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Washington island friday


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  • 1. we need a theology of institutions, movements. and Communities
  • 2. Three possible futures: Continuing contraction Conservative resurgence Pregnancy
  • 3. Three possible futures: Continuing contraction - Shrinking numbers - Wrinkling members - Low retention - Low evangelization - Constrained leadership - Secure finances
  • 4. Three possible futures: Conservative resurgence - Immigration fears - Western domination - Terrorism fears/revenge - Playing to bases - New alliances (global, ecumenical)
  • 5. Three possible futures: Pregnancy - Theological reformation - Missional reorientation - Post-national, post-partisan identity/ethos - Spiritual-social movement (Peace, planet, poverty) - New alliances (global, ecumenical)
  • 6. we need a theology of institutions, movements. and Communities
  • 7. Communities Families, individuals, and organizations linked to a common environment, collaborating for the common good.
  • 8. Institutions: Organizations which conserve the gains made by past social movements.
  • 9. Social Movements Organizations which make proposals or demands to current institutions to make progress towards new gains.
  • 10. Both movements and institutions... Organize for their purpose Need one another Are frustrated with one another Benefit or harm communities
  • 11. Without movements ... Institutions stagnate ... Without institutions ... Movements evaporate ...
  • 12. Some movements successfully inject their values into the institutions they challenge Other movements create their own institutions, or pass away
  • 13. Vital movements call people to passionate, sacrificial personal commitment Sustainable institutions create loyalty across generations through evocative rituals & traditions
  • 14. Parker Palmer’s 4 stages of social change 1. Divided no more 2. Communities of congruence 3. Going public 4. Alternative Rewards
  • 15. From Greg Leffel Faith Seeking Action: Mission and Social Movements
  • 16. Movements unite people to create or resist change. Through them, individuals seek a common voice to challenge, social, political, economic and cultural powers; movements, in fact, multiply the power of individual action through their unique form of collective, non-institutional power. (47-48) Social movements are non-institutionally organized human collectives, that put meaningful ideas in play in public settings, that actively confront existing powers through the strength of their numbers and the influence of their ideas, and that grow in size and power by inspiring others to act, in order to create or resist change (48) A movement is “a segmented, usually polycephalus cellular organization composed of unites networked by various personal, structural, and ideological ties. (50)
  • 17. It takes collective, non-institutional (or prophetic) power to bring change to institutions. You can’t change the center/inside/priestly without proposals and pressure from the margins/outside/prophetic.
  • 18. Movements are diagnostic, prognostic, and motivational (51) - They say what’s wrong - They say what’s needed - They motivate and mobilize for concerted action.
  • 19. Movements are context dependent. In certain periods, fundamental contradictions in a society’s core understanding of itself create the possibility of widespread and socially disruptive change. (52) Movements exploit opportunity: 1. An active interest among elites in changing the political structure 2. Conflicts or corruption within elites 3. Events that weaken established social control (war, disaster, economic collapse)
  • 20. Leffel’s 6 Characteristics of Vibrant Social Movements
  • 21. 1. Opportunity Structure (Context Awareness) Current restraining realities ... in tension with ... emerging opportunities.
  • 22. Opportunities: - Problems needing to be solved - Elites who hold power, resist change or promote negative change - Fissures, Problems among elites that make the status quo vulnerable - Values of the movement in conflict with values of elites - Potential advocates and allies in academic, civil society, arts, church, government, business, science, etc.
  • 23. 2. Rhetorical Framing/Conceptual Architecture Movement leaders have to make a conceptual and verbal case for their movement by answering questions like these: How do we redefine reality? How do we disrupt or change current realities? How do we name our grievances? Articulate our positive vision for the way forward? How do we motivate and sustain dissatisfaction with the status quo, and affection for our shared vision? How do we justify our aims in terms of 5 lines of moral argument (Jonathan Haidt): justice, compassion, tradition, loyalty, and purity? How is the movement liberating? (liberal) How is the movement conserving? (conservative)
  • 24. 3. Protest (messaging) strategy Raising awareness, attracting growing numbers of participants Campaigns, tactics, deployments, making demands, public relations, sustaining conflict, forcing a crisis, managing internal tensions, managing stigmatization, showing results, maintaining momentum, not overreacting, defining acceptable level of disruption, - Gaining attention - demonstrations, sit-ins, teach-ins, etc. - Building Networks of Participants and Allies - Wisely Identifying and Engaging Opponents Movements must be convergent (creating broad, vigorous alliances) and insurgent (confronting real problems upheld by elites and the systems that privilege them).
  • 25. 4. Mobilization Structures & Strategies - Authority and Decision-Making Structures - Transparency/Confidentiality, Communication Plans - Leadership development, Relational Development, Conflict Management Plans - Coalition development - Resource, Technology, Finance Mobilization and Management - Evangelism, recruitment, induction - Renewal and Increase of commitment - Awareness of levels of commitment (core, activists, supporters, listeners, opposition, indirect impact, unaware
  • 26. 4. Mobilization Structures & Strategies Jesus and the 12 - Intense time of modeling, relationship building and vision sharing - Contagious passion - Periodic sending and returning - Final sending/Succession insured - Warnings of expected trials, failures, conflicts - “Polycephalic” structure - connection without control - Self-organizing units - Welcoming of new leaders (Paul) - Reproducible expansion - Both individual agency and group agency (Paul, Philip, Antioch) - Both planning and spontaneity
  • 27. 5. Movement Culture “Movements are about changing a society’s lifeway; a movement itself becomes an experimental field where a new way of life can be, to some degree, experienced and where the movement’s ideals, values and common vision are put to the test.” (61)
  • 28. 5. Movement culture - Emotional vibe (fun, serious, angry, playful, heady, gutsy, etc.) - Feel of spaces, physical and digital - Songs, slogans - Virtues, values, moral ethos - Dress, Graphics, - Nicknames, terminology - Emotion, motivation, motion
  • 29. 6. Participant Biography How does involvement benefit - or harm - participants? How does the movement promote emotional and social sustainability ... avoiding burnout, squabbles, etc. How does it contribute to personal formation: - character - attitudes - knowledge - recovery from trauma - relationships - renewal What do participants gain from being involved?
