The Prophetic Call : Rituals and Social Change & Public Narrative: the Story of Us and Now

January 2016 Monthly Training Report

Overview of Training

The Prophetic Call : Rituals and Social Change

In the morning, beloved trainer Mariama White-­Hammond led fellows in an exercise designed to awaken our connection with ritual and meaning-­making as prophetic action/social change. Fellows journaled about places they felt called and challenges that stood in their way, brainstormed concrete practices that lead them towards their vocation, and committed to taking those practices on in an earth­-centered ritual of sowing seeds and sustaining life. Throughout, White-­Hammond shared some of her own personal experiences with ritual, with vocation, and with listening to the Spirit as the former Executive Director of Project Hip Hop and a social change activist who understands the critical role that personal transformation has on our work in the social change realm.

Public Narrative : the Story of Us and Now

By telling our personal stories of challenges we have faced, choices we have made, and what we learned from the outcomes we can inspire others and share our own wisdom. Because stories allow us to express our values not as abstract principles, but as lived experience, they have the power to move others. In the afternoon, Isaac Martinez from the Leadership Development Initiative led fellows in a training to continue developing public narratives with a focus on how teller’s Story of Self connects to the Story of Us ­ the narrative of the community that is being addressed  and the Story of Now ­ the urgent actions that will lead to the hoped­for outcomes.

Isaac shared some of his own story, and taught how developing a narrative linking our stories of self, of us, and of now, can lead listeners into the world God dreams for us, building inspiration and trust in an organizer’s call to leadership.

Relation to Leadership

Healthy rhythms are critical to building strong and resilient systems, and Mariama White­Hammond’s teaching underscored the power that ritual can have in building such rhythms. The art of narrative is also crucial to public leadership and community organizing. Isaac Martinez’s teaching on public narratives broke the act of speaking into digestible and easily customizable parts, and emphasized the personal connection that can turn a weak invitation to engagement into an impassioned, compelling narrative. The personal connection also helps draw listeners in. Self-­vulnerability in leadership is central to Life Together’s understanding of the Jesus Way, a model of living and leadership that is counter-cultural to the dominant Empire Way.

Questions for Reflection

● What need of the world draws you into leadership?

● What are stories from your life that illustrate why you care about this?

● How is your call to leadership (Story of Self) linked to the values of the community you are serving (Story of Us) and why is it urgent that we act now (Story of Now)?

● What rituals help you connect with the ground of your being and keep you sustained in the work of social justice?