N.A. Guardian Consult

ICA: Chicago

April 16­18, 1982


This past year the regional team has come alive in a brand new way for me. My colleagues on my regional team are spread across the towns of Arizona, New Mexico and the E1 Paso area. All of you gathered here from across the continent are also part of my team, as are many others spread around the world. Today I want to say a few words about one of the members of my particular Regional Team in the desert southwest.

His name is Eusebio Kino, and he was a Jesuit priest in the Papago Indian villages of northern Mexico and southern Arizona in the 1600's. During his theological training as a Jesuit in Europe he had developed a powerful vision of being of significant service to the world. His dream was to follow in the footsteps of his society's founder, Xavier, and go to China. When his assignment came, it was for Mexico­­­ and he struggled with receiving and accepting this apparently "less significant" assignment. However, once he accepted the assignment, he was eager to go immediately. His impatience to get at the job was frustrated. He was informed he needed practical social and economic methods and needed thorough preparation and training. His sixteen long years of further training included cartography. He studied cartography because where he was going there were no maps, and he wanted others to be able to follow where he had been. He studied linguistics, because where he was going no Europeans had ever learned the local languages, and he wanted to be able to be a translator to teach others to speak to the local people. He studied architecture, because there would be no one else with the artistic, design and construction skills to build mission churches. He studied animal husbandry and agriculture to bring the latest methods for improving the economic self­sufficiency of the local people.

When he finally reached the barren deserts beyond the reach of the Spanish missionary and colonial society in Mexico he began circuiting the villages. He never opened a mission where he was not invited. He required of every local mission outpost that he established that it be completely self­sufficient, living off the land, and being a demonstration of new methods of farming and local enterprise. Two foundational principles were required of every priest operating a local mission. The liturgy, the symbols of the Jesuit's profound life of service, were to be rehearsed daily with care, reverence and meticulous attention to honoring the symbols. Secondly, that rehearsal of the particular religious understanding was never to become a source of self­righteous separation from the local people. He insisted on the acknowledgment of their profound humanness, rehearsed and symbolized as it had been through their own traditions. ­

He continued to circuit on horseback for more than twenty years, and on his deathbed happened to be in one of the smallest, "less significant" of the thirty missions in the area. His associates urged his removal to his "headquarters" mission, which he refused­­ stating with indignation that "where I am right now is a fine place to die­­ no where else is any more "significant."

Just within the last ten years archeologists have finally discovered his grave, under what was the floor of a church in the little town of Magdalena. It is quite an experience to look down at his skeleton exposed there as it was found, with a metal crucifix corroded, resting on his clavicle.

Father Kino shows up from time to time when I most need him on my team. I remember many times when I have looked for "somewhere else more significant" to engage my care...for instance in summer 1964 when significant care seemed to require being in Mississippi...and I was stuck in New York with my husband and baby daughter. At those times, I remember Father Rino, and I realize that right where I am, in Phoenix, with my particular family, my particular Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, my particular school system...that is where I find myself. That is where my expenditure, my death is. Right here, right now. For all of us, in this time of the guild, and as we are located in particular situations, locations, structures, we all have the possibility of demonstrating the style of engagement, of fulfillment, of possibility right where we are. There is in fact no where more significant to expend our lives.

Marion Emerson

Daily Ritual Qtr. III Week 12


Chicago Nexus March 21, 1983


ACT: Act of Compassion

LINE: "Let us stand present to the structures of planet earth."

FOCUS: The Family

The "Chicago Sun­Times" carried an article last Tuesday entitled: "American marriages up, divorces down in 1982." In the midst of a springtime of options in family forms, an older choice emerges as a viable option. Here are a few sentences from that article:

* "More Americans got married last year than ever before, and the number of divorces dropped for the first time in two decades, the government reported Tuesday."

* "The marriage rate in 1982 rose to 10.8 per 1,000 population. The rate is the highest since 1973, and the third highest in 32 years . "

* "While marriages were rising, divorces were dropping. The statistics show 1.8 million couples were divorced in 1982, 3 percent fewer than the year before and the first decrease since 1962."

* "What we're seeing is that both marriage and divorce rates have stabilized after a period of sharp change in the 1960's and 1970's, Johns Hopkins University sociologist Andrew Cherlin said in an interview. "

Taking an historical look at the family, Toffler rehearses where we have come from through his 'wave' images. During the 'First Wave', families were bound together sharing a work load in a non­industrial society. The 'Second Wave' brought means to give over previous family responsibilities to society structures. For example, schools educated the children. The source of earning money was away from the family in the industrialized society. The family was to supply psychological needs of support, companionship, warmth, and love with a capital L.

