“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”
– Alice Walker
As people of faith drawing inspiration from ecology, progressive Christian faith, recovery movements, and grassroots relational organizing, we seek recovery to right-relationship with God and the spiritual/relational power God offers. We see God’s power of love being enacted as compassion and justice through us for the sake of the world. We call this “leadership.”
To support ourselves and our faith communities in taking courageous public action for the recovery of human life and the healing of God’s creation, we engage in the following practices:
1) ACCESS Spiritual Power: Consciously connect with the indwelling God to rediscover our belovedness, our God-given power, and our place within God’s evolving universe.
Personal: We acknowledge and name the destructive powers we experience in our lives, and seek the God of love, whose life-giving power is accessible through our embodied experience in creation.
Interpersonal: We acknowledge the ways we isolate ourselves and objectify others, and instead access the power of love by awakening to God’s indwelling presence in the people and other members of God’s creation we encounter.
Faith Community: We acknowledge the ways we have allowed our Scriptures and traditions to be misused as weapons against many, and instead access the power of the God of love to reclaim the rituals and resources of our faiths to honor human dignity and the integrity of creation.
Public Sphere: We acknowledge our collective failures in acting for justice, and instead access the power of the indwelling God of love, who works through public efforts to advance human and environmental justice.
2) DEVELOP Relationships: Consciously awaken the power-among that arises when we engage in authentic conversation and relationship.
Personal: We develop a compassionate relationship with our powerful yet limited selves as beloved by the indwelling God, and deeply connected to all other powerful yet limited beings.
Interpersonal: We develop relationships with other peoples, lands, and creatures, discovering our respective interests, and seeking to see the world from other points of view.
Faith Community: We disrupt the culture of isolation by developing relational cultures within and among diverse human communities, and between those communities and the natural world.
Public Sphere: We develop relationships of accountability between diverse human communities and public leaders, for the sake of restoring public commitment to the common good and the community of creation.
3) DISCOVER our Stories: Consciously recognize the power of God’s presence at work within our lived experience, the lives of others, and the stories of the places we live.
Personal: We discover the power of our own stories, and the ways our stories have been shaped by the land as well as our cultures, economies, religious traditions, political systems, and personal and collective histories.
Interpersonal: We discover the transformative power of our stories by sharing our stories with others, and inviting others to share their stories with us, paying special attention to peoples and creatures whose stories have been silenced.
Faith Community: We discover common interests and the public dimensions of our stories through organized, focused listening seasons within and between our communities.
Public Sphere: We discover our collective power by sharing our stories in the public arena to develop as community leaders and advance human and environmental justice.
4) MENTOR One Another: Consciously draw out the gifts, wisdom and life-giving power of others, and share our own, by mentoring and being mentored.
Personal: Recognizing the deeply relational nature of the universe, we acknowledge our need for mentors from the whole community of creation for the sake of own development as leaders.
Interpersonal: We are mentored by and mentor others, naming the gifts we recognize in one another, and inviting and extending constructive feedback for the sake of our mutual leadership development.
Faith Community: We seek to develop mentoring relationships and a culture of mutual-mentoring within all of our communities.
Public Sphere: We seek out experienced leaders of public actions to mentor, challenge and teach us as we learn to express our power in the public arena.
5) ACT together: Consciously engage the power of collective action, in the service of God’s healing and justice-seeking work for human communities and the whole creation.
Personal: We discern our unique call to participate with others in organized actions, for the sake of mending the brokenness in our communities, and restoring our connection to the places we live.
Interpersonal: As we recognize our deep interconnectedness with earth and diverse human communities, we identify our mutual interests, and we invite those close to us to join us in acting on those common interests.
Faith Community: We nurture relational cultures, identifying common interests and public issues affecting our communities, so that we are ready to act together to promote justice and healing for the whole community of creation.
Public Sphere: We join or develop community organizing efforts, through which we identify mutual interests, research issues, conduct power analyses and act together to promote greater justice for human communities and the community of creation.
6) REFLECT on our Actions: Consciously reflect upon and evaluate our actions and the ways we use power, in order to learn and grow into mature and courageous leaders.
Personal: We evaluate our actions and the ways we use or experience power, integrating what each experience has to teach us, by regularly reflecting, praying, and/or spending time in conscious relationship with the natural world.
Interpersonal: We reflect with others on our actions, as well as our experience and use of power, gaining wisdom from diverse perspectives, and learning from one another.
Faith Community: We create a culture of reflection and evaluation within our communities, regularly assessing power dynamics, and learning from our gatherings and actions, in order to mature as leaders and communities.
Public Sphere: We collectively reflect on and evaluate the power dynamics of all public actions, including their impact on relationship development, leadership capacity, public systems, marginalized communities and the natural world.
7) RESTORE Balance: Consciously re-align our lives with the sacred and natural rhythms of Life expressed through the whole of God’s creation.
Personal: We restore our bodies and spirits, practicing Sabbath and regaining a balance of work and rest, as modeled in Scripture and creation.
Interpersonal: We receive and offer support to one another as we seek to practice healthy rhythms and restore balance in our lives.
Faith Community: We incorporate Sabbath practices into the culture of our communities, honoring the limits of both human and earth’s capacity, and our need for restoration.
Public Sphere: We intentionally practice healthy cycles of public engagement, participating in organized actions while also taking time to celebrate, grieve, and restore our energy, in keeping with the Sabbath rhythms of the God of creation.