Leading Edge 2014 Day 4 and MountainTop 2014: Wrapping Up and Reaching Out

Today, we wrapped up the Leading Edge 2014 Conference, then spent the rest of the day at MountainTop 2014: Putting Spirituality into Practice, an event that Auburn Seminary put on for leaders “with a stake in building the multifaith movement for justice.”

The day started with a session on Conflict and Healing in Faith Communities by John Janka, and closed with “The Leader’s Journey: Coming to Yourself,” an activity with Elizabeth Lesser of the Omega Institute  in which she asked us to write six-word memoirs for our personal and spiritual work (the latter, for me, was “Transcending divisions in self and world”).  After closing the conference with a short spiritual reflection, including a laughing meditation, the MountainTop workshop began.  We went very deep, very fast, and had the privilege of engaging with spiritual social justice leaders from all over the country (one came in from Honolulu just for the half-day event!) about how our personal practices inform the work we do in the world.  I learned a beautiful calling-of-the-elements meditation from Valarie Kaur, and, with a small group of fascinating people, created a 5-minute presentation on how spirituality and sexuality come together in social justice.

Also, on my lunch break, I had the pleasure of talking with (actually, mostly listening to, at my own request) Rev. Bob Chase of Intersections International, who spoke on Sunday, about the commonalities between his work and my vision.  I came away from the conversation with a clear idea of where the vision meets practical application, and the beginnings of what that reality will look like.  (Hint: it’s starting to look like  a hybrid of interfaith nonprofit and community ministry.  More on where the rubber meets the road later.)

I’ve taken in more than I can distill into a blog post, so while I digest it all and reflect, I’ll leave you with some quotations from the day, some of which I tweeted.  These should give you a rough sketch of this rich, fulfilling day.

“Once a conflict issue arises, it can quickly be eclipsed as an issue by people reacting to one another.” ~John Janka

“Everyone needs to be able to tell their story in a safe space. This means they need to agrees on some ground rules for having those discussions… And as soon as they begin to tell their stories, healing has already started.” ~John Janka

“[If a colleague is exhibiting dysfunctional behavior,] they need help.  Resistance to looking at how to get healthier is surely going to lead their demise.”  ~John Janka

Get so comfortable in your skin that you no longer have to do leadership – you can just be it.”  ~Elizabeth Lesser

“We need to examine our own family system as an organization.” ~Elizabeth Lesser

“Showing up fully with whoever and whatever is in front of you right now has the potential to change the world.” ~Elizabeth Lesser

“How dare we try to save the world at the demise of our own soul’s journey.” ~Fred Johnson, at MountainTop

“Sexuality is the divine invitation to find our destinies not in loneliness, but in deep connection.” ~Sexuality group paraphrasing writers Jim Nelson & Sandra Longfellow

“Your personal story shatters the framework of assumptions and opens the door for real connection.” ~ Unknown MountainTop participant

And, finally, my favorite, originally said yesterday and repeated as a benediction this evening:

“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for to heal the world.” ~Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis

Thank you again, my beloved community, for sending me on this journey.  Your investment will pay off in dividends, and I will keep you posted of it here.




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