Thursday, June 5, 2014

(Anti)-Slavery Campaign: Vision, Strategy, Methodology

"We are all called to be 'monks outside the walls,' but also 'missionaries within the walls,' and paradoxically to integrate both vocations in one."

Yago Abeledo


“Pastoral ministry in a missionary key seeks to abandon the complacent attitude that says: “We have always done it this way.” I invite everyone to be bold and creative in this task of rethinking the goals, structures, style and methods of evangelization in their respective communities.”

Pope Francis
The Joy of the Gospel, 33

"In a quantum logic, it is impossible to expect any plan or idea to be real to people if they do not have the opportunity to personally interact with it. Reality is co-created by our process of observation, from decisions we the observers make about what we choose to notice. It does not exist independent of those activities. Therefore, we cannot talk people into our version of reality because truly nothing is real for them if they haven't created it. People can only experience a proposed plan by interacting with it, by evoking its possibilities through their personal processes of observation." 

Margareth J. Wheatly
Leadership and the New Science

The invitation to imagine something as if it were to be true.



"Where there is no distinction between slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all" (Colossians 3:11).

"... so that God may be all in all" (1 Corinthians 15:28).

"I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10, 10).

“Whatever you do to the least of my brethren you do to me” (Matt. 25:40).


I would like to illustrate four moral equivalencies that I see as the foundational message of Jesus. This might help us understand the whole reason for non-dualistic thinking.

1. Jesus creates an equivalency with himself and the Father. “The Father and I are one” (John 10:30). Because we made Jesus different than ourselves, we thought Jesus was just talking about himself. We did not understand Christ as the corporate personality wherein he is the stand-in for all of us. He really meant for us to follow him on this same path. We are supposed to be able to say at the end of our spiritual journey that we, too, are one with the Father.

2. The second moral equivalency is with Jesus and other people. “Whatever you do to the least of my brethren you do to me” (Matt. 25:40). This is a mystical way of knowing. A dualistic mind cannot understand this thinking because dualistic thinking usually excludes those who are “least” by my definition. With a non-dual mind we are able to see each and every person as an “Alter Christus,” another Christ. 

3. The third moral equivalency is with any person and God. “The Spirit is with you. The Spirit is in you” (John 14:17). Jesus closes the gap between God and us. As St. Paul says, “You are all temples of the Holy Spirit and the Spirit dwells in you” (1 Corinthians 3:16). This levels the playing field of humanity. Theologically, we are all of equal dignity and importance. Only a non-dualistic mind can get this, however. The dualistic mind will always make distinctions at a lower level and cannot usually get beyond them. 

4. The fourth moral equivalency is between yourself and any other person. “In everything, do unto others what you would have them do unto you” (Matt. 7:12). How you love one person is how you love every other person, and how you love other persons is how you should love yourself, and how you love yourself is how you should love other persons! 

Such non-dual seeing of everything really is enough to change the world.

Richard Rohr

"I have found in people’s hearts the echo of the sentiment expressed by the ancient poet: Homo sum, et nihil humani a me alienum puto (Quote from Terence: Heautontimoroumenos, v. 77) 'I am a man and nothing of what is human is foreign to me.' It is a cry that came out from Rome and which, also, has its echo through the whole universe. I am a man; injustice towards other men revolts my heart. I am a man; oppression fills my nature with indignation. I am a man; cruelty against so many of my fellows inspires nothing but horror in me. I am a man, and what I would want done to give me freedom, honour, the sacred bonds of family, I want to do to restore family, honour, freedom to the sons and daughters of this unfortunate race."

Charles Lavigerie
Church of the Gesù
23 December 1888

Artist: Gaia Orion


“The inner self, relationships and the world are all aspects of the same community process.”

Arnold Mindell

Strategy is a high level plan to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty. Strategy generally involves setting goals, determining actions to achieve the goals, and mobilizing resources to execute the actions. A strategy describes how the ends (goals) will be achieved by the means (resources). Strategy can be intended or can emerge as a pattern of activity as the organization adapts to its environment. 

