Louis Bohté, onze vorige voorzitter, schrijft ons vanuit Bethlehem
 

Beste mensen,

Vrede en alle Goeds.

Bethlehem, 20 juni 2010

 foto's

Van de week heb ik een nieuw hoofdstuk aan mijn verblijf hier in Bethlehem toegevoegd. Tijdens het wereldkampioenschap voetbal is er een groot doek op het Kribbeplein geplaatst, waarop ’s avonds naar een wedstrijd gekeken wordt. Maandagavond keek ik naar de eerste helft van Italië – Paraguay. Op een gegeven moment kwam mijn vriend Saïed langs, die tegen mij zei, dat binnen een paar minuten een goal zou vallen. Hij is een fan van Italië. Ik zei onmiddellijk: voor Paraguay. Zo geschiedde.

Toen het pauze was, wilde ik naar huis gaan. Op de hoek van het Kribbeplein waren enkele jongens met elkaar aan het ravotten. Op een gegeven moment tackelde een van hen, Ibrahim, een ander, die vervolgens hard begon te brullen. Ik was niet onder de indruk, want volgens mij was het theater. Ik was immers vlak in de buurt. Maar een agent vatte het heel serieus op en riep een andere agent erbij. Samen brachten ze hem naar een politiebureau op ongeveer 20 meter afstand. Ik vertrouwde het niet en liep achter hen aan. Toen ik vlak bij de ingang was gekomen en zij al binnen waren, hoorde ik hoe Ibrahim hard geslagen werd. Ik ging naar binnen en zag hem flink huilen. Ik ging naar hem toe en vervolgens ging ik naast hem zitten. Er zat een ander kind, dat spoedig weg mocht.

Een agent begon tegen mij in het Arabisch te praten en ik antwoordde in het Engels. De man was in verwarring. Toen nam een andere agent het gesprek over. Ik vertelde, dat ik zag wat er gebeurd was en dat er niets aan de hand was. Ik vertelde, dat ik hoorde hoe een van de agenten Ibrahim sloeg en zei, dat dit verboden was. Ik heb dit een paar keer met nadruk herhaald.

Ik kreeg te horen, dat er tien van die kinderen als Ibrahim zijn. Ik denk dat ik deze straatkinderen wel ken. Ik kreeg te horen, dat ze hem een uur wilde houden. Enkele agenten gingen op Ibrahim inpraten, maar hij weerde zich knap en gaf weerwoord, erg ongebruikelijk hier in de cultuur. Meestal houden de mensen tegenover de politie hun mond en zeker kinderen. Maar Ibrahim liet zich niet intimideren, uiteraard in feite gestimuleerd door mijn aanwezigheid. Ik had een hand op zijn schouder gelegd. Uiteindelijk lieten ze hem gaan, omdat ik in het bureau was, zo werd mij gezegd, maar de volgende keer zouden zij hem harder aanpakken. Daar ging ik verder niet op in.

Nu ken ik het hoofd van de Palestijnse tak van Defence Child International, Rifat Kassis. Ik heb hem de volgende dag hierover geïnformeerd. Hij zou er verder werk van maken.

Eerder op de dag was ik naar Hebron gegaan voor het afstuderen van een jongeman aan de polytechnische universiteit, die ik financieel heb geholpen met de afronding van zijn studie. Ik ging samen met zijn neef Mohammed Abu Alia erheen. Eenmaal aangekomen bleek, dat de hele ceremonie niet doorging, omdat sommige docenten niet konden komen na een aanslag op een Israëlische politieauto, waarbij een politieman omkwam. De dader is onbekend. Een deel van Hebron werd afgesloten.

