Posted by The Happy Tutor
A profound post on freedom of speech and the responsibility to listen from a man who speaks with authority, because he is not a big talker. Chris, educated at Trent University, in Peterborough Ontario, works with native peoples in Canada, and is an expert facilitator of Open Space Meetings. Listening to him is to listen to a man who mostly leads by opening spaces for others to speak. Watching his face in such sessions is to see a lively running interpretation of the speaker, the topic, the discourse, the audience and the "scene." What I hear in Chris's post is profound: facts are often dead things, but stories live on in our lives together as a people. When we listen ourselves into a story or myth, whether fudged by a Think Tank and pounded home by brute repetition, are beaten into us in Wealth Bondage, or through the still living stories of literature and the vestiges of folklore, we find the story is unfinished even if ended, for it admits of endless repetition and variation. The liturgy like the seasons goes round and round.
The oft-told story, "the completion of a known completion," is always in media res, or always in need of another repetition with changes. We are always somewhere - in a dark wood, in a Dumpster, or like James Cagney, "On top of the world, " before everything goes up in flames, like the Rapture. Facts are often a given, but stories unfold in time and changing the ending can change all. We are not just as we used to say with David Weinberger, "writing ourselves into existence," we are listening ourselves into deep stories, into our own characters, not as audience, nor as speakers, but as protagonists with others in a shared story that has yet to reach its climax. We are listening and talking ourselves into life and action, as a repetition in our lives of the great stories told of heroes or sacred animals and places. Isn't that the lesson of the Gospels? Not just what they say, but what they are? ("And he said unto them.....") A listening to one who speaks, and in speaking unfolds the story that is also an action, a bearing witness, a story or life for others to imitate. Jesus conversed himself and his apostles not into existence but into a death and a resurrection for a people, perhaps all people by renouncing Wealth Bondage and choosing voluntarily the Way of the Dumpster and worse. When we form our own circle, and speak in turn, woe unto those who feed us lies for facts or who steal our stories for purposes of Wealth Bondage, whether in politics, art, thought, or marketing. When we speak in a circle, where a few of us gather, there we find the holy spirit before which paid liars may tremble and scatter like dry leaves before the Autumnal Bonfire. (Follow the thread of this conversation here.)
Power is not in the center, nor at the top of a hierarchy, nor in the head or the long tail of an A-list distribution. Power is in the network, in what was once called "the body of Christ," or "the body politic," or the common weal, or the holy spirit. Dismembered, torn apart, into consuming and producing selves alienated from one another and ourselves, the body of Christ will rise again, and it will have nothing to do with the Pharisees and White Sepulchres, the paltry Caesars and pundits, who have taken his name in vain. Market Freedom is dicing at the foot of Cross. Market Freedom is on the March. But when the soldiers arrive at the tomb, they will find it empty. He whom they seek is everywhere, wherever two or three are gathered in his name.
Thank you, Chris, for holding open this space for the sacred stories.