Sunday, February 1, 2015

Last minute surprises

This winter in Tucson, I'm on the leadership team of a Monday group called Re-Imagining God. It's been meeting for nine winters with each year having a theme. This year's is "Awakening to Oneness". The blurb in the resort newsletter says, "We will explore different streams of faith leading to the ocean where all streams connect and become One. Reawakening to the Spirit within will help us find new ways to connect with others and align our outer life with our inner truth."

So at our various meetings we learn about value systems or Islam or transgender people or meditation or shamanism or political differences - the idea is that we become willing to build bridges between ourselves and others unlike us. This week we're having a trainer in nonviolent communication teach us tools and then practice them in a panel conversation between three political conservatives and three liberals.

Except that I could only find one conservative willing to participate! He is a Tea Party fellow from Wenatchee, Washington and I know him from my Current Events group on Wednesday. I asked for panel volunteers last week, and he and two others said yes. Then the date was changed from a week out to tomorrow. I contacted them and only one said yes, he would attend. I asked half a dozen others and they had some reason to say no. I'm wondering whether the group's title "Re-Imagining God" was threatening to them. In my experience, people who are conservative politically tend also to be religious conservatives, so maybe they felt uneasy at attending.

I kind of stewed over this all weekend because I had said I would obtain three panelists, and I was unsuccessful. I'm big on keeping my commitments and this one I couldn't do. So it was a good exercise in humility for me. I do think the one-on-one conversation will be fruitful, though. Just not what I had planned.

The big deal of the week was the Super Bowl, because we live near Seattle and our team was one of those playing. Up until the last 30 seconds of the game it looked like we would win. And then we didn't. Another of those last-minute surprises.

On a side note, it rained for two days this week. Record-breaking amounts for Arizona. Then it got sunny again. I can do two days much easier than five month. I'm grateful to be here!


Janette said...

My family is a great mix of conservatives, progressives and really liberal.
If I may make a suggestion?

My mom has stopped talking about tolerance because she states that no one tolerates her beliefs in conversation.
Have you thought about adding - Quaker and Amish? How about Mormon? You mentioned many tgroups they should be tolerant of- but none that are really close to "their home" ? Many parts of their "faith structure" just as Islam and shaminism and Buddists have hundreds of way of following their beliefs?

It is just a thought.

Olga Hebert said...

Now that is an interesting endeavor. I give you credit for your leadership skills, even when a curve ball is thrown into the mix.

Grandmother (Mary) said...

Too bad you couldn't get the participants since this sounds like such a worthwhile conversation. Maybe it was the word transgender that stopped them. I think all the variations of the human experience are fascinating.

Linda Myers said...

In talking to potential panelists, I didn't mention transgender. Just said how hard it is for conservatibes and liberals to hear each other, and how we hoped to learn how to do that.

DJan said...

It's an interesting premise, thinking about exploring various paths to God. I find that as I get older, I am interested in other people's paths, so if I were there, I'd be attending. I watched the Amazon series about a transgender father, called "Transparent." It was excellent and I'm waiting for the next season. I hope you get your panel together. :-)

Linda Reeder said...

Our Super Bowl surprise was not fun. I hope your panel discussion turns out better.

Tom Sightings said...

Sounds like a great idea ... so keep trying!

Friko said...

Sounds like it could have an interesting debate.
Perhaps a sub-title would have been helpful.

Barbara Bomberger said...

My only thought is that many of us don't see ourselves as others see us-while I consider myself progressive, others consider me flaming liberal. So perhaps if you left out the conservative and liberal and simply invited folks to an open discussion?

Retired English Teacher said...

You always have something interesting going on.