Mohammed vertelde mij, dat de volgende dag in het vredescentrum een fototentoonstelling geopend zou worden. Het is een project opgezet door de Dalal Institution for Culture and Arts in samenwerking met War Child Holland. Kinderen in Gaza kregen in december 2009 een cursus fotografie en daarna kregen zij een fototoestel om foto’s te maken vanuit hun gezichtspunt. Hun leeftijd varieerde van 8 tot 16 jaar. Hun website is: www.warchildholland.org

Dinsdag was ook een mooie dag. Ik kwam bij de schoenenstand van Ahmed, een Bedoeïen, die op straat schoenen verkoopt. Zijn jongste zoon mocht mij niet, maar was nu ineens omgedraaid. Ik vond het een bevestiging van mijn standpunt dat kinderen nee tegen iemand mogen zeggen om ook ja te kunnen zeggen. Zijn vader nodigde mij voor de volgende avond bij hem thuis uit. Hij vroeg mij om om zes uur bij zijn plek te zijn. Het verbaasde mij, omdat hij gewoonlijk half acht naar huis gaat. Maar goed, ik deed het en was woensdagavond rond zes uur bij hem. Als gewoonlijk vertrok hij pas half acht huiswaarts. In die tussentijd bleef ik daar en liet zijn zoons foto’s met mijn camera maken. Zo kon ik aan de kant staan van straatverkopers.

Mijn aanwezig zijn leverde kontakten op. Er kwam een man mij een bekertje water brengen en ik kreeg contact met een jongeman, die op straat tomaten verkocht. Hij bleek een zachtmoedig mens te zijn. Ik voel mij bevoorrecht om in contact te komen met deze sociale laag van de samenleving. Ik begrijp nu ook, dat het voor Franciscus een vreugde was om aan de kant van de minderen te staan. Hij heeft er mooie mensen leren kennen.

Ik ben ook bevoorrecht in mijn kontakten met kinderen en vriendschappen met vrouwen dwars door verschillen in godsdienst. Verschil in cultuur is geen probleem, als de rollen maar helder zijn zoals oom, vader en vriend.

Toen we naar het huis van Ahmed gingen, was hij zo slim langs een winkel te gaan om een baal meel te kopen. Zo kon hij mij gebruiken om hem te helpen de baal bij hem thuis naar binnen te dragen. Hij woont in een familiehuis, dwz dat ook zijn vader en een broer met zijn gezin er wonen.

Ik kreeg een prettige indruk van het gezin met twee dochters en twee zoons. Ik zag ook een jonge vrouw in prachtig lang gewaad. Ahmed legde mij uit, waarom hij mij Richard noemt. Hij ontleent de naam Richard aan Richard Leeuwenhart, die tegen Saladin gevochten heeft aan het eind van de 12e eeuw. Saladin was de man, die Jeruzalem op de Europeanen veroverde.

Donderdag bezocht ik mijn ‘nicht’ Majd en Hajj. Hajj is in goede doen en werkt hard aan zijn eindexamen. Over een maand is de uitslag. Ik ben benieuwd.

Ik bezocht ‘s avonds Jack. Hij heeft alle pech van de wereld. Toen hij de dag ervoor vanuit zijn werk naar huis ging en wilde oversteken bij groen licht voor voetgangers, kwam er een auto aangeraced. Jack moest onmiddellijk stilstaan, maar verdraaide daarbij zijn kuitspieren in zijn rechterbeen door de onverwachte beweging. Hij moet zich nu met twee krukken zien te behelpen. Ik zag gelukkig ook hoe hij een netwerk van mensen heeft, die hem helpen. Hij kan nu zijn vrouw niet verzorgen, maar toen ik er was, was ook een echtpaar, die beide verpleegkundigen zijn, die zijn vrouw verzorgden.  Jack is een man, die recht door zee is, wat niet altijd goed valt, maar in feite hem in deze situatie wel helpt. Mensen weten wat ze aan hem hebben.

Een voorbeeld van de verwarring hier in het Midden Oosten is het bericht van afgelopen zondag in Ha’aretz, dat Abbas tegen verlichting van de blokkade  van Gaza is en volgens Al Jazeera vrijdagmorgen heeft Abbas bij Mitchell aangedrongen op verlichting van de blokkade. Wat klopt hier wel en wat niet? Voor Ha’aretz zie: http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/abbas-to-obama-i-m-against-lifting-the-gaza-naval-blockade-1.295771

Ik kwam pas de vraag tegen welk land verantwoordelijk is voor de meeste burgerdoden sinds 1945. Ik legde de vraag aan Lawrence voor, een medebroeder, die in New York geboren is. Hij raadde het meteen: de VS, die verantwoordelijk is voor meer burgerdoden dan alle andere landen bij elkaar.

