Report on Global Change Consultation at 1st Denver Friends Church

  1. How has global change affected our communities and ourselves?
    1. Global change-communication is too instant nowadays and increases busyness as well as effectiveness. What makes sense?
    2. The economic situation has caused unemployment, which motivates people to go to community colleges to improve their employment options. The problem is that more and more of these students are not prepared for going to college, and they’re getting set up for failure and going into debt they won’t be able to sustain. I can see a growing problem but as of now, can’t see what to do about it. (PS. I am a community college on-line teacher.)
    3. Economics has a major influence on our communication and what we do. By killing off predatory animals, removing the evil, we delude ourselves. Be aware of the outcomes of what we do.
    4. Treating immigrants as equals and trying to relate to the light within those who are threatened by immigrants. Ideally creating safety for immigrants who are feeling injustice, overpopulation, war, etc.
    5. Hurricane Katrina showed that we need to learn to plan long term (although the short term also has to be addressed). For example barrier islands, water areas and swamp areas to absorb hurricane’s force were semi destroyed and could not protect the eareas on New Orleans and the Mississippi.
  1. What actions have we taken in response to global change as experienced in our area, to express our responsibilities towards all creation? In what ways have my own activities or those of my community contributed to positive or adverse local and global change?
    1. Actions taken in response to global changes haven’t yet started dropping single occupancy vehicle commutes 22 miles round-trip a day, which contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. I know I need to take very small steps first. It is time to act on the challenge to myself to use the bus and light rail.
    2. Take the bus a lot; drive as little as possible.
    3. Choice of what to do in regards to why of downsizing for example the fear of difference.
    4. Need to give up our ways of doing things, it’s not “green” to build better ways of doing things if we need to use methods of production that use more energy and raw materials, etc. to get us there. We need to learn to talk to each other, listen to each other in ways that will help us convince us all that there are ways we can work together and help us see that there are simpler ways to get things done and we can learn them and have a good, even better life than if we cling to the things that won’t work. Some former disadvantaged countries are doing these things well and becoming strong in good ways.
  1. How do changes around us affect our relationship with God? How does my relationship with God affect my responses to the changes around us? What role does faith have in my life and in the life of my community? In what ways do I and my Friends church or meeting community bear witness to our Testimonies in our daily lives?
    1. Jesus said: You either gather with me or scatter against me. It is a big thought that at any given time I am part of the solution and a part of the problem. The collective small choices of all of us produce the global change, for better or worse. And when we do, we gather with or against God.
    2. In times of change (financial, cultural, weather, technological) I find strength in my faith. My faith grows stronger as they changes happen. I know that God is in charge of what is happening.
    3. We are called to be communities of love that are oases of love in fearful societies.

4. What stories and experiences from past times of catastrophic happenings such as major droughts perhaps from Scripture, perhaps the record of regional or local events – might inspire us to respond to the changes the world is facing today?

  1. Stories of snow (blizzards) to tsunamis to floods, that trigger an outpouring of God’s provisioning, his compassion. Also the witness of those who are helping, the camaraderie that is the result is evidence of God’s joy in the journey. This is an attitude we can adopt-an expectancy toward how might God pour His joy, His comfort, out to the world, and can we rejoice in this, can we clone this attitude of joy and fellowship?
  2. The wild storms experienced yesterday (April 27) in the southeastern U.S. remind me that we are, and the earth is, fragile. Such destruction and death calls forth compassion and concern, but can we change our ways so that we can avoid this in the future? We need communal support to be accountable for our own good intentions.

5. How can we bear witness to the abundance God offers us and testify to the world about ways in which justice, compassion, and peace may address significant disruption, stress, and tension?

  1. In small ways with the ESL (English as a Second Language) students I teach, seeing my job as helping students learn to use English but also building a community where “we’re all in this together,” as friends.
  2. Quotation from Julian of Norwich (c. 1400) “But all will be well and every king of thing will be well.”
  3. Importance of gratitude and stewardship of what we have as a human community. Borders and walls needlessly divide us and fragment community.
  4. Abundance is not about what I own, it is about my inward experience of the Kingdom of God. I imagine if everyone focused on the Kingdom of God, all our needs would be provided for and the earth and our society would be healed, made whole, reconciled to God.
  5. Experience abundance in a different way, the less you notice the more you have. Don’t worry experience God in simplicity. Is more better?
  6. I’ve attempted to bear witness to God as our inner resource of peace, through a recent composition for baritone and piano, a setting of Psalm 46.
  7. Embrace abundance; through community and trust in God, let go of fear. Why is it fear that motivates us to change?

6. How can we support one another in rekindling our love and respect for God‟s Creation in such away that we are messengers of the transforming power of love and hope?
Learn to listen to one another.

  1. Everyone is special.
  2. Focus on looking at others with respect and work towards bringing others together.
  3. William Penn quote “Let us see what love can do.”
  4. We are all responsible individually to engage with the issues, to the extent we reasonably can. We are responsible be cause as people of God, we care.
  5. Quaker distinctives of discernment and acceptance and outreach flow into the transforming power of love and hope. May we work to increase combining our efforts to share our abundance.
  6. Quakers often refer to being pacifists because there is that of God in everyone, and therefore we can’t kill God. But despite all the service we and I do, I don’t often hear Quakers articulate that because I believe there is that of God in everyone, each person deserves clean water, food, air, sunlight, etc. I meditated a lot on query # 6 because I notice that I often feel so self righteous and judgmental about composting, recycling, etc, etc, and why can’t others take small steps? I love the idea of creating change through love, being a good example and encouraging rather than judging.
  7. We are not a humble people as a whole-self examination is difficult-we cannot live in community unless we realize what we do affects others. How do we become an example? Be an example of love and hope. How do we discern really what God is saying, consider the difference between discernment and judgment. Commit to communal agreements-make ourselves accountable with our abundance. How do we reach out to those who don’t experience abundance?
  8. I’ve been reflecting on distinguishing “judgment” from “discernment.” To listen deeply-I find it’s useful to suspend judgment/criticism as well as praise. Yet when I openly live in-authentically, i.e. not living according to my own faith-do I lovingly hold myself and my friends accountable to authentically do what we say we do? How do we affirm each other and hold each other accountable?
  9. I am inspired by Micah 6:8, “And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” The way we question ourselves and our behavior in support of each other and do justice and show compassion and share our abundance. It is not easy to do in this consumer oriented world. How can I reduce my energy, food, and environmental imprint on the community and the world? How do I stop talking up more than my share of the world’s resources so others can have some, too. The notion of balance between the needs of the people of the developing world, how to develop their economies and have the where withal to thrive.
  10. Seek ways to engage a greater visibility of the position of respect for each other in community building and relationships. This helps by signaling hope and confidence. Model respect and cooperation, that can be a seed for change.
  11. Be grateful. Think of the world community and its common good. Change my viewpoint. Erase borders and boundaries.