In ‘63 Life Magazine ran a feature article on A. Philip Randolph and Rustin about the March on Washington (8/28/63) which they organized. King and others were worried about Rustin, who was gay, being in the spotlight because he was too much of a “vulnerability.” The “Big Six” chose to make A. Philip Randolph the director of the march. Randolph in turn accepted only on the grounds that he could determine his own staff and made Rustin his deputy. John Lewis said of Rustin during this time, “This is going to be a massively complex undertaking, and there was no one more able to pull it together than Bayard Rustin.” (Time on Two Crosses, XXIX). In reading more about Rustin’s life, I am intrigued by the ways he as a Quaker maneuvered both a racist and homophobic society, while remaining very politically active.
One question I’m getting a lot is about what is my responsibility at Guilford College and what are the things I’d like to see happen. I waffle on both of these fronts. One is because at least some of my responsibilities are still unfolding and being discerned. Others are hard to describe or I’m still learning what they are. Stepping into a role that has been carefully tended to and built over more than 30 years requires more sense of call and self than I first realized. So with the help of many others, I am asking questions like: What is my work to do? What is to be laid down? What is to be shared? What do I desire to bring to the table that is not yet here?
In terms of vision there is a tension between wanting to have something invigorating to offer, “here is my grandiose vision for what comes next,” and realizing the need to just listen and be a good sponge for a year or more. It is easy for leaders to come in and have a vision for the future without having any sense of the current gifts, or a sense of the history and roots that are buried under the soil of the community. And so I am, with the help of others, feeling my way between these two overlapping circles: learning what is here to build upon and discerning what it is exactly that we’re being called to build.
My friend and colleague, Deborah Shaw, who is the director of the Quaker Leadership Scholars Program, offered this bit of wisdom to me that has helped to focus all of this even more:
“Know on whose shoulders we stand.” Continue reading Know On Whose Shoulders We Stand
This is the message I brought to New Garden Friends Meeting on August 30th, 2015.
I hope, in the time that we have together, to begin to open up a terrain for all of us in the face of three critical transitions that this NGFM is facing:
- The pastoral transition of Margaret Webb and family
- The leadership transition of Max Carter from Friends Center director
- The community transition in the fact that you’ve been expelled from your Yearly Meeting.
I want to approach this topic of transition by looking at the Exodus 14 and the Hebrew people’s Flight from Egypt and crossing over the Red Sea.
I see the Hebrews’ crossing the Red Sea as a metaphor for what it means for the people of God to face the tragic reality of what it means to remain faithful in the face of change.
Or another way to put this is:
The Red Sea signifies a deeply transformative experience for those who pass through and learn how to embrace change as an opening, rather than an obstacle, for growth.
In moments of great transition and change, such as you are facing, there is no guarantee that we will learn, and grow from these events. For some, what you face may become an obstacle to growth, but in our desire to pursue wholeness, let’s commit to seeing all of these things as openings or opportunities for greater depth of presence, prayer, and commitment to communal listening. Continue reading Obstacles and Opportunities in the Red Sea of Transition (Ex. 14)
Here is a bit of what we did today as a farewell to our ministry at Camas Friends Church.
“Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved…
Rejoice [Farewell] in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice [Farewell]. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you…
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” -Philippians 3:21–4:13 Continue reading And today, I say farewell to my beloved church
This is my last prepared message given to Camas Friends Church (June 21, 2015).
“Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:5–6 NRSV)
The Power of Origin Stories
For a moment, I want you to think about the power of origin stories. Origin stories are birth stories, but often applied to how a certain comic book character became a superhero (Wikipedia). Continue reading Origin Stories and Midwives of the Spirit (John 3)
Instead of doing the last three chapters separately, I want to share the complete “Sketchnote Companion and Discussion Guide” here.
Feel free to share and dispense however that makes sense as usual things are shared here under the creative commons 4.0 “share and share alike” designation.
Download Complete Guides
We are doing a discussion at Camas Friends Church on my book, “A Convergent Model of Renewal.” This week is chapter three, which covers what we can learn from participatory culture.
I am posting the sketchnotes and discussion questions here each week for anyone who would like to download them and use them. Feel free to share and dispense however that makes sense as usual things are shared here under the creative commons 4.0 “share and share alike” designation. Continue reading Convergent Model of Renewal: Discussion Guide and Sketchnotes (Chapter 3)