[Springboard] a reflection with love

Rob Work warkers at msn.com
Tue Nov 27 11:26:47 EST 2007

Dear friends, colleagues - extended family,


As 2008 rapidly approaches, the 20th anniversary of the calling-out-of-being of the experimental Order Ecumenical is almost upon us. I recall the poetry of that moment in 1988 - "we are dissolving the small order so that we can join and serve the larger order." Indeed these 20 years have found us as individuals, families and teams doing just that. 

We have gone on to do so some amazing things including forming consulting firms, businesses and NGOs, publishing books, getting Ph.D's, launching projects and serving organizations, communities, cities and nations from within and without. We have tried to be good people caring for our families and other beings. Some of us chose to continue serving as staff of an ICA - the NGO that our Order had created as our common, missional vehicle. Whatever we have done, we have learned much and changed profoundly over these two decades. It is also a new world, a new century, a new millennium.


The Springboard phenomenon has allowed many of us alums to reflect in gratitude on our extraordinary journey together. For me it has been 42 years since RS-1 and 39 years since joining the OE/EI/ICA. I am forever grateful for all that I learned, experienced and did and all those I worked with and served. I also cannot help but remember with much emotion all of the precious beings who have passed over in these two decades.


I am tickled and touched that old colleagues are communicating, visioning and excited to reconnect and even to be in the same room together. It is a reunion in the best sense. We are all (much) older. We have lived full lives since we were last together. We have much to share, learn from each other and honor in each other - many tears and much laughter to enjoy.


I am aware of the colleagues whose names and voices we are not seeing or hearing, those who have passed on and also others who are watching and listening without speaking. So many loved one have passed over - Joe and Lyn, Joe Pierce, my own beloved Mary, so, so many. We are the ones who are left behind as it were for a brief moment before we move on to join them in the "endless mystery." Why are we still here? What can we do with our remaining time? Is there something left undone that we old hands can yet do, must do, together? Yes, these are worthy questions.


And those alive but not speaking, where are they? Where are you? Where am I? Is there something here for me? Can something emerge from this dialogue that can claim my being in a way that is not already claimed? We are asking, waiting, watching . . .  And yet, all of those silent either in death or nonspeaking are present, are speaking. We can never forget them. We will forever be grateful for their lives, their words, their passion, their expenditure. It is part of us. Indeed, it is us. There is no separation.


In this current dialogue we are missing many youth, women, non-Americans, non-white and non former OE folks. That is to say that those speaking on the List Serve are predominately "old white American men who were in the OE together." And that includes me! And it is good and we are loved one and all!


Why do I mention this obvious fact? Only to invite other voices and wisdom to participate as they wish and to remind the dominate group to enable this, just a basic facilitator technique.


And what about the hundreds of other living OE alums who are not participating? Why is this? Do they feel welcomed, honored, seen? Is this an OE reunion, the formation of a new Order, part of the global movement of transformation? Are we really interested in opening this, whatever it is, to new folks without OE memory?


I am sure that we were all deeply touched by Joe Slicker's contextual remarks. He calls us far beyond any kind of OE fundamentalism to "let go of the old, embrace the new, be open to this unique moment in history."


We must remember that there are millions upon millions of people around this fair planet who are dedicating their lives to bring about profound change, to create a world that works for everyone, to reinvent societies so that they enable each and every being to realize her or his full potential, to eradicate poverty, to protect and improve the environment, to promote participatory governance, to realize gender equality, to improve health and education for all, to stop the HIV/AIDS pandemic, to train social artists, to catalyze a new mindset and myth of inclusion, and on and on. Every nation has signed on to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) - a never before in history opportunity for humankind and the Earth. We also have the powerful Earth Charter to guide us. ICA International has a new burst of life, and on and on.


What is your unique calling? What is mine? Are we "old hands" yet called upon to do something further together?


Thanks to those who are gathering on our behalf. Thanks to those leading this process. Thanks to those making the electronic communication and repository happen. I look forward to the process of emergence. Let the wild rumpus continue!


Please forgive anything hurtful or unskillful in this message. Please know that I remember you, miss you and love you.


These are the times, and we are the people!


With deep affection and respect,


Rob Work

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