“A time is coming when men (sic) will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him, saying, ‘You are mad; you are not like us.'” (St. Anthony the Great)
The Affiliate Book Group is reading Miguel De La Torre’s Trails of Hope & Terror (Testimonies of Immigration). It speaks of economic realities, family values, the politics of fear, myths about the immigration debate and includes emotional testimonies from many perspectives. It’s a poignant and critical topic in these times.
The sessions have been engaging and informative. The content, dynamics and personal investment of each member are in themselves revealing of an uncommon, if not counter cultural stance in 21st century North America. Some might say crazy-mad, even subversive. That might be a badge of honor.
Once the 4 pillars of spirituality, community, action and global vision become the operative starting place for making an argument, the discussion will inevitably be “tainted”...a very different value system. Odds are that few if any of these pillars surface in board rooms or in this Trump cabinet. The word “investment” therein is tied to capital and political gain, not to a conscious personal choice towards love.
Even in the ‘glory days’ 40 - 60 years ago when scores of young people were flocking into Maryknoll (and other religious, priestly and lay Church communities), to opt for the disenfranchised and poor was viewed as a questionable life choice, only for the few. I don't think that there is much question in our minds and hearts about the investment we are making.
Until yesterday, Sunday, there were two affiliate virtual chapters. The first formed has six members crossing three U.S. time zones and has met three times. The second is a contemplative virtual chapter that focuses on reflective conversation and prayer. Members from both these chapters have spoken very positively about how meaningful the experiences have been.
On Sunday, October 1st, a third, hybrid affiliate chapter entered the virtual Maryknoll Affiliate world. Approximately 15 members from three continents and as many countries – Kenya, Germany and the U.S. (crossing too many time zones to count) – held their first meeting.
This hybrid virtual chapter evolved from the creative vision and organizational acumen of Gerry and Marita Grudzen, connected to Maryknoll in several capacities for many years. Both have been involved in higher education, and there has been a particular focus in the area of interfaith – in spirituality, academics, trainings and personal investment. Gerry’s most recent book in this area is: Spirituality and Science: Greek, Judeo-Christian and Islamic Perspectives
I don’t think the Affiliate Board could have anticipated that virtual chapter could take such a far-reaching character when it was first proposed. It’s a very encouraging development for mission. Here’s their first meeting agenda:
October 1, 2017, 3:30-5:00pm (Kenyan Time)
Formation Process for the Affiliate over 12 months: What it will look like.
Five Themes: Affiliate Identity, Mission, Spirituality in Mission, Community and Prophetic Witness.
Emphasis on four pillars: Spirituality, Community, Global Vision and Action.
Small group discussion at each site (15”)
Then we go back to the big group and each person introduces themselves and shares something in response to the program. (25”)