Vorige week zondag was ik in Jeruzalem voor de viering van het feest van Antonius van Padua, de patroonheilige van de custodie. Ik was samen met de broeders van het noviciaat gegaan. Toen we terugkeerden, ging de checkpoint voor onze neus dicht. Het bleek, dat een zuster nogal boos op de soldaten was, waarop die besloten de checkpoint te sluiten. Dit duurde echter maar kort.

Ik voeg nog twee bijlagen toe van Tikkun.

In augustus ben ik in Nederland.

Groeten uit Bethlehem

Louis Bohté


De foto's van deze week

A Report on the NSP Conference June 11-13, 2010

NSP = Network of Spiritual Progressives

The NSP/Tikkun conference was a terrific success.

 500 people gathered at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation in Washington, D.C. and heard some of the most amazing speakers address the question of what is the nature of the political and spiritual crisis that we are facing in the world today, and what to do about it.

NSP co-chair (and Catholic Benedictine Sister) Joan Chittister led off with a powerful appeal for compassion as a central theme and NSP chair Rabbi Michael Lerner explained how the Global Marshall Plan and the Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment were ways of giving substance to the central theme of the conference: Creating the Caring Society: Caring for Each Other and Caring for the Earth. Rabbi Lerner raised what became one of the foci of the conference, namely the need to push the Obama Administration from a spiritual progressive perspective, yet to do that in a way that did not join or strengthen the Obama-bashing coming from Tea Party fundamentalists or the political partisans whose only goal is to make Obama fail. Lerner made it clear that NSP people do not share the goal of making Obama fail, but instead believe that the way for him to succeed is to fully embrace the NSP vision of The Caring Society with our New Bottom Line, and to make sure that his policies fully embodied that vision, which they certainly do not at the moment. Yet Lerner also made clear that NSP had no intention of becoming embroiled in the "inside-the-beltway realistic and anti-ideological" politics of the Obama Administration, but instead sought to build an independent spiritual progressive movement that would align with other liberal and progressive forces and join any relevant coalitions that emerged in the struggle for peace, social justice, environmental sanity, and human rights. Peter Gabel presented a deep analysis of contemporary alienation and the desire for mutual recognition that could be harnessed toward creation of a loving and caring society but which currently was being mis-appropriated by the forces of fear and domination.

 Our gathering was not a rally-it was a thoughtful convocation to refine our strategy. Yet speakers that included the world's most innovative and powerful environmental organizer Bill McKibben, our most creative Evangelical preacher and writer Brian McLaren, our profound teacher and partner with Rabbi Lerner in creating and sustaining the NSP Peter Gabel, the founder of J Street Jeremy Ben Ami, our most creative economist David Korten, our greatest African American preacher James Forbes, the most courageous leader of the single-payer movement and spokesperson for the Physicians for a National Health Plan Dr. Margaret Flowers, Chair of the American Bar Association's commission on disarmament and chair of the Global Security Institute Jonathan Granoff, interfaith coordinator of the Islamic Society of North America Sayyid Syeed,  environmentalist and author of Plan B 4.0 Lester R. Brown, our most creative Jewish teacher Rabbi Arthur Waskow, our most dynamic spiritual activist Marianne Williamson all brought people to their feet in cheering and excitement for their depth of insight, wisdom and vision of what we could do together.

