation can only increase others’ guilt!”