Who do you call for listening and learning? Sarahummingbird is born of and on the border; healer; mother; artist; writer; community builder and more.
"Revelation is not sealed. Unitarian Universalism is constantly undergoing a process of creation. And it will be processed in conversations. Conversation is the currency of organizations. "No self survives a real conversation", says David Whyte, yet we often come into conversation as teachers only or as learners only or as one thing that we hold on to until the end. Conversation is a process open to dissent, opposition, as well as collaboration, feelings we are not used to, half-formed thoughts, and undone theses. The Western mind has been trained to think that thoughts are complete and can be copyrighted once articulated and published. This is a practice and a well-ingrained rehearsal of resistance to collaboration, co-forming ideas, and thinking with others. In 2011. A study published in the Harvard Business Review found that teams with more women solve problems better. We can surmise that it's because women are socialized to think together and get the work done with less ego. Meanwhile, corporations are organizing better by deriving more wisdom from ideas that are connected non-linearly, often tangentially or off-tangent, and sometimes adversarially. It gives organizations a better systems-level view of variables that form an interconnected web, and see how the whole web shifts and moves. If corporations make more sense with diversity intelligence than churches, we are in danger. Corporations are organisms that subsume the human being to a mere variable in a self-preserving, self-perpetuating intelligent system. Conversation is their bloodline, money is their food. Analogously, let us (UU ministers and community ministers) examine how our organizations are behaving by keeping the conversation alive on self-examination, reflection, learning and praxis."
This is the description of the Facebook conversation group, "UU Leaders in Prophetic Work." Rev. Tet Gallardo is the minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Philippines.
This year has been uncommonly long, large and deep relating to the nature of truth.
For me, it is very personal.
For me as a spiritual leader, it is very universal.
How do we prepare to hear truth and speak truth?
What is a fact?
Why is direct experience a Thing?
When tragedies struck, did the first peoples sense it was coming? What did they do? Did they try to stop the flood? Did they have life jackets? If they did, how was it decided who would be saved first? By rank? I wonder how that turned out.
Long long ago before the interwebs, cars, and commerce, humans could sense a stampede of elephants too far off in the distance to see or hear; humans could feel when an avalanche was about to roll; dangers in the night were watched while the other eye slept. Humans didn't get a call ~ or a text ~ or a tweet ~ or an admirable sense of presence like a rock star.
They ran for their lives and took what they could carry. It was nothing small that made them run. It was something that actually could kill them.
By and by, thousands of years go by and our human brains keep going through yet another puberty.
But here's the thing, whenever we feel the slightest draft of discomfort, our danger-sensing mechanism in our gut is flipped on. There is no dial. It is on, or off. There is no gauge. The feeling of a word is distorted and we insist it's a spear. We lose our balance and we look for a drove of wild boars. We think the end is hear when it is the sound of a cliff falling.
We know that tidal waves happen and there is little we can do to prepare. It wasn't that long ago that a wild boar crashed through the walls of an airport into a crowd. The Old Man of the Mountain collapsed in 2003. Repeatedly we mourn the suffering of children and then run to the safety of fiction.
When we find ourselves in water that we don’t think we chose, swim like all life depended on it.
I am alert to the fact that public discourse on morals and values, previous directed so vehemently at our nation’s government, is finally making its way into my faith home at the institutional level.
I am hopeful that my faith will continue deep, courageous learning so the word and deed of faith are not only widespread but especially critically relevant (and discussable).
I am sober to the reality that I will learn the limitations of my own certainty and convictions. I have been in the fertile void before. It feels formless and without beauty.
I am grateful gifts of peace and insight that arrive through the mysteries of time and tide.
May we be the courageous ones to rearrange the furniture of our institutions into circles, not towers; into eco-systems, not ego-systems.
To My Facebook Friends,
This is not 'insider baseball talk.' That is a popular national pastime which involves paying a high ticket price to watch men play a game. Games are fun. For me baseball isn't fun and this isn't about baseball.
My institutional faith is in ideological conflict and emotional crisis right now. It is all about how who we are to function now based on the errors and sins of our own past. We have been thrust into confronting the institutional delivery system of a faith that claims a spirit of inclusive and empowering love for all.
It is not a new conversation when an institution and the leaders of that institution are called to reflect on and be true to their own sources of accountability and authority.