CNN was there to film the Memorial service and the rally in Lafayette Park where Jewish, Christian and Muslim clergy offered prayers for the memory of those killed in the Gaza Aid Flotilla and prayers for the healing of all those on both sides who had been hurt or wounded, prayers for the freeing by Hamas of Gilad Shalit and prayers for the freeing of all the thousands of Palestinian prisoners not convicted of actual use of violence who are being held in Israeli prisons and outdoor detention facilities. We made clear that this was a religious service, not a rally, so we avoided discussing the politics and focused on memorial and healing prayers, even when we marched down to the gates of the White House singing "Let everyone neath her vine and fig-tree, live in peace and unafraid, and into ploughshares beat their swords, nations shall learn war no more." But back at the conference, Israel/Palestine was a hot issue, with multiple perspectives represented by the chair of Israeli Rabbis for Human Rights Arik Aschermann, a representative of the Palestinian Authority and deputy chair of the Palestinian mission in D.C., plus a debate on Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions with strong proponents on all sides of that (Arthur Waskow, Rebecca Subar and Gershon Baskin--another variant of that debate you can read in the July/.August issue of Tikkun, with Jeremy Ben Ami, Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, Rebecca Vilkomerson, and Israeli Shimisti Maya Wind).

We organized this conference to have more time for attendees to participate in the deliberations about the strategies we were considering through workshops and mini-plenaries, and got useful feedback that led us to make some modifications in the Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The newest version is now up at www.spiritualprogressives.org/ESRA. And we are still accepting feedback for this next week. But most attendees were excited about the dual focus on the Global Marshall Plan and the ESRA as concrete embodiments of what we meant by our new framing: The Caring Society-Caring for Each Other and Caring for the Earth! We had many small group discussions so that participants got a chance to talk to others at many points during the whole gathering, which was also marked by lots of singing, particularly led by Sharon Abreu and by Rabbi David Shneyer and the musical performance by "Emma's Revolution."

What was to many participants the most striking thing about this conference was the way it embodied the very core idea of a loving, generous and caring society. For three days we actually got to live our ideas of what the future could be like. Some participants described it as "a love fest." There was so much caring and loving energy flowing that at times it seemed beyond our imagination of what could happen at this kind of gathering. There was so much positive energy and sense of "we" being in it together that most participants went home with a stronger conviction that we could and must make a difference, and that the NSP was our vehicle for bringing a message of hope and transformation and healing to our society. Rev. Ama Zenya who chaired most of the sessions at the conference facilitated this process by herself being a competent, smart and loving embodiment of our message.

That sense of making a difference was heightened by the talks given by Congressman Keith Ellison at the beginning of the conference and Congressman Dennis Kucinich toward the end of the three days. Ellison appealed to the participants (and through them to you who are reading this note) to approach their local Congresspeople to get them to endorse and co-sponsor House Resolution 1016-which endorses the Global Marshall Plan. He emphasized how important it was to get into the public discourse our central notion that generosity rather than domination is the best path to homeland security. Congressman Kucinich spoke about the importance of the ESRA and promised to introduce a similar resolution backing the key ideas of our proposed constitutional amendment. These two Congressmen made it clear to attendees that our ideas were not only utopian conceptions, but also survival necessities for the human race. And that gave many of us a deeper sense of why these two projects should remain a significant part of the focus of activity for the NSP in the coming years. Rabbi Arthur Waskow suggested that we also place the ESRA in the context of a campaign, cosponsored by NSP and his Shalom Center, to get the American people to declare independence from corporate domination.

The one thing we failed to do was to fund-raise. The truth is that NSP is very very low on funds, and cannot continue to do its work unless you are willing to stretch beyond your capacities and beyond your annual membership dues to NSP so as to make a significant tax-deductible contribution to keep this enterprise going. It's that simple-no money means no staff means no one to carry out coordination or implementation of any of the wonderful ideas expressed and developed at this conference. We need your help, and we need it now! We'd like to hire Rev. Ama Zenya as a part time organizer, but unless you can donate a substantial sum, we just can't afford to do it. We need to raise $36,000.  Would you help us? If so, please send a check or credit card info to Tikkun/NSP at 951 Cragmont Ave, Berkeley, Ca. 94708. Or donate on line at:

https://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/525/t/8751/shop/custom.jsp?donate_page_KEY=3794

We are working now on getting the highlights of the conference up on our website in video, and transcribing some of it to print in the Sept/Oct, Nov/Dec and maybe even some in the Jan/Feb issues of Tikkun magazine. Though they won't capture the loving feelings or the very smart comments made by conference participants, they will capture some of what was said by the speakers.

