The Quixotic Pastor

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Creating Change Did, Part 2

Have I mentioned that I had been a part of the Host Committee for Creating Change since May 2007? I was one of the co-chairs of the Spiritual Needs Subcommittee.

I have met many wonderful people and have made some new friends down state.

Our duties were to make sure there was a Tranquility Room, a kind of spiritual drop in refreshment and meditation center, to make sure there was a Friday evening Shabbat service, to execute a Naming ceremony of our dear departed as a part of the opening plenary and to create an interfaith service.

Interfaith services can be really odd things. Sometimes, one gets a sense that the people who design them are just filling a certain number of slots to make sure everyone is represented. They can be something like a talent show, so to speak, or a variety show. It's the difference between a collection of pearls and a string of pearls.

We as a committee didn't want to do that. We wanted a service that had some movement to it, that appealed to certain common human needs for nurture, that would take people to a different place and accomplish some transformation. We wanted there to be revelation and beauty, encouragement for those journeying along the activist path.

We almost accomplished it.

Here are some things I have learned along the way.

1. Not everyone knows what an interfaith service is. Not everyone understands the difference between interfaith and interdenominational. Some people at an interfaith service, if given opportunity, will still insist that their particular spiritual/religious expression of faith is the only salvific way, or will use language that implies that, and not realize how hurtful that is.

2. No matter how carefully one plans and prepares, there will be surprise obstacles to negotiate, some as "big" as a missing grand piano, some as "little" as a missing jump drive.

3. How we say things is ever bit as important as what we say. How we do things is ever bit as important as what we do. If the process says something different from the content, people will remember the process more than the content.

There's so much that I have learned being a part of the Creating Change Hosting process.

These are some of the ideas that, thanks to Creating Change, I must spend some time exploring:

Access/Privilege. I participated in an exercise as a part of creating change where I experienced being denied access --to renting an apartment, getting a job, applying for a loan-- because of my gender presentation and also because of a language barrier. I was one of the lucky ones --I didn't start off in jail, which was also a possibility in the exercise. I wasn't as fortunate as some who were ushered to a "head table" laden with food and non-alcoholic wine. I was glad I had at least two privilege cards to pull --my education and my varied job experience. Did I pull them? You betcha.

How ableism, racism, sexism and heterosexism, gender rigidity, sexual rigidity is tied-in with patriarchy and privilege. Bp. Gene Robinson said [I think] that we are about the business of undoing years and years and years of misogyny and patriarchy in order to see justice done. Matt Foreman chided gay men who have nothing positive to say about women and do not allow women --and trans people-- at place at the power tables which exist in our community.

Unfortunately, I think because of the non-inclusive ENDA and for some other reasons as well, the Bi/Pansexual community got left out in many of the speeches I heard. My Bi/Pan friends continue to struggle with a certain lack of acceptance in the LGT community as well as the straight community.


  • At 6:41 PM , Blogger Heidi said...

    Overall, how was Creating Change? Is it an annual thing? It seems like it should have gotten at least a little news coverage in Detroit, but I don't remember seeing anything.

    And by the way . . .

    I am tagging you with a meme!

    The rules for the meme are:
    1. Link to the person who tagged you.
    2. Post the rules on your blog.
    3. Share six non important things/habits/quirks about yourself.
    4. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
    5. Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.

  • At 6:35 AM , Blogger Reverend Dona Quixote said...

    Overall, I think Creating Change was quite the success --over 2,150 registrants and participants present at some point during the 5 days.

    Creating Change is indeed an annual event put together by to train activists and build coalitions for justice work, especially for the LGBT community, but for others as well. The meeting in Detroit was the 20th one.


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