"Betrayed by Authority" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward
(For the sake of my peace of mind and to respect my wife and family during my vacation, I'm going to stop comments on my blog posts until I return on the 18th of July.)
I am passionate about community. I am passionate about leaders having integrity. When I typed the title "Have you been betrayed by your leaders?" I was painfully aware that there are people who feel they have been betrayed by me. This causes a great deal of pain in my heart, and I wish there were ways I could repair those relationships. I'm also aware, because I've been on the receiving end of betrayal, that the erosion¬†of trust is completely understandable and should be respected. I have to keep reminding myself, and my good mentors always remind me too, that even though I make mistakes and even though I have my own deep-seated issues, this doesn't disqualify me from being passionate about healthy¬†leadership and communities.
So I proceed with an earned humility and a dreadful caution.
I am a community facilitator for our online community The Lasting Supper
. What we are doing there is what I call an experiment. What is happening there is very rare. I don't know of anyone else doing it. It is not an online church. I endeavor to be one of the bunch. We are all learning as we go. Our priority is to listen before we speak. We endeavor to respect everyone, no matter where they are on their journey. It works almost all the time. Once is a while we have a blip, but we do our best to facilitate it in healthy ways for the benefit of all.
We try to do it differently than other communities we've been a part of where we may have felt like we were thrown to the wolves, where our leaders were asleep on the job, and where we didn't feel like the community was protected.
We aren't perfect, but we try. We really do. Do we make mistakes? Yes. Do some not appreciate what we are doing? Yes. Do some try it and decide it's not for them? Yes. But we always try to correct it so that all of us feel that a space is created and protected that values the lives of every single person, no matter what they believe. It's a development in process.
I treat The Lasting Supper like a microcosm of what I believe the world is: one. I believe at a fundamental level that we are all one, united, without separation or division. I believe it is only our thoughts and beliefs that seem to separate and divide us. I believe that no matter where we are on the spectrum of belief or unbelief, that we are united. So my hope is that The Lasting Supper will reflect this reality. We work around the clock to provide a space to make this reality manifest. I'm delighted to say that we have members who are anywhere on the spectrum from atheists to church-going believers and everyone in between. The respect they show one another is astonishing.
Everyone has the right to believe what they believe. Everyone has the right to be respected for who they are. Everyone has the right to have space to be themselves. The only time this is questioned is when it is obviously harmful to others.
We are trying to learn how to be free without violating the freedom of others. This is the tricky part. This is the challenge. But this is a challenge we are willing to accept and experiment with.
So far it's working.
Some have asked why there's a subscription fee of $7/month or $75/year. In a nutshell, 2 reasons:
- I am working around the clock to facilitate the community. This is my job.
- It provides a barrier of access that ensures the protection of the community and that members respect the values.
Most people understand this. The members certainly do because they see that it works.
I want to invite you to join us. I will personally welcome you and introduce you to the others. I bet you will find it refreshing. Check out The Lasting Supper