--Warm blessings to you from the staff and volunteers of NSP

 ******************************************************************************************************************************************************* 

 NSP Projects For After the Conference: What You Can Do

Guiding principle for all these concrete projects: The goal is always to increase love, caring, kindness, generosity of spirit, ethical and ecological sensitivity, and awe/wonder/radical amazement at the grandeur and mystery of the universe, consciousness and life itself. So make sure that everything you do always puts this "NEW BOTTOM LINE" at the center of any NSP-related activity.

Share Your NSP Vision and Analysis with Others.
Set up individual one-to-one meetings with people in your neighborhood, your church/synagogue/mosque/ashram, your professional organization or union or workplace, your local political party or organization or civic organization-to learn how they think the world's problems can be addressed, and to share with them the Tikkun/NSP analysis. Guidelines on how to do this most effectively, below.
Request a meeting with the editor, managing editor or key reporters, journalists and editorialists of your local newspaper, or the station manager, assignment editor, or producer of influential local radio and television stations. Ask them to reflect in their coverage the perspective of spiritual progressives, and give them examples of that perspective from Tikkun articles and by showing them the ESRA and the Global Marshall Plan. Ask them to do a show about these ideas, and you be our representative on these shows to present them (fallback: if you get a commitment, ask for our Tikkun staff person to do it on the phone or from a local t.v. hookup from here).


Write letters to the key people in media  Names and contact info listed at
 "http://www.spiritualprogressives.org/article.php/media" www.spiritualprogressives.org/article.php/media . Don't underestimate the potential impact of a personal letter explaining why you think the NSP analysis and program deserves their attention when they decide who to interview for a news story or analysis story about American politics, foreign policy, and /or the Middle East and Israel/Palestine. Tell them why you want them to present those perspectives. Tell them about the GMP and the ESRA or whatever else turns you one (the New Bottom Line? The Spiritual Covenant with America? Our analysis of the Obama administration and why we have to both critique it and support it? Write an op-ed and submit it to newspapers around the country.

Get the GMP and the ESRA Endorsed by a wide range of community organizations and by  Your Congressional Rep and Your Local City Council and State Legislature.

Write a letter requesting a meeting with your Congress person, your city council representatives, and your state legislators. If you can only meet with their assistants, meet with them, but then go to the next public meeting at which they are speaking to their constituents and raise the question of whether they will endorse the GMP or ESRA/
Bring others to meet with these officials, so that you don't have to do it by yourself. Practice answering difficult questions that they may throw at you. Approach local political, civic, professional, religious and union organizations to get their endorsements of the GMP and ESRA so that you can then have those names with you when you seek endorsements by elected representatives.  Ask representatives of those organizations that agree to endorse to also come with you.
Set up a table near a popular grocery store, coffee shop, movie, or shopping center and collect signatures on a petition to your elected representatives asking those reps to endorse the GMP and/or the ESRA.  Engage people in conversation about these two programs, and invite them to your next local gathering.


Join a monthly conference call with Rabbi Lerner and other NSP leaders and activists the first Monday of each month.
We will discuss what is happening in the news, and how to analyze it from a spiritual progressive perspective.  We will also consider questions and comments that you email Rabbi Lerner in advance of the call, if you tell us that you will be on that next call. Only for paid-up members of the NSP or subscribers to Tikkun.  Send your questions to: Questions@NSP.org.

