OK, we promised blogging about baptism… but I’m going to take an opportunity this week to reflect briefly on the National Conference on LGBT Equality Creating Change, held this year in Minneapolis. Of great interest to me is the “mini-conference” within the conference, known as Practice Spirit, Do Justice (PSDJ). This gathering is dedicated to teaching and sharing the skills for a multi-faith-based pro-LGBT movement that has strong alliances with secular movements.
I have always followed the progress of LGBT justice in various religious groups, but it was a new experience to have activists from all these different groups together, in one place. Each faith community brings its own unique strengths and limitations to the vision of full LGBT equality, but there are many points of connection. As a UCC person, I felt proud of our accomplishments and challenged to dream bigger about the future.
In one workshop, we talked a great deal about intercultural movement-building. When working with different groups of people, particularly various faith groups, it is important to remember:
- Shared meaning can not be assumed
- Shared meaning must be discovered, negotiated, created
I found myself thinking that this is an excellent bit of wisdom for congregational life as well. In a church, you have so many different people with their own stories, backgrounds, commitments, hopes… how do these various threads intertwine into a community? I think that’s one of the questions behind the Visioning Process we’re engaged in. We’re trying to do the intentional work of discovering, negotiating, and creating our shared meaning. This isn’t to say that shared meaning hasn’t been there before–most surely it has! But perhaps we’re trying to shed light on it in a different way–assuming less, listening more.
Speaking of listening… do sign up for a small group listening session! I can’t wait to hear your voice.