Today was mind-blowingly awesome beyond any succinct description I can come up with right now. Irshad Manji and Robert Chase led a challenging discussion called “The Truth Teller’s Dilemma: Can Confrontation and Compassion Coexist?” (spoiler: yes). Marcus Borg talked about mysticism and the common cores in the Abrahamic faiths’ differing views of Jesus, invoked William James, and joked that Moses was a cross-dresser because he wore a veil to shield people from the light emanating from his face on the descent from Sinai. Valarie Kaur reinforced the age-old power of storytelling in her presentation “Storytelling + Advocacy = Social Change,” showing us how her documentaries share people’s stories in meaningful ways that have created concrete change in police brutality, prison policy, and interreligious relations. She also gave us Marshall Ganz’s formula for “telling your public story” as a tool for connection and change-making.
All of this was indescribably amazing. But for me, the most important thing that happened today was this 2-minute video:
That, my friends, is the essence of my street ministry idea in professionally-made digital media form. I came here with the question, “How do I get from where I am now to the Big Vision? What are my action steps?” Tomorrow, I am supposed to talk with Rev. Robert Chase, the founding director of Intersections International in NYC, about how he has lived the answers to those questions and created this dynamic, life-giving, bridge-building ministry. In other words, I don’t have to reinvent the wheel; it’s already in use. I only need to ask for guidance so we in Tulsa can adapt it to our own community’s needs.
Between that joyous serendipity, a rich conversation with Irshad about identity, integrity, authenticity, and self-care, and a mystical encounter with a random stranger/fellow seeker who bought me dinner in Greenwich Village, I can safely call this day a win. I’m going to sleep well tonight knowing that the path is unfolding beneath my feet, good works are happening all over this vast and troubled world, God is in the Heaven of the Here and Now, and all is right in this tiny, crucial moment.
Thank you again, community supporters, for sending me here. Your investment has already paid off in dividends – and we’re only halfway through the conference!