4. Create a Study Group to read Tikkun Articles and NSP-related Books

Pick a monthly date for your study group. Even better if it's once a week or every other week at a time when the people you want to start it with can make (start with a core of at least three others who are committed to making it happen on that time each week, every two weeks or once a month).  Be sure to include as part of it that you start or in the middle have something delicious to eat (e.g. a vegetarian pot-luck each time, or a place where you can all go out to eat that is quiet enough so that you can have a serious talk about some articles in Tikkun magazine or TikkunDaily, our online blog at  HYPERLINK "http://www.tikkun.org" www.tikkun.org. You can also discuss articles on Current Thinking at  HYPERLINK "http://www.tikkun.org" www.tikkun.org and the different list of Current Thinking at  HYPERLINK "http://www.spiritualprogressives.org" www.spiritualprogressives.org. .  Make sure that each person is reminded at least 5 days in advance of the nest meeting to re-read the articles or books that are being discussed. Tikkun articles are best because they are often up-to-date, controversial, and easier to understand when you get to talk about them with others-and you should include at least one of Rabbi Lerner's editorials in your discussion at least once a month.

Create a "Celebrate the Activists" veggie-pot-luck

The goal is to honor those who are giving of their time and energy to the important work of social change and healing the world. In your very own community and in communities near you there are dozens of people who are engaged in these activities. Few of them have any opportunities to meet with others who are similarly engaged except when they go to regional or national conferences of their particular organization or activity focus, and there they don't meet other social change activists and world-healers who are in different fields of work.
    Few of these activists get adequate recognition or adequate material rewards. Many feel isolated, and some feel burnt out or despairing. We all need each other's support and caring. But we have to give it to each other. And a local NSP group could be the catalyst for making this happen.
    So here's what the event can look like:
A vegetarian pot-luck
After the pot-luck, a brief presentation by you about the core idea of a Network of Spiritual Progressives, plus why you don't have to be religious or believe in God to be part of this, and then why it's important for us to acknowledge the goodness that generates people to be involved as activists for social change, whether in their employment or in their spare time.
Then ask people to meet in groups of three to share with each other what they've been doing in their activist activities, what problems and frustrations they've been dealing with, and what successes. Be sure to divide up the room so that people working half time or full time on this work get to meet with each other, while those giving only a few hours a week to this work get to meet with each other.
Then have some musician lead community singing
End with a blessing-ask each person in the groups of 3 to give a blessing to the other two, and then the conveners give a blessing to everyone there.
You may also want to ask representatives from some of the groups to make 5 minute presentations about what their work is, as long as your goal is to make sure that over the course of time all the groups get a chance to make these presentations.
Each meeting extend an NSP certificate of merit to some group that has made a strong contribution to healing and transforming the world. Be sure to let them know in advance about the award and urge them to bring their friends and relatives and all their activists and, where relevant,  employees.
The outcome is meant to be more love and solidarity-not recruitment to any particular project, though you can ask people to JOIN the NSP to help support this kind of activity. And definitely announce your local Tikkun reading group and other activities!

    Choose a time once a month, once every two months or once every three months for this to happen. Assume that you'll have coming to this  about 1% of the people you invite the first time, and if it feels good to the people who come, maybe twice or three times that number the second time. The key is to spread your net widely, get your event announced and even written about in local newspapers and weeklies/monthlies. The key to success: a letter to each activist whose name you can get by contacting the various non-profits in your area. It's labor intensive to get enough people to contact so that when 1% show up they wont feel alone. So plan the first one at least three months in advance so you have adequate time to get names and contacts to invite, explaining the idea of what you want to see happen.
    
Do a Public Education Project around Healing Israel/Palestine.
Few people understand the complexities of the struggle between Israel and the Palestinians, and hence they end up siding with knee jerk one-sided analyses. We support a Progressive Middle Path that is both pro-Israel and pro-Palestine and which refuses to demean either side or blindly accept the narrative of either side.
    To become a public educator on this issue, you must first adopt a stance: and we invite you to take the NSP stance, articulated in Rabbi Lerner's book Healing Israel/Palestine. We then urge you to bring that perspective to your local church/synagogue/mosque/ashram/university/union/professional organization, etc.
    Urge people to sign the Tikkun petition for international intervention-it's a good way to get the conversation started! Set up an NSP table to collect signatures, and engage in conversations. Always retain the most utopian and idealistic stance: that homeland security can best be achieved for Israel, Palestine and the US by a strategy of generosity, not military or economic domination. Talk about the GMP and applying it to the Middle East. But also be sure to give people the opportunity to share their fears and their hopes with you.
    People who sign the petition should also be called for one-to-ones as described above and detailed below!

