(And I’m channeling Elizabeth Warren here…because I have a plan for that!)
So, I think the MOST SUBVERSIVE thing we can do to transform the Catholic Church is to create a network of people who otherwise feel alone and isolated. If people know all the way down to their toes that they are supported and that there is room for them to share their gifts, then they have the space to grow in confidence and to trust where their creativity is leading them. People who are part of a large, supportive network can move to a new area and find places to connect. They can experiment and try new things. They can share resources. As the network grows, the number of progressive, creative, gifted people finding ways to actualize their call grows. I am convinced the way to change the Church is actually very simple. We transform the Church by intentionally creating space for people who feel there is no space for them.
Basically, people need a safe space, an “Upper Room” experience where they can be scared, encounter Christ together, receive the Spirit, and be sent out to share their gifts. (This month together is an example of an Upper Room experience.)
- 1. Continue getting the vision out there through the book project—Creating Spaces for Women in the Catholic Church—which is currently underway.
- *This means carving out regular time for editing, following up with the contributors, and seeking a publisher
- 2. Build the Network
- –> The initial core of this network (in my mind) consists of the contributors to the above book project who had an initial experience of retreat, collaboration, and soul searching around the lack of space for so many people in the Catholic Church
- –> Perhaps people in Discern-Dream-Scheme would be interested in intentionally building this type of network.
- There could be a core group of people who explore how to continue and build on what Casey and Luke have started. These folks might particularly explore what kinds of spaces are most needed.
- I suggest the Circle Process (Ann Linnea and Christina Baldwin) as a model of leadership for grassroots network of this nature. Circle Process encourages all participants to see themselves as leaders.
- If we manage to incarnate an Upper Room Network, it is easier to attract resources – grants, donations, etc.
- –>If there is an interest among others here, I am willing to participate in visioning and incarnating conversations that could help put flesh on this idea.
I am increasingly realizing that the most practical way to transform the Catholic Church is from the bottom. Transformation isn’t going to come from the hierarchical structures suddenly laying down their power. Power structures are more likely to crucify than to relinquish power. Instead, we change the Church by out growing it…and staying. The Catholic Church is bleeding. It’s losing incredibly gifted, progressive people who do not fit into the narrow spaces allotted to them. I’m growing in my understanding that the way forward isn’t a head on collision with hierarchy. Side stepping unhelpful structures and allowing them to become irrelevant is the way to go.