kiss the ground

[In late April, SSU alumna and now MA graduate, Shawna Lucas, gave the SSU convocation address. Here is an excerpt]:

In times of emotional, psychological, and spiritual change, the trauma of that change can lead us to desire quick fixes, surface level technical fixes, such as Aaron advising his community to build a golden calf. My challenge to each of us in this SSU community and those who are visiting today is to not react out of our current grief and pain by building individual or community level technical solutions. Instead, kneel low, dig your hands into the figurative soil that you are rooted in, and breathe life into what is hidden. I can’t tell you exactly what that will look like. It is as varied and creative as there are people in this room. Just as healthy dirt is a response to biodiversity, healthy communities also require diversity. Individuality, diversity of talent, unique identities and perspectives are all needed in building healthy regenerative communities. Bring what you have to the table and be hospitable to the gifts of others… Turn with affection towards the soil beneath your feet, figuratively and literally. As the Netflix documentary title suggests, “kiss the ground.” 

  • Shawna Lucas (you can read her whole address below:)

generous space

[We’ve just benefited from the wisdom and experience of Wendy VanderWal-Gritter as she visited SSU. This is from her new ebook, which you can get from the link below]

If the goal of generous space is to nurture a positive relational experience of unity in the midst of difference, then we do well to test how the theology that undergirds the four core values of generous space serves to promote such unity. Humility calls us to live as incarnational people, willing to strip ourselves of privilege and status. Humility shapes us and prepares us to prefer the other over ourselves as we commit to listen deeply, suspending our desire to persuade and convince. Humility chooses to embrace God’s strategy of powerlessness to overcome systems of evil and injustice. Humility allows us to truly see the other….

Hospitality embraces the reality of difference with the anticipation of a richer and deeper sense of grace and truth as we travel together. When we
live in hospitable communities we ask, “Whose voices are missing?”

Mutuality challenges us to learn to divest and share power. It invites us to learn the grace of “power-with” instead of “power-over”….

We enlarge our vision of justice in the longing for all to flourish in the recognition that if, “I diminish you, I diminish myself.” Justice calls us to live out our interconnectedness. It invites us to cooperate with others to dismantle the barriers that prevent others from flourishing.