It is not an original conversation when an institution and the leaders of that institution are called to examine how their own tradition propagates an elite class that maintains power and control over the message and expressions of that faith.
This is not the first time a promise of “trickle down” economics turns out to be nothing but a delay tactic that solidifies the suppression of those who have not, are not, and could never have been at the table of prophetic voices who call the people to radical love and justice and teach what that looks like.
Change takes time, we remind each other. How long?
Patience, we urge. Why?
What venerated institutions are you a part of, or trying to be?
Inductive reasoning begins with
genuine curiosity and moves around
from observation of shapes, patterns,
movement, feel and more -- it's an
open process that moves in all
directions. It is a creative process that
implies being willing and able to think outside the
box of lines and ranking. Theories and models
result yet are not considered final or finite.
Take public benches, for example.
What reasoning approach do you think was used to create these -- deductive or inductive? Can it be that we simply begin by opening ourselves to curiosity?
What is the shape and your place in the structure of decision making and innovation?
This blog is one of my commitments to being woke -- putting my uncertainty and vulnerability out there in a democratized public place on behalf of others who don't have voice, time, safety or clarity....yet. I risk being ignored, scrutinized, minimized, patronized, rationalized, theorized, and of course criticized. Still, that risk is deeply relative and I still have privilege.
Divign Thinking, as a name, reflects what we can do to grow in our own self-leadership taking ourselves on a process of feeling/thinking/listening/asking/discerning/disrupting/creating/
collaborating and making meaning of what and who we are called to be.
When in doubt, I have to start at the beginning. When I discover that there is something I don't understand because I wasn't aware, I imagine being down for the count in weakness, sadness, powerlessness, hopelessness. I have been down for the count. Have you?
If you have, then you know like I do that what you were brought up to believe. It is never the whole truth. In fact many of us were confused/hurt/rebellious about what we were taught was right and wrong. And quietly, I say with fragility, what was often wrong was very wrong. What was often presented as truth was then negated by actions. Sometimes those actions were violent. And presently, I say with risk and humility, there is way too much that is still very, very wrong and violent that adults teach the children explicitly or by omission.
When asked why I blog, I ask, "why does anyone blog?"
When asked, "how do you know you're right about something?"
My answer is, "I don't. Since I only know my own experience, I am compelled and obligated to accept feedback and model learning with humility, curiosity and courage."
It is hard to receive feedback in a non-defensive way. It is hard to provide feedback in a non-defensive way.
If I have any clarity and confidence in my faith and values, I have come to be open to to the pain of my experiences and failures. I have a long way to go in reconciling pain I have caused and failures I have defended.
It's hard and sometimes rough, raw and real. It's an unearned gift to learn what I don't know, once again.
What do you do to reach towards wokeness?
I can barely use the word "recently" to describe an event in my community of lay and professional spiritual leadership. The Unitarian Universalist Association of congregations, represented by layers of "top leadership," are being called to rigorously and expediently, "...Commit To Translate our Values into Action." The call to action to sign A Declaration of Conscience is a call to "affirm our bold commitment." The wider UU world, however, was taking this more literally, and specifically.
Immediately I began asking questions of this Declaration of Conscience.
When I have such questions, I am sincere in wanting to collect the data and stories that prove or disprove bold statements. I did poll my immediate network of confidants and colleagues to ask these questions. The responses were non committal and full of resignation on the likelihood that our own association of congregations has the actual skill, motivation and humility to self-reflect on it's own demographics of identities of privileged positional power and authority.
I am grateful to have been a part of collecting signatures of individuals who serve (or have served) the ministry of religious education in our faith movement. The collected signatures accompanies a letter to the Board of Trustees that begins, "As religious professionals in Unitarian Universalism, we are writing with our deep, specific, and ongoing concerns about the impact of power structures in our association that further marginalize professionals within our faith."
In about 36 hours or less, nearly 150 signatures have been given, and counting.....
A careful but cursory scan shows that approximately 92% of the signatures are women.
Collecting the nearly 150 signatures has provide a exchange of stories that point to another concerning data point -- the frequency and nature of turnover in the positions of professional religious education. If we are to use the wisdom of the children and the most potent of questions....we ask:
Church of the Larger Fellowship: VUU on YouTube now (and later)