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On Transformation and Movements

Welcome to week three of Thirty Days of Love 2017. We hope you find these resources and reflections of use to the work you do from your congregation to your community and beyond.

Click here for the downloadable companion worksheet on transformation and movements. Once you’ve done that, consider checking out a video from our Organizing on the Side of Love online course on consciousness and intersectionality you can find here. Lastly, in case you missed it check out the Thirty Days of Love 2017: All Ages Activity Calendar by Rev. Marisol Caballero.

Last week we wrote a message about covenant, about how covenant is not easy. This week we are writing about transformation. 

The simplest news about transformation seems self-explanatory, but it is the part that we often understand 'rationally' but cannot absorb. It is this: when we transform, we are not who we were before. We have to let go of who that person was, how we move in the world, how we respond to what we encounter. It is indeed an iterative, ongoing process.

The political moment in this country is crying out for us to transform. Many of us feel we thought we knew what was being asked of us before Election Day 2016: we thought we had a sense of our role, our place. 

Many of us thought to ourselves before that day: "I go here or there. I do this. I work with my congregation. I protest. I organize. I give my time. I do good stuff in my neighborhood. I am a good parent. I am a good daughter, son, child, descendent. I do my part." In the aftermath, so many of us have had different reactions. But, very few of those thought (as we have watched and resisted massive erosion of the rights, dignity, and safety of Muslims, undocumented people, activists, LGBTQ communities): "I will stay the same now. I will do what I have done before. I will continue as I was." 

Many of us feel the urge to do more, resist more, build more, and act more. That does not always mean that we know how. Transformation requires our hearty participation, and also our letting go. In this moment, some of it starts with acknowledging that no one who shares our values really feels that they know what to do. I have said often in the past few weeks that all the people I respect the most are willing to admit that they do not have the perfect, one size fits all "answer" but they are also willing to grow into the leaders the moment calls for. 

When we transform, we let go of things we thought we would hold on to forever. We do things that we thought we never would. We are often uncomfortable. At times, we feel the transformation will never happen: times moves so slow. Other times, things change all at once. 

We are in a time when millions of people are seeking to be engaged in justice-loving social change work. Our congregations, our communities, and our organizations will need to transform in order to absorb and respond. We need to transform beyond egos, individuals, and our stuck ideas about thinking we have the corner on answers. What we do know for sure is that if we are focusing our energy on the future and reflecting on how this time will be looked back at in the future, most of us want to be able to tell our faith communities, our families, and our people that we were willing to transform to meet the moment. That we did not let the shape of who we had been before and what we had done keep us from transforming into who we need to be now.

In faith and solidarity,

Caitlin Breedlove

Campaign Director, Standing on the Side of Love