  • 30. 1. Opportunity Structure 2. Rhetorical framing 3. Protest (messaging) strategy 4. Mobilization strategy 5. Movement culture 6. Participant Biography
  • 31. Jesus says the kingdom of God is like gardening (an organic movement) not warfare (institutional action): It spreads through seeds ... sown into systems to grow. The seeds of the message. The seeds of people who personally embody the message. The seeds of communities who socially embody the message.
  • 32. Jesus seizes the opportunity structure provided by conflicted elites (Pharisees/Sadducees; Herodians/Zealots) and struggling masses (Galilee/Judea)
  • 33. He provides rhetorical framing on hillsides, in houses, on retreats, in public teach-ins, in debates, through parables, through rituals and practices. He repeats key themes - commonwealth of God, life to the full, life of the ages, liberation - rooted in dynamic tension with tradition.
  • 34. His protest (messaging) strategy includes public demonstrations (healings & miracles), teach-ins (sermon on mount), civil disobedience (turning tables), guerilla theatre (exorcisms), festivals (feasts & feedings), naming evil (woes), naming heroes (blessings).
  • 35. He develops a mobilization strategy based on 3, 12, 70, and multitudes. He entrusts freely with responsibility and expresses high confidence in his agents (greater things shall you do ...)
  • 36. He associates his movement culture with love, joy, justice, risk, hope, creativity, courage, service, willingness to suffer, nonviolence.
  • 37. He provides his disciples challenge, rest, retreat, encouragement, recovery after failures. They testify that their participant biographies have been forever changed for the better.
  • 38. we need a theology of Communities, institutions and movements
  • 39. What spiritual movement is trying to be born among us today? What are its demands/proposals? What role might we play in its emergence?
  • 40. Movements move with the Holy Spirit.
  • 41. movement proposals/ demands demands demands
  • 42. The Audience Question: To the churches? With the churches, to the world? To the churches and the world?
  • 43. 1. The Bible: In light of how the Bible has been abused in the past and present, we know that we need a new way of describing what the Bible is, how it reached its current form, how we should interpret and teach it (especially to children and youth), etc. 2. The Church: A vision of integral missional prompts us to challenge the church in many ways - moving beyond preoccupation with its own institutional maintenance towards forming Christ-like people who become a blessing to the larger community, and thus embody the message we proclaim.
  • 44. 3. The Poor: The growing gap between rich and poor calls for a multi-faceted partnership that expresses compassion, seeks justice, confronts exploitation and marginalization, and creates opportunity, especially in a global economy. 4. The Planet: The environmental crisis must evoke from us proposals that will benefit the birds of the air, the flowers of the field, and the ecosystems that maintain them, so that followers of Christ will pioneer a new lifestyle and help create the regenerative economy the planet needs. 5. Pluralism: To love our neighbors in today’s world means to learn to appreciate our neighbors’ diverse religions. We must propose new ways of encountering the other that provide alternatives to both combative fundamentalism and combative atheism. 6. Peace: After two thousand years, it is time for the Christian faith to distinguish itself not just by advocating for war with less injustice, but by proclaiming an attainable ideal of peace, along with equipping Christians as practical peacemakers.
  • 45. 7. Equality: Women and men, gay and straight, minority and majority, alien and native-born, unbeliever and believer, occupied and occupier, one percent and ninety-nine percent - our world is torn by divisions that put some in a position of of privilege and power, and others in a position of disadvantage and danger. Sadly, our churches are often laggards, not leaders, in confronting prejudice and standing for the dignity and equality of all people. 8. Families, Women, and Children: Families face multiple challenges today, including greed-based economies that corrode humane values, exploitive entertainment industries that undermine human dignity, and patriarchal religious systems that reward a crude form of masculinity. We must challenge churches to propose and embody family life that can overcome these challenges.
  • 46. 9. Business/Economics: We must challenge business and economic leaders to create new forms of business that seek a triple bottom line - lasting social, environmental, and economic benefit, not just maximized short-term profit. In a world of rising population and increasing mechanization, we must also challenge business leaders to seek to maximize employment along with profit, and to discover new ways to reduce economic inequality by expanding opportunity. 10. Personal Dimensions: In what way must those who articulate demands like these make demands on themselves? And how can those demanding practices be sustainable and life-giving rather than burdensome and restrictive?
  • 47. Symeon the New Theologian (949-1022), a saint and mystic, wrote some words that point beautifully to this new force field, that we call the Body of Christ. We awaken in Christ’s body, As Christ awakens our bodies. There I look down and my poor hand is Christ, He enters my foot and is infinitely me. I move my hand and wonderfully My hand becomes Christ, Becomes all of Him. I move my foot and at once He appears in a flash of lightning. Do my words seem blasphemous to you? —Then open your heart to him. And let yourself receive the one Who is opening to you so deeply. For if we genuinely love Him, We wake up inside Christ’s body Where all our body all over, Every most hidden part of it, Is realized in joy as Him, And He makes us utterly real. And everything that is hurt, everything That seemed to us dark, harsh, shameful, maimed, ugly, irreparably damaged Is in Him transformed. And in Him, recognized as whole, as lovely. And radiant in His light, We awaken as the beloved In every last part of our body. From Things Hidden, pp. 219-220