I am posting this on Saturday, June 6. I am now fully focused on the killing of George Floyd, the cycle of voices raised collectively in demonstrations and the range of responses too much from modes derived from the limited array of Standard Operating Procedures.
“Two Steps Back, None Forward?” I am stepping aside from the last blog on Religion Sector 3.0, “Two Steps Forward, None Back,” before moving to the promised next blog, “Exploring how this makes a difference.” That “difference” contains a critical aspect of how we find “Forward” in this current moment.
Monday, I shared one of the two Shakespeare lines I remember, because these are the two I have had the occasion to recite in public performance “There is a tide, which taken at the flood, leads to fortune.” This line came to me as I was watching various videos of people speaking up, individually and in small groups, affirming the core sentiments of the voices heard in the demonstrations.
Might this cycle bring an unprecedented level of a tide which leads to fortune?
These videos of people speaking up took place in cities scattered around the country and were aimed at moving the conversation above the inevitable noise around the demonstrations — The articulation of the issue, often followed by confrontations that take the focus. These were very articulate statements, each one heard by thousands of people throughout the nation, thanks to social media which made each one ever-present.
I am watching to see if there is a convergence of voices of people framing and reframing the issue and this sufficiently reported by the media.
The upcoming blog on Religion Sector 3.0, “How this makes a difference” will explore, with your welcome perspectives, the ways the innovation of the capacity to engage all clergy and every congregation in a region – city/county – collectively transforms the magnitude of the communal consciousness, the communal discourse and the communal direction “Forward.”
In every community, congregations, individually, are ubiquitous. (Eric Klinenberg – Palaces for the People). Religion Sector 3.0 delivers the unprecedented infrastructure which now can galvanize the benefit of their collective “ubiquitous-ness” in support of renewing community.
Congregations provide the framework for sustained discourse which collectively engages the voices of the full diversity of the community. This discourse can explore and put forth proposals which come out of exchanges reflecting the full spectrum of personal perspectives.
Today we lack the arena for communal discourse that is not conducted within the framework of self selecting subsets. We have, this week, heard the frustration of the never-ending experience of movement “Forward” seized by the forces of polarized factions.
It is ironic that when religions, commonly perceived of as the most contentious of factions, were approached with a different premise, and in the context of 21st century collaborative modes of organizational design, they responded enthusiastically to the opportunity for bonding across the spectrum. This is gave them the unprecedented and unexpected experience of joining together to collectively fulfill their common conviction, as clergy and as congregants – their belief in the core principles of both community and humanity.
This transformational breakthrough gains the collective assets of all congregations, each one encompassing:
- The most constituent based arena in every community,
- The greatest bandwidth of the community diversity – demographic, geographic and philosophical,
- The vast attendance, array and frequency of weekly gatherings,
- The voice of an acknowledged influential leader – the clergy,
- The ultimate in formal and informal communication – the origin of the historic phone tree 😊 – Now the contemporary website, email blasts, Facebook AND the generic “gossip” sustained by a continuity of relationships unlike anything else in our lives today. (Robert Putnam – Bowling Alone).
In the immediate terms of the focus of this week and what is hopefully the sustained undeterred focus, this is “how this makes a difference.”
Furthermore, individual congregations in the 21st century are predominately a microcosm of our communities – demographic, geographic and philosophical, as mentioned above, also economic, class, education, and so on. And yes, across the political spectrum – just ask a clergy person after certain sermons.
This is the available arena for structured discourse on a range of key communal issues, building on the current communal fervor, within individual congregations and among congregational geographic clusters. This is the collective Congregation Based Constituent Engagement (CBCE) not the ever present self selecting subsets of people. See my next blog for more on this dynamic.
We have heard repeated this week over and over again, the anguish and pleas of a Black person regarding what it is like to watch their children venture out each day into the world. And to wait for their safe return. And adults, when willing to acknowledge that this is what they feel when they venture into the world.
When a Black person goes out into the world, they know their race matters. Whether they are in a:
University or College
On the street…
They wonder, will the person who focuses on them as Black be a:
Doctor or Nurse
Most every congregation across the nation is composed of all these people and so many more.
Congregations offer the arena where we can have the real conversations and confront the reality of all of our lives. Each one of us, on the list above and everyone else, has something to say about how we see the world we struggle to navigate every single day.
It is only all of us engaged with each other that we have hope for “Two Steps Forward, None Back”
What’s Next: “Exploring how this makes a difference…”
Rabbi Jay Miller RELIGION SECTOR 3.0
1.0 On the Town Square 2.0 Walls of Separation
3.0 Alignment: Among Congregations – Within Society
rabbijaymiller.com firstname.lastname@example.org 650.740.4411