The surprising gift of multiplicity

Print Article

Rev. Walter Klockers

Cynthia G. Lindner is part of the faculty of the University of Chicago Divinity School. Rev. Lindner is also a pastoral psychotherapist at the Center for Religion and Psychotherapy. In addition, she has written a book entitled “Varieties of Gifts: Multiplicity and the Well-Lived Pastoral Life.”

I recently had the opportunity to hear Rev. Lindner speak and thought her views were important enough to share with you here.

Her message was primarily intended for pastors but can easily be translated for all.

The key theme of her message is based upon something called multiplicity. One definition of multiplicity is “a state of being made up of multiple diverse elements.” Another way of saying this is “being made up of a lot of different stuff.”

I have learned that it is a healthy thing to view ourselves as creatures of multiplicity. You can begin this process by simply listing as many things as you can about yourself. Fill in the blank by repeatedly saying: “I am ____.” Keep track of your responses.

For Christians, this notion should be familiar to us. In Scripture, Jesus used metaphorical “I am” statements, such as: “I am the bread of life,” “I am the light of the world,” “I am the good shepherd,”

For me, I can begin with: “I am a human being,” “I am male,” “I am a husband,” “I am a father,” “I am a Christian,” “I am Lutheran,” “I am a pastor,” “I am a photographer,” “I am a writer,” “I am a fisherman,” “I am a veteran,” “I am an American,” I am a person who enjoys nature,” et cetera. I can list about forty things off the top of my head.

So our lists may include occupation, roles, hobbies, interests, likes, habits, tendencies – those things that make us who we are. In other words, your identity.

It can be dangerous for us if we have a very short list. For example, if you are a pastor, and chiefly identify yourself as such, what will happen the day you retire? If you lack multiplicity, then you may experience a depressing void.

So, how many things did you list? God wishes for you to live your life abundantly. So why not seek out ways to add to it? That way, if any one thing is taken away, others will step up to the plate.

Walter is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church and has served as parish pastor for more than 25 years.

Print Article

Read More Religion

Quite frankly, there’s something that bugs me about you

August 15, 2019 at 5:00 am | Columbia Basin Herald Most nights, when Jeanne and I go to bed, just before we turn out the light, I say to my dear wife, “Thanks for hanging out another day,” and we laugh. I will often add to that statement, “I don’t kn...

Comments

Read More

Thinking about Jesus while out on the water

August 09, 2019 at 5:00 am | Columbia Basin Herald Jeanne, Ben and I just got back off vacation from the Olympic Peninsula. I wrote about this two weeks ago — my experience of having a touch of seasickness when I went out shrimping. While in Port An...

Comments

Read More

No matter what your age, you travel fast

August 01, 2019 at 5:00 am | Columbia Basin Herald Have you ever had vertigo? I know some people who have had this condition or currently suffer from such symptoms. The feeling is quite unpleasant. The room may seem like it is spinning. This makes it...

Comments

Read More

No need to worry – Jesus is on the passenger list

July 25, 2019 at 5:00 am | Columbia Basin Herald Some time ago, our family traveled across the mountains to the west side to visit some old friends in Port Angeles. Lori is Jeanne’s best friend. They’ve known each other since age four. Lori is marr...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(509) 765-4561
PO Box 910
Moses Lake, WA 98837

©2019 Columbia Basin Herald Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X