Components of strategy:

Professor Richard P. Rumelt says that a good strategy has an underlying structure he calls a kernel. The kernel has three parts: 1) A diagnosis that defines or explains the nature of the challenge; 2) A guiding policy for dealing with the challenge; and 3) Coherent actions designed to carry out the guiding policy.

Source >>

Strategic planning:

Strategic planning is an organization's process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy. 

Strategic planning is a process and thus has inputs, activities, and outputs. It may be formal or informal and is typically iterative, with feedback loops throughout the process. 

The way that a strategic plan is developed depends on the nature of the organization's leadership, culture of the organization, complexity of the organization's environment, size of the organization and expertise of planners.

The purpose of planning is not to write a plan. It is to increase your ability to serve your mission.

Organization and management sciences today are placing a great deal of attention to naturalistic approaches to development.  One of the most prominent approaches is called “self-organizing” systems.  These are systems that develop primarily according to certain values, rather than according to specific procedures.

Biological systems (people, plants, animals, etc.) are fine examples of self-organizing systems.  They might grow in any variety of ways – ways which are rarely sequential in nature.  However, these biological systems always develop according to certain key principles or values, such as propagation of their species and self-preservation.

What is an Organic Approach to Strategic Planning?

This is a rather unconventional approach to planning – certainly, an approach that some might argue is not strategic at all.  However, the value of this approach is that it can match the nature of certain types of organizations much more closely than the traditional, linear approaches.  It might even be argued that the linear approaches can even hurt these types of organizations as their members struggle to conform to a planning process that is quite contrary to their nature.

To become a master strategist, you must develop strategic intuition.  

The best decision-makers in chaotic “fog of war” conditions seem able to call on intuition – knowing what to do without knowing why or how they know.

Pattern recognition, by the way, is a key indicator of whether someone has begun to develop a “Zen” way of knowing about his or her field of expertise. 

Humans must first find the unified field of love and then start their thinking from that point.” 

R. Rohr

"Humanity is going to require a substantially new way of thinking if it is going to survive. Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.” 

Albert Einstein

to achieve the Vision


“If we want to discover the dynamic force that drove Lavigerie during his campaign, we will not find it in theological principles, but in one single word which he had chosen as his Episcopal motto “Charity.” Above all else, Lavigerie was an apostle driven by love.”

Francois Richard

However, this history also teaches us that works of charity alone cannot eliminate slavery from our society. Lavigerie himself noted this, saying: But I repeat, my dear brethren, that charity, however great it may be, will not suffice to save Africa. A more prompt, more efficacious and more decisive remedy is needed. To achieve this, therefore, works of charity have to go hand in hand with works of justice. We further learn from our Founder that evangelisation has to go hand in hand with social activism if it is to become an effective anti-slavery instrument. We need laws and social structures (cf. antislavery laws and societies / associations) to prevent and eliminate the root causes of slavery

Richard Nnyombi


“Nobody can go off to battle unless he is fully convinced of victory beforehand. If we start without confidence, we have already lost half the battle and we bury our talents.”

Pope Francis
The Joy of the Gospel, 85

“The great teachers are saying that you cannot start seeing or understanding anything if you start with “No.” You have to start with a “Yes” of basic acceptance, which means not too quickly labeling, analyzing, or categorizing things in or out, good or bad. You have to leave the field open.” This is a lifetime of work and honest self-observation to stop judging or starting with “no.” You really know only that which you first love. Once you have learned to say a fundamental yes, later no’s can be helpful and even necessary: without them, you have no protected boundaries or identity

Richard Rohr
 The Naked Now


Link interview with Diarmuid O'Murchu >>

“The first page of the bible is a powerful antidote to negativity. “He looked...and found it very good.” With the same eyes Jesus looked at every person and he saw goodness in the most wicked. The substratum of all reality is goodness, evil is put on later. But it takes effort and discipline to constantly return to the divine view of people and search for their basic goodness.”

