The following was written in response to a message from my Aunt and Uncle, Win and Ellis Standing.
Thanks for this interesting news, Aunt Win! Your ‘good news’ reminds me of the Biblical use of the term.
We had a Moral Mondays meeting yesterday, oriented at welcoming new people. The meeting started by showing the video I made of the march to the statehouse held when William Barber was in Indianapolis last September to launch Indiana Moral Mondays http://bit.ly/inmoralmondaysmarch
Evidently I’m getting more into the media business. After working with Glass Web Projects to produce the Keystone Resistance story http://bit.ly/keystoneresistance Derek Glass asked if I had another project in mind.
We’re pretty excited about the AFSC Small Group Social Change Ministry program. We had another meeting that about a dozen Friends attended last Thursday evening, which was the first time we followed the suggested agenda. That included someone sharing a spiritual practice, which this time was to reflect on the best thing, and the worst thing that happened that day. We also went over a sample Covenant, line by line (see below) to see how we might modify that for our group. Then someone shared their story, which was a great one but something I can’t share because the group decided to respect individual confidentiality. We did discuss and agree that it would be OK to share about the process of the meetings. Then the meeting purposely worshipped and shared related to that story. We were all pretty excited by how well the evening went–it really adds so much when we purposely look at things from different perspectives.
I shared this with Lucy Duncan “Wow, Jeff, so great to hear!” and Greg Elliott from AFSC ” Sounds like a great meeting. Thank you for keeping us in the loop. Looking forward to seeing this unfold. Blessings!”
Bear Creek might begin thinking about using this program, too. We might be able to adopt the ‘long distance query’ idea to work with this program–sharing our social concerns stories via conference calls, for example.
All along AFSC has mentioned that one of the possibilities for those meetings that pilot this program might be to share their experience with others as the program expands. So I thought this might be a good subject for another project with Derek and Glass Web Projects. He and I will be meeting about this next month.
I had not heard the John Mellencamp stories–thanks. I first heard his music when Randy Kisling played an album by John COUGAR when I visited him in Wisconsin many years ago. He always seemed like a very down to earth person and I like his music.
Be as fully present as possible, with your doubts, fears and failings as well as your joys and successes. When we offer attentive presence, we nurture love and respect.
Assume positive intent on the part of fellow participants.
Listen with resilience, “hanging in there” when hearing something that is hard to hear.
Refrain from interrupting others.
Set your own boundaries for personal sharing; ask yourself, “what parts of my life story, if any, am I comfortable sharing?” “Pass” or “pass for now”
if you are not ready or willing to respond to a question -no explanation required.
Speak personal truths in ways that respect other people’s truth. Speak using “I” statements, assuming others can deduce the meaning as it applies to them.
No fixing, no saving, no advising, and no setting each other straight. Avoid telling others how they should be. Ask questions from the standpoint of curiosity, rather than arguing or debating.
When the going gets rough, turn to wonder. If you feel judgmental, or defensive, ask yourself, “I wonder what brought her to this belief?” “I wonder what he’s feeling right now?” “I wonder what my reaction teaches me about myself?” Set aside judgment so you can listen to others-and to yourself-more deeply.
Observe deep confidentiality. Nothing said in this circle will ever be repeated to other people.
Commit to regular attendance.
*Adapted from Parker Palmer’s “Touchstones for Circles of Trust”