Then came the period of rapid change in the 60's and 70's. Statistics from the Bureau of the Census of March, 1980 bear the documentation of the radical evolution

those 2 decades helped to freight into being.

Statistic: 30 percent of American households consist of married couples with no children, or none living at home.

Statistic: 22 percent of American households consist of one person living alone.

Statistic: 21 percent of American households consist of both a father and a mother who are both wage earners and have children at home.

Statistic: Only 11 percent of American households include a father who is the sole wage earner and a mother who is a full­time homemaker with children at home.

There were smaller percentages for other forms, but clearly the 'Second Wave' family of father working and mother at home with the children is echoed in only l1% of American families today.

Yet, at the same time, Betty Friedan in her book, The Second Stage, talks about the family of today as the new frontier where the issues of the second stage of the feminist movement will be joined. She calls the family the "nutrient matrix of our personhood". We were all born in families and grew up in families. Our children and their children will grow up in different kinds of families, but they are families. Betty Friedan goes on to say that the promise of the future lies in transcending that separation of the sex roles in work and family. Structuring parenting time for both parents, work policies that enable persons to hold jobs while maintaining a strong family life, and quality child­care centers are pointed to. We see examples emerging in the workplace: flex­time, job­sharing programs, dependent­care options, flexible leave policies for both sexes, etc.

We as a Family Order within this history and this current matrix bring gifts to society. We have pioneered in structural modes of corporate child care. We live out of a time design with designated family time. We operate out of image change as the mode of behavior modification in the context of a comprehensive, spiral curriculum. We are a Family Order of multi­family forms.

We as a Family Order stand present to the family structures of planet earth and with compassion and on behalf of, we continue to experiment on ourselves toward participating in ushering in the new dimensions of care for the nutrient matrix of society, the family.

Lonavala Meeting March 7-9, 1982


The witness this morning is on confession. My confession has to do with the various illusions I've had to give up in the arena of creating consensus. Over the past 8 years, I've been involved in several consensus-building processes - CEMs, launching IMAGE, the Global Symposium, the Women's PSU, the IERD. The first thing I discovered is: 1) Meetings don't create consensus. Meetings are for us what voting is for political parties. We joke about how those who vote "No" don't go along with the majority. In our outfit meetings have the same aura - if I wasn't at the meeting it isn't a consensus. We all know that just because this group meeting here makes a decision, that does not constitute a consensus for the order.

I also discovered that 2) centrum or panchayat recommendation doesn't create consensus. We don't believe in bureaucracy. No one tells anyone else what to do. We may consider someone's suggestion, but until we have been given an opportunity to sit down and think something through for ourselves, we don't implement recommendations no matter who they come from.

I was in the Operations Band meeting that decided some marking of the completion of the 24 HDPs was necessary. One week after the meeting the arduous process of creating consensus began.

The last image to go, perhaps because it is less self-consciously held, had to do with speeches and proclamation. 3) Speeches don't create consensus, nor does flat action. I've watched people give impassioned speeches about which they obviously cared very deeply and had done a lot of personal brooding. But speeches don't provide people with the experiences and exposure out of which to form their own posture. We are not a group of followers - we believe in and exercise our freedom.

Out of these illusion-breading experiences I have reached three conclusions about creating consensus. The first is: 1) It begins with someone staking their life on something; not in the combative sense of "I'm going to fight to the death for my idea." This has to do with plumbing the depth of your own soul and deciding that this arena in which you have a vision is something over which you are willing to expend your total creativity - including the expenditure it will take to create consensus.

The second, if you'll excuse the imagery, is that you have to drop "goo" everywhere. This image is from the Belgian scientist Iyla Perigogine's experiments in discontinuity. He describes the process by which termites build their nests. When they enter new habitation, they move in totally random fashion across the surface, dropping goo anywhere and everywhere. The goo contains an attractant which draws other termites to drop their goo in proximity. The work which is done in isolation soon is abandoned and walls and pillars of goo begin to appear. A point is reached in the process when the design and structure are set. What began as random activity ends in clear order.

In creating consensus - you don't just talk to the Panchayat, or to the Priors, or to the Nexus - you drop goo everywhere and anywhere. You never know when you start where the consensus will begin to build.

The third learning is that you listen to everyone and you pull together what people are saying into consumable form. This listening and pulling together is not something that happens naturally. It's usually done in the cracks, late at night or early in the morning by someone who has decided to take responsibility for creating consensus.

Finally, creating consensus is an act of prayer. It begins with the confession that the dream you have cannot be realized without the assistance of your colleagues. You are helpless to bring off your vision alone. The victory of consensus always requires surrender. The consensus that's formed is never like the image you started with. This is not compromise - it is surrender to history as it finally evolves.

I confess that creating consensus is an act of prayer and is utterly necessary.