Wolfgang Schonecke
Link Interview >>







“Even in the best families there are some members who go through a rough time. Community conflicts are necessary: we can’t dream of a community or any human group which is free of conflicts and we must tolerate them and overcome them not by eliminating or ignoring them but by facing them. At times, we can be very cruel to each other. We are all tempted to criticise either because we think we are better or for some personal gain.” 

Pope Francis 
to the Union of Superiors General 
(Rome, 27th-29th November, 2013)

"We can’t avoid conflict but we mustn’t remain stuck in it either: we need to tackle it and behave like wise people trying to find possible solutions. Patience and tenderness are the virtues we need. It is painful but it’s the only way forward."

Richard Baawobr 


Link interview with Joanne Lauterjung Kelly >>

“it is interesting that Jesus identifies forgiveness with breathing, the one thing that we have done constantly since we have born and will do until we die. He says God’s forgiveness is like breathing. Forgiveness is not apparently something God does, it is who God is.” 

Richard Rohr

10. INVISIBLE STRUCTURES (fields, systemic thinking)

A methodology does not set out to provide solutions but offers the theoretical underpinning for understanding which method, set of methods or so called “best practices” can be applied to a specific case.

See Butterfly Model >>

Integration of Practice, Theory and Research

Principles of Liberation Theology in Lavigerie's Thought 
(Source: Laurenti Magesa) 

In his struggle against the Slave Trade, Cardinal Lavigerie based much of his argument on the authority of the Scriptures and the Great Tradition of the Church, emphasizing what we would today call the hermeneutical or pastoral circle/spiral, or the process of See, Judge, Act. In this he anticipated in practice the praxis of Liberation theology which proceeds on the basis of four key moments: Insertion, Social Analysis, Theological Reflection, and Pastoral Planning.

Lavigerie's Insertion

The moment of insertion implies practical experience and familiarity with the situation at hand. Thus Cardinal Lavigerie did not just imagine or read about the horrors of the slave trade; as is clear in his speeches and letters, he had personal first hand experience of the trade or knew about it through his missionaries all over the continent. It was on the basis of these experiences that he gained authority to speak about the horrors of the trade with confidence. He provided in his speeches and addresses vivid illustrations of the situation so that he was uniquely able to directly touch the minds and hearts of his hearers. 

Lavigerie's Social Analysis

As is clear from the sources available, Cardinal Lavigerie's campaign demonstrated the social and moral implications of the trade. He thus took into account the second moment of the circle, the moment of social analysis. In this moment, the experiences obtained at the moment of insertion must not be considered in an isolated way. “These experiences must be understood in the richness of all their interrelationships,” as Joe Holland and Peter Henriot point out. “Social analysis examines causes, probes consequences, delineates linkages, and identifies actors. It helps to make sense of experiences by putting them into a broader picture and drawing the connections between them” (Holland and Henriot 1983, 8). Cardinal Lavigerie used much space in all of his presentations to show these connections, linkages and consequences.

Lavigerie's Theological Reflection

Data experienced and analysed in a comprehensive way must be interpreted at the third moment “in the light of living faith, scripture, church social teaching, and the resources of tradition” (Holland and Henriot 1983, 9). As Christians, we must allow everything that we do to be interrogated and judged by the word of God.

Lavigerie's Plan of Action

Cardinal Lavigerie exhibited sufficient familiarity with this teaching so that as a result and in the context of this teaching, he did not fail to present his audiences with a plan of action, namely, pastoral approaches to eradicate the trade. True to the method of Liberation Theology, Cardinal Lavigerie combined together academic and activist processes (Wijsen, Henriot and Mejia 2005, 108ff.). Even more importantly, he concretely identified himself with the situation of oppression.

RESOURCE MATERIAL: STAR (Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience) Link Interview with Elaine Zook Barge >>