Global Centrum: Chicago
Global Research Assembly
July 30, 1975
I am here this morning to announce that the Movement has discovered that we have but three things to do. One of them is called Social Demonstration, one is called Community Forum and one is called the IntraGlobal Movement. The interesting thing is that you have to do them simultaneously, or it is no good doing them at all. The tactic for doing them is called Metro Cadre. We have already talked about Social Demonstration. This morning I am to talk about Global Community Forum. There will be other talks to come.
The major contradiction to giving this talk is that Joseph Mathews has already given a talk entitled "What is Town Meeting?" a transcript of which you have; Joseph Slicker has already given a talk entitled, "Why Do Town Meeting?" a copy of which you have; a Summer '75 Task Force wrote a document called, "The Profound Function of the Global Community Forum," a copy of which I am sure you will be getting; and fully half of the Summer '75 Task Forces worked on how to do Town Meeting, how to train people, how to set up churches virtually every aspect of how to do this thing. All of this means that the what, why, who, when, where and how all six honest serving men have had their due, leaving me with little more to do but to grind a few axes this morning.
It is a recurring experience these days to start to get your passion out about a subject and to discover, halfway through, that you are only grinding axes. That is because everyone already knows the what, why and wherefore of what you are doing. You will be happy to know that I have resolved this contradiction. I have no axes to grind this morning; I have fortysix hatchets, gestalted into four cleavers.
I would like us to think about Global Community Forum, first of all, from the standpoint of movemental strategy; secondly, as our service to the world; thirdly, as a radical happening; and finally, as calling forth catalytic presence or style of the Movemental Order.
As a Movement we have always had a pincers strategy or twopronged approach. One side of the pincers is the intensive, in which you drive down to the deeps of human life. The other approach is the extensive, in which you cast out to the farthest corner of the globe to deal with every human being who is there.
The Faith and Life Community in Austin was the intensive dimension. It was a demonstration in profoundly understanding what it means to be a community. And RS1 was the extensive, out to the farthest corners of Texas and beyond. Later, the move to Chicago and Fifth City was the intensive, and the national training program in theological education was the extensive. I think we have learned over the years, that you cannot do either one of these things without the other. Unless you get to the bottom of the spirit struggle of a people, you have nothing to say when you go out across the countryside. And you have no credentials or authenticity with which to speak to anyone, unless, in your own back yard, you are implementing what you are talking about reformulation of society. If you are trying to have something radical happen in your own back yard, and you do not have some practical way of caring for the whole globe, you collapse. Your doing becomes simply another project.
Global Social Demonstrations are intensive shoves on the global scale. They are twentyfour intensive thrusts. It is as if the rods in an atomic reactor were being pulled out, released to release unbelievable energy. At the same time, Global Community Forum is the extensive strategy, casting across the totality of the earth's 3 1/2 million people so that one percent of the earth's population may participate in deciding their own destiny. That is what we are about with Global Community Forum rationally distributed across the face of the earth. Global Community Forum represents our move to the masses, our move to the grassroots, our move to local man.
These are public meetings, open to the involvement and the participation of anyone who cares. They are public gatherings. They are held in the language of the people, and we have already had interesting experiences in that dimension. In Canada where the official languages are English and French, we have an English and a French workbook. We are probably all set to do forums in Ukrainian (Northern Canada) and we have already had one in Toronto, where 25% of the participants spoke Chinese. Town Meetings have been held in Spanish in Amarillo, Texas and Miami, Florida. People are raising questions about the use of the red, white, and blue because they are thinking African.
And yet, people want to participate in the experience of the Global Community Forum which cuts across all of those boundaries and comes to grips with the real issues of our time. Our movemental strategy for people in the Context of the Church, was a direct tactic. You had courses in which you told them what you wanted them to wake up to. The Global Community Forum is indirect awakenment. You involve people in life reality; and they discover then and there, or years later, what this reality was.
Our GCF (we were calling the LCC at that point) in Frontenac, Montreal, provided a great experience of how this indirect awakenment goes on. Frontenac is a totally French community. And we sat down with the people handling the preparations. They arranged for a school in which to hold the meeting. Most of our GCP's have been in schools, which is interesting. Anyway, as we reviewed the detailed planning, they said, "It is really great that this school has a nice auditorium with all the seats and the stage where the talks can be given." Well, I knew I had to say something. What came out of my mouth was, "If we set up the place that way, we will be communicating to the people that there are some experts here who will tell us which end is up and the rest of us are passive observers. We would rather have a hall which could be arranged with chairs facing each other. It should be very clear that the people are on stage, that they are making the decisions and that the community is in charge of that day, and that the speakers are simply giving a context or explaining how to do what we were going to do together.
Usually, I give that context in the Daily Office in RS1. The fellow said, "Yeah." From that point on he said, "You just tell us exactly what you want and we will to it." His image of what a community meeting is forever transformed; is forever different. That kind of awakening takes place. It goes on as much in working with people to set one up as it does during the day itself and a lot happens in the day itself. All the RS1 short courses are very useful. If you shift them around a little bit and recontext the contexts, you discover the value in talking about the dynamics of Prima1 community in the practical situation of setting up one of these.
Another strategic handle on Global Community Forum is to say that it is the endrun of the Church par excellence. We used to talk about end run around the Church. I now say it is the endrun of the Church, because in these Global Community Forums, we started to do our endrun and it turns into a sweep. All the people who were with you in spirit anyway in the Church got out of their trenches, run over there with you and help block. Sometimes you lateral the ball to them and they just take it and run with it. This is the way the endrun is beginning to happen.