Help us With Fund-Raising
Create some local fundraising events-a party at someone's home at which you present the NSP ideas, a bake sale, a night at the movies or theatre, a local Run for Social Justice and Peace at which runners have to pay a certain amount to enter, a series of progressive and/or spiritual movies.
    Or maybe you know some people who could afford to donate to NSP if they really understood what it was about. Ask them to meet with you. Or you know some people who know some people who could donate. Start the ball rolling!
    Or approach some businesses in your area-many of them have corporate giving campaigns. Ask them to give to NSP or Tikkun (which are both non-profits donations to which are tax-deductible).

Create a Spiritual Caucus in Your Local Political Party
As a non-profit, we don't endorse candidates or political parties. But you can, and join whichever party appeals to you. Then create within your local area a Spiritual Caucus. Be sure to set it up with an explicit commitment to the New Bottom Line and the GMP and ESRA and the Spiritual Covenant with America, because otherwise that caucus will become focused on internal debates among people who say they are spiritual but don't agree with your perspective or your commitment to programs. Instead, set this group up with an explicit NSP-type worldview, and then use it to spread your ideas through the political party of which it is a caucus!  Keep us informed of your progress and what kinds of materials we could produce which would be helpful to you!

Create a "parallel universe" LIVING YOUR DREAM project
Dedicate your energies to creating an actual hands-on project that embodies your ideals and visions. Whether that be a perma-culture-oriented farm and community garden, a law or medical or architectural or psychological practice with others who will strategize about how to bring the NSP New Bottom Line vision into the actual details of your work, or a study center or alternative child care, grammar or high school, college or graduate or professional school, a vegetarian restaurant where ideas get discussed and speakers are invited to present them, a refuge for immigrants, a project to bring homeless people into your home and the homes  of other friends, a plan to share child care and other immediate needs of people in your local NSP community, a farmers' market that has speakers and active recruitment into NSP projects, a community media project-or whatever other ideas you have: make it happen! The Key: make sure that love and generosity of spirit guides each step along the way.


ARRANGING AND PREPARING FOR An NSP ONE-TO-ONE VISIT

The Phone Call

A typical one to one will be arranged by phone.  On the phone you only want to get the appointment.  You cannot build a relationship over the phone.  To build a relationship you must sit down and talk with them.

Introduce yourself: explain what you are doing and ask if you can have 45 minutes of time to get their point of view.

Example:

Hi!  My name is ______________________ and I am working with the Network of Spiritual Progressives and speaking to…..(my neighbors, members of my church/synagogue/mosque/ashram, members of my union, members of my profession, members of our Democratic party/Republican party/Green party about how best to heal our society and transform it in a more just, peace-oriented, and loving and caring way..

I am part of a national  team that is visiting households in (neighborhoods, religious institutions, unions, political parties, professional groups)  to listen to their ideas  and learn your ideas about how to move forward toward a world with more peace, social justice, love, caring and generosity toward others.. Could I arrange to have 45 minutes of your time to listen to your ideas and experience? It doesn't have to be at your home, it could be at any public place that you would feel comfortable talking to me. I am not selling a product, I'm not trying to convert you to some religious sect or anything like that, though I do want to tell you about our ideas for a Global Marshall Plan and for an Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. But mostly what I'm interested in doing is hearing your thinking, so that we in the Network of Spiritual Progressives can find the best way to understand the people in our community who share the desire for peace and justice and for a world of love, caring and generosity.

Be specific about a day and time, and let them know you only want 45 minutes to an hour (at most) of their time.

Before the one to one, take time to prepare.  Think about what you may know about the person or his/her involvement with the congregation, church, union, professional organization, neighborhood, or anything else you have learned about that person.  Review what you think may be their self-interest.  Think through what questions you want to be sure to ask, and what you say about what you are doing.

