For millennia larger “civilized” societies have been built around hierarchical ideas that some groups of people are more worthy and deserving of power and privilege than others, whether this is based on race, class, gender, or nationality. These are deeply baked into the attitudes and behaviors of all of us, whether we are members of more relatively empowered and privileged groups or marginalized groups.
Most people carry a great deal of denial about the extent to which these attitudes affect us. Even if we recognize intellectually that this kind of process is at work in our own life, relationships, and faith community, it is not easy to let go of old assumptions and ways of relating to others.
Many Friends today are beginning to do the hard work of facing empire assumptions, attitudes, and behaviors. It is no short task, even if we humbly ask God for assistance in letting go and entering faithfully into new ways of seeing and relating.
New England YM asked one of its members, Lisa Graustein, to create ten videos called “Provoke One Another to Love” as virtual plenary sessions to help Friends prepare for its 2019 annual sessions. Each video relates to recent minutes of NEYM on issues of radical faithfulness and witness. On each subject (decolonization, racial justice, earthcare) Lisa created videos called “spiritual practices” that talk about the work that Friends can do in their own lives and their meetings to make the changes needed. These remain fully relevant today more than ever. .
Healing the Male Spirit: A Reflection on the Beatitudes is an essay by Peter Blood on the beatitudes as one roadmap for helping men to shed domination patterns built into society—as much today as in 1st century Palestine.