There is a great example of this. I am extremely proud of my father these days. He catalyzed the largest Town Meeting that has been held yet. It was in Seal, California. Over 400 people, all of them over 50, attended. Seal Beach is a leisure community for people who can afford to retire behind a brick wall with all the benefits of the good life. They even conned my father into being the MC at the last minute. Now the importance of that is that my father has always been for us. He has given us money. He has supported us in courts of the Church establishment where he has influence. But he has never had something he thought he could do in his own congregation or local situation. But when that Town Meeting came along, he saw no reason why he could not do that. He did, and that is literally our experience.
People that have been for us all along finally have something they can do without more training. It just takes the decision to pick up this opportunity, put together the sponsorship, get the ball rolling and running with it. Sackeville, Nova Scotia is another example here.
One of our guardians, Al Levin was over there, and he called on a Roman Catholic priest who has been on our mailing list for years. Al knew this priest but at that time we did not know the guy was on our mailing list. This priest told Al, "Oh, I've heard of the Ecumenical Institute. Are they for real? I get their magazine and it has amazing things in there. Is that for real?" Al says, "Oh yes, it is for real. I will send you a report of the community meeting in our own community, where our branch experiment is." One thing led to another and I made one trip over there. Three months later, we had a Community Forum in Sackeville with 100 people. The ladies of the church cooked 47 casseroles to feed the people. The church choir recorded a song, "I'm Sold on Sackeville" that they played in the shopping center mall. They sold buttons, and they gave away a bike. It was a fantastic happening. We got an unsolicited standing ovation for the ICA at the end of the day.
These people will tell anybody that a community forum is just what your community needs and the workshop leaders we trained will go anywhere in Nova Scotia to help lead them. GCF is instant something and it is not the end run around the Church. It is the endrun of the Church on the old frame of the Church.
The second arena has to do with the Global Community Forum as world service or service to the world. My biggest fear about Global Community Forum is that we are going to mess it up by turning it into movement building rather than service to the world. Building the intraglobal movement is the third campaign. This campaign is just sheer service. We had better tell ourselves before we begin that we are not going to get a movement out of it. We are not doing this to get people for our houses. We are not going to do this to get people to come to other courses. One of the ways in which we have said this to ourselves this year is that "People don't have Town Meetings. Communities have them. Communities have community forums." We are after 1% of the population, which means that we cannot do these ourselves. Community Forums are by the people, for the people, of the people. They do them. All we have is a formula, distilled out of 20 years of grappling with primal community, that we are giving them free of charge. And that formula works. You know it works. It came out of our sweat and blood.
GCF is a global phenomenon. It has to be global. One of the fellows from Britain, a Rotarian, visited Rotary International headquarters in Evanston. After he began to see what we were doing here he suggested that we "Sit down with the director of Rotary International and talk a little bit about this. They like to do global things." Some of us went down there and talked about community forum. It was apparent we would have been dead if all we had to talk about was Town Meeting. We talked about Community Forum Canada, we talked about Town Meeting Britain, we talked about Community Meeting in Australia and we mentioned other things already happening. The General Secretary reminded us that they have 1250 clubs in Japan and 3000 clubs in India. When this thing begins to happen, it happens everywhere or it happens nowhere. Either GCF is for every man, or you have reinforced your borders of prejudice by saying, "This is something only for Americans, or this is something only for Australians, or Canadians, or Englishmen.
The only way to talk about Community Forum, in terms of the service, is to say that it is an answer to the engagement crisis that has been produced by resurgence. Every local man, as you and I are well aware, is sitting around with a ball of fire in his guts because he knows that the world is on his back. He has observed the collapse of governments, other events which tell him that no one else is going to do the job, yet he has no way realistically to engage in that situation. Community Forum awakens him, not to some intellectual presupposition, but into a way, a method. We are betting on indicative battleplanning with Community Forum. We are betting that the methodology is as deep into life as the artform methodology is at the heart of RS1. The artform methodology produces detachment and consciousness. Indicative battleplanning does not produce a plan; it produces engagement.
People come out of these Town Meetings knowing that what they have decided is not final, and not even very good. But they are amazed at what they have done, and the main thing is that they have come out of there engaged. A group of 25 people in the Toronto Community Forum came out of a single apartment building. They did not think much of what was written but they immediately formed a guild to try to deal with getting that apartment building related to the life of that community. People do amazing things on the other side of these happenings and in unpredictable ways. GCF is a vehicle for the transestablishment. It is a lightning rod to attract the transestablishment, and you never know where the lightning is coming from when you go into a town to talk about Global Community Forum.
A guardian from Florida came here in October and became excited about Town Meeting. He found himself having lunch with the VicePresident of Public Affairs for the airline where he works. Several days later, this man explained that because this airline serves all 13 original colonies it is just crucial that it participate in the Bicentennial in some way, but the Board of Directors was shrewd enough to know that if the public sensed the airlines was using the Bicentennial as a way to drum up some extra business, that they would lose. This VicePresident concluded that they had to have some significant sacrificial way to participate in the Bicentennial. And he was in despair about finding anything.
It dawned on this guardian that he ought to say something, and before he knew it, it was out of the bag. This guy had grabbed onto Town Meeting and off he went, to write letters and make plans. Then they ran into a snag. The Board of Directors of the company said, "No, we can't afford this." The VicePresident's secretary turned out to be the first woman president of the management council of the management association of this airline. Some 170,000 members in this airline participate in a voluntary association. Their civic affairs committee was looking for something to do and he thought they might be interested. To make a long story short, suffice it to say, that questionnaires were sent to all of the members of the Management Council, asking them among other things to indicate what roles they would like to play in a Town Meeting. Some choices were workshop leader, orchestrator, MC, etc. etc. They were also asked if they would be willing to generate the sponsorship for one Town Meeting in their own community. The response when I talked to these folks a couple of weeks ago, was running 80% Yes.
They expect to have a demonstration Town Meeting for some 250 to 500. They are not sure how many of those management people