The Visit
There is no formula for having a good one to one.  Enjoy yourself and try to establish some rapport.  Here are general points that may help you do this:

Introduce Yourself and Explain Why You Are There (Same as telephone explanation)

Warm Up
Have a few simple question or comments ready to develop a little relaxed conversation at the beginning. This will get them talking and help you get a feel for them.  Ask questions, listen closely, keep it relaxed.  Talk about things the person seems interested in.

Listen Intently, Especially for "Lead-Ins" To Stories

Getting them to talking is important.  Speak in order to draw them out.  A successful one to one means the person visited is speaking 70% of the time.  Most people are flattered when you show an interest in them and their opinions.

Stories will tell you the most about a person and are usually more enjoyable than abstract discussion.  Probe for specifics about their experiences and their true feelings about things.

AFTER LISTENING-TELL THEM ABOUT WHY YOU PERSONALLY ARE DRAWN TO THE GMP: GLOBAL MARSHALL PLAN & the ESRA (Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Go over some of the details of each that turn you on most. Explain to them why it's a mistake to be "realistic" and how important it is to make something that once seemed idealistic or utopian (equal rights for women, people of color, lgbt people) into something that can today be realistic.  Then tell them about the New Bottom Line of the NSP.

Establish A Follow-Up

Do not leave without some next step. Ask if they'd be willing to sign a petition in support of either the GMP or the SRA or a letter to their Congressperson (bring a copy of a proposed letter which they could sign or use as a prototype). Ask them if you could call them to update them on what is happening in regard to building support for these approaches.
Close the Visit

Watch the time so that you do not spend too long - 45 minutes is enough.  Your time and their time needs to be respected.  If you find your one to one is going longer, be sure each of you agrees to extend the time.  End the visit by thanking the person for their time.

Reflection and Evaluation

After a visit fill out the Report Form.  (Do not fill out the form during a visit).  It is important for you to reflect on the visit, think about what they said and what is really meant, and what you did and why.  You cannot keep all this in your head and it will be helpful to have these notes to refresh your memory.
Some questions to write down answers to after the visit:

What does this person care most about?  Why?
What motivates them?
What do they get excited taking about?
How do they spend their time?
What is this person's story?
What community/public issues do they care about?
Evaluate the one to one.  Ask yourself:
Did I establish a relationship?
How courageous was I?  What was the riskiest question I asked?
What did I do well?
What could I have done differently?

Let us know what happens in these one-on-one meetings. RabbiLerner@Tikkun.org.  We will be sending more useful guidelines about how to answer typical objections to our perspectives or post that on line as soon as we possibly can.


web: www.spiritualprogressives.org

Spiritual Wisdom of the Week

by: Rabbi Michael Lerner on June 17th, 2010

This week I’d like to share some of my own thoughts on God, emotion, and patriarchal thought with you all:

The richness of human emotions, the wealth of nuance and excitement that can be generated by human neediness, the depth of love that can be generated by human relationships — these magnificent aspects of reality are likely to be aspects of God as well. Why should God be any less wonderful than human beings? If one rejects the notions of perfection that come from Hellenistic and patriarchal thought, then one could easily see that attributing emotions, personality, feeling, and caring to the spiritual Being that permeates all of reality is not a put-down or a belittling, but a celebration in God of what we can and ought to honor in human beings. And if we recognize that a caring being is also a being that hurts, yearns and desires, then there is no reason to think we are belittling God when we see that S/He (as the unity of all being) is a yearning, desiring and sometimes hurting totality. It is only if we accept the male-dominated vision that perfection is that which has no needs or lacks and that God must be perfect in this sense that the Jewish conception of God becomes a scandal. But if we think of God in more feminine terms, we may allow ourselves to imagine that all of being is permeated by yearning, desire, caring, sensitivity, love and vulnerability – and that that is not a deficiency but an amazingly beautiful aspect of the Unity of all Being.

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