One of things that you have to do at seminary (at least at Calvin), if you want to go into full-time parish ministry, is to take a psychological assessment. It’s designed to see what kind of a person you are – socially, emotionally, psycho-socially, etc. It’s a three step process that I’ll talk about in a minute, but I have to say that I was kinda nervous about the whole thing. I’ve never been evaluated like that before but now that it’s over – it wasn’t too bad.
OK, so back in the beginning of September, I took a written psychological test, and it was killer. It consisted of forty complete the sentence type questions, followed by a series of questions (maybe 30 or so) about how you handle yourself in certain social situations, followed 750 (that is not a typo) true and false questions. These questions ranged from questions about my health to my views about homeless people. It took about three hours to complete the whole thing and it was exhausting.
This is followed by an interview with a psychologist which I also had in September. Spouses were encouraged to come too, so Jessica and I went to the appointment together and met with Bill to discuss my life up to this point. They call it a background interview and they ask questions about my past, what I think my tendencies are, how I feel about and conduct myself, if I like my parents (I said yes, mom and dad) -- that sort of stuff.
The psychologist takes both of the interview info and the written test data and puts them together in a final report that I met with him about yesterday – the third and final step. It was a good meeting and he basically confirmed the fact that I’m a relatively normal, well-adjusted, angst free person. No red flags. I know, I know, the relatively normal part surprises many of you, but now it’s been established via a third-party professional!
Anyway, all in all, it was a good process. It affirmed some things about myself that I already knew – for example, I’m an administrative type person – I like responsibility and I handle it well. It also told me I need to do a better job of listening and not be too quick to jump to conclusions – I knew that already too. So it was an affirming exercise and, I think, another way of God confirming that this is where I need to be right now.
So, I’m fit for ministry – at least, mentally. We’ll see what the rest of the semester brings! I repeat…I’m not crazy, contrary to popular belief.