Friday, May 27, 2022

Across all of time


Look back, look ahead, and act now. Understand where you came from and how you got here, choose where you wish to go, and proceed. Learn from what has already happened to you and to others. Let your thoughts of the past give you inspiration, appreciation, caution, wisdom, and insight.

Then consider your intentions, your dreams, hopes, and goals for the future. Seek to understand how all you’ve learned and experienced can connect you with all you wish to experience. You reside right now within a powerful nexus between past and future. What you do today can lead to fulfillment of the potential that’s always been building in you.

Your opportunity in this moment is not merely of this moment. That opportunity encompasses all that has come before, what is yet to come, and what is right now in front of you. Impress upon yourself that the significance of what you do now is not just now but is spread across all of time. Then, with respect, humility, appreciation, and the highest expectations, give your very best to the moment.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Aligned with Life

“Unless religion leads us on a path to both depth and honesty, much religion is actually quite dangerous to the soul and to society.” --Richard Rohr

Below the tip of the iceberg and the cascading impact of demographic changes, beneath the crises and the collision of paradigms, lies a troubled soul.   

The metric for measuring a community’s soul and the degree to which they are thriving has little to do with the number of members or new ministries; it has everything to do with the spirit among the members and the meaning and purpose they ascribe to their lives.  We have a culture of community that either nurtures a desire for life or seduces an inclination toward death.

Thriving communities are a green space for growth. They use their power to empower others and enhance the world around them.  They build upon dreams, take risks, and work through conflict and tensions. They see problems as opportunities and view transformation as a collective endeavor.  They share the burdens of the present and focus their energy, time, and resources on a building a better tomorrow.

Dunn, Ted, Graced Crossroads: Pathways to Deep Change & Transformation, CSS Publications, 2020, pp. 124-143

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Transformative Visioning

“The future enters into us in order to transform itself in us long before it happens.”  --Rainer Maria Rilke

Transformative visioning is the dynamic element to create, articulate and activate a prophetic vision for the future.  What gives it its transformative potential however is not some grand vision we might create at the end of it all. Rather, it is what happens to us while we are creating it that makes all the difference.  Its power is not in a future that awaits us but in the sort of people we are becoming and the very purpose for our existence.  

It is a journey that seeks to transform the very soul of a community through holy and intimate conversations, loving and reconciling exchanges, and communal discernment of God’s call. The process is organic, emergent, and iterative. The challenge is to live with the ambiguity, be comfortable with experimentation, know when to slowed down and go deeper, and when to move on.

Those who are in key positions supporting the community as it exists today will be in tension with the new that is emerging. The current system needs to break down in order to break through to a new system. We will need maximal participation to capitalize on our pool of talent and to develop the ownership we will need for engendering a cooperative spirit.  The more members and partners involved in shaping the vision, the more creativity and wisdom will be generated.

Dunn, Ted, Graced Crossroads: Pathways to Deep Change & Transformation, CSS Publications, 2020, pp. 404-418

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Seek Synergy


“To let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen…to love with our whole hearts, even though there’s no guarantee…to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror…is to believe that we’re enough.”
  --Brené Brown

Everyone has the hard wiring for creativity and growth.  We simply need to reclaim it as important and provide the necessary training to harness its power. For a community to transform itself, it will need to harness the creativity and imagination of all its members.  It will need to raise its collective intelligence and not rely on an anointed few for insight and inspiration.

The community must unleash the diverse mixture of talents, passions, and viewpoints of individual members, and harness these into innovative and productive endeavors through creative abrasion, agility, and resolution. 

Creative abrasion is the capacity to share ideas through dialogue that amplifies differences rather than minimizes them because diversity and conflict are crucial for creativity.  Creative agility is the capacity to test and refine the diversity of ideas through quick pursuit, reflection, and adjustment, acting rather than planning the way into the future.  Creative resolution is the integration of any number of diverse, even opposing ideas into a new combination that produces a synergistic solution.

Dunn, Ted, Graced Crossroads: Pathways to Deep Change & Transformation, CSS Publications, 2020, pp. 385-390