Saturday, September 20, 2008

Conversation Recap for September 14, 2008

Check ins. People are transitioning back into school, some into new employment, others are dealing with serious family health issues.

Intros of new people.

We heard Stephen P’s Story.

Discussion revolved around growing up in isolated privilege and coming to awareness of injustice and social inequality and the gifts that come with that awareness.

Dexter led us in a discussion around how we are progressing as a group. His summary of where we’ve come included the notions that
1. We are an intentional group
2. We are en engaged group

We are committed to this engagement in the sense that we embrace the challenge of embracing the challenge of staying together. When one of us “makes a mistake” and others call us on it, do we return the next week, gather ourselves and return the following week or lick our wounds and disappear?

Full engagement in each others lives is how we will move forward as well as finding the balance between spirituality and social justice. He reminded us that we are the only group of this kind anywhere in this community-not with this level of open membership.

Someone said that as one who is less comfortable with pursuing spirituality, they have personally benefitted from the discussions of Buddism and meditation.

Others cautioned that spirituality and religion can cause problems within an organization because everyone has a different idea about who/what God is.

Several said that religion and spirituality should not be used synonymously and that social justice work is spiritual work and fulfills that space for them.

One person mentioned trying to meet at 1pm on Sundays for awhile to see if that works better for folks who are attending church.

Others talked about how this group fulfills their spiritual needs.

One person talked about the consumptive appetites of so many religious traditions and not being willing to give all that one is to that tradition. But so many of us DO seek connectedness with other people and as this group grows and sustains itself, not having that consumptive appetite grow as well.

Another talked about how the diversity of spiritual traditions in our group means that we can all access wisdom and support from each other without it becoming something that we push on one another. We are spiritual and we are also free in that we accept each other’s spiritual diversity.

Friday night was offered as an option as well, being the end of the week. Another thought that there are people who would enjoy coming but not necessarily every week. Maybe the Sunday at 1 could be once a month, and those who are more committed could come every Sunday.

One person said that they get satisfaction form the group as it is, though some small changes could make the facilitation of discussions even better.

Another point made was that while religion and spirituality should not be heavily emphasized, we should not ever make any subject taboo as long as we keep our commitment to respectful discussion.

One person suggested that we each talk with those we know who have not been coming to get a feel for why. It may not always be about church conflicts.

Another point was about how people often are religious hypocrites-actions speak louder than words. Sometimes we have excuses for not coming that we just need to get over. Those of us that are here are those of us that will be here.

Dexter wrapped up by saying that there is no desire necessarily to make a campaign to “get anybody back” it’s more about sitting with an individual to make sure that we didn’t do anything as a group that felt like an injustice to them. We do operate as adults and people vote with their feet all the time.

The academic perspective that he brings is that we do need to hear “the other side” even if we do not agree so he will not be a member of the group that says it will only talk with democrats.

Another comment was about not needing to go out and recruit those with very different views, but welcoming and respecting those who come to us with differing viewpoints should be our goal.


SoJust has met it’s fundraising goal of $3,500. Lineup is ready, posters done. Anyone with suggestions for community organizations to table at SoJust, let Sonja or another SoJust committee member know.

MLK committee decided to go ahead again and partner with Associated Ministries as fiscal agent. Still need to identify honorees.

Elizabeth Wesley Youth Merit Incentive Awards Celebration
1PM on Sat. Sept. 20th at Clover Park Technical College Sharon McGavick Center

Achievement Gap Summit II on Oct. 18th at UPS

Tacoma Civil Rights Project exhibit is on display at the Washington History Museum until Dec. 7th

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