"Collaboration is when you are not going into a meeting to show what you know, but going into a meeting to show what you don't know yet." - Bevin Bell-Hall, puppeteer
This could also be described as an attitude of unknowing. When we listen to people to form a response, then we are not truly listening. When we listen to learn, we enter into a mutual agreement that uplifts all.
In peacemaking circles,* often the parties that are interacting with one another are at entirely different parts of their journeys. The person-who-did-harm and the harmed-one may not be at a place where they can sit together without their own brokenness hurting the other people in the circle. In those cases, rather than leaving either party behind, I would suggest that each party have their own circles until such a time that they can unite and repair the breach between them. I think that would be the peacemaking way. It is also the time-consuming, hard way. Of course, the parties have to want to work towards healing. This also means they need to recognize that they have done harm or have been harmed.
It is hard to see yourself as a victim in need of healing. It is hard to see yourself as a perpetrator of harm. Nobody likes these labels. In the broader scheme of our national identity, racism, sexism, transphobia, and homophobia, it becomes even harder because some people say, "I see all people the same." And then they support policies and politicians that make it harder to exist. They don't acknowledge the cry that is, "Please just see me." If we truly saw each other. Listened to each other. Healed with each other. We would be in a different place. If we could see the person in front of us as a whole person that fits into a system that goes towards healing for all, then we could say, "Your life matters." In order to do that, they would have to admit that they do harm. Are an oppressor. Come from a system of oppression. That is work harder than a march in the streets.
This is the failure of our religious institutions and largely the Christian Church in the United States. Yes, I'm raggin' on the church this week. It is the system that I am intimately familiar with and love. And if we can't critique our own systems, then we should not be willy nilly critiquing other folks' systems.
Anyhoo...the failure of our church institutions. Until recent years, the church and the USA have walked hand-in-hand together. Proudly. That is where the nationalism and patriotism and idolatry of the church has grown. The church has identified with creating an idealized version of society while holding apart healing. Women have been told to stay in abusive relationships because that is their place (and this still happens). Couples have been told to not marry because they were not of the same ethnicity (this still happens). And lovers have been told not to marry because they were not of the right gender (this still happens.) This still happens. Good grief. It still happens.
What if the church, as an institution that has been shadowing the growth of the US, stood apart and declared itself a place of healing? That embraced the victim and the oppressor? That held them in healing until they could come together? That said to each life, "You matter!" And then brought them together to say, "We matter. Together. We matter."
Well, I suppose I dream a dead dream. Sometimes it feels that way.
And so it falls on the shoulders of those of us with eyes to see and ears to hear.
Listen to each other.
Listen with love, in your heart.
Peace with listening, in your heart.
Love with justice, in your heart.
Justice with mercy, in your heart.
Mercy that listens, in your heart.
Peacemaking Circles are certainly one way to offer this healing to one another. Only in that it embraces these principles. Find the way that brings healing. That creates "communities of peace where everyone belongs and matters."*
What will you hear today?
Peacemaking Circles come to me via Saroeum Phoung who was taught by the Tagish Tlingit people. It is a tradition very similar to group Spiritual Direction.
King County Peacemaking Coordinating Team vision: Creating communities of peace where everyone belongs and matters.
Let my heart rise up to meet mercy, my voice to meet compassion, my hands to meet action.
BIBOLOVE: Breath In, Breath Out--roar!
Jewish Daily Reading: Daily Study from Chabad
Christian Daily Reading: Revised Common Lectionary Daily Reading
Muslim Daily Reading: Daily Verse from The Only Quran
Buddhist Daily Reading: Daily Zen
Please bring your own sacred readings to the daily pattern. If there is something else you'd like to see, please share!
“Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply. When we listen with curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what’s behind the words.”
― Roy T. Bennett,
Weekly prayer focus comes from the World Council of Churches prayer cycle. We know the world needs to be surrounded with prayer and positive thought. This allows us to work through the world country by country. We focus on one set of countries per week with the same prayer, lifting them up. I encourage you to fill this in however you see it.
Let us pray.
We know that we fail to live up to being makers of peace. Let us bring in rather than push out, be invitational rather than confrontational--seeing signs of life while decrying the desecration of hope.
For the countries of Sudan, South Sudan, and Uganda. For the countries of ________________________
For signs of hope and peace, we pray for ________________________
For the oppressed and weary, we pray for ________________________
For those we love, those we hate and those we are indifferent to
For the transformation from ME to WE
Let peace prevail on earth.
So may it be.
Translation by Neil Douglas Klotz, Sufi
O Birther! Creator of the Cosmos,
Focus your light within us— make it useful:
Create your reign of unity now-
Your one desire then acts with ours,
as in all light, so in all forms.
Grant what we need each day in bread and insight.
Loose the cords of mistakes binding us,
as we release the strands we hold of others’ guilt.
Don’t let surface things delude us,
But free us from what holds us back.
From you is born all ruling will,
the power and the life to do,
the song that beautifies all,
from age to age it renews.
Truly— power to these statements—
may they be the ground from which all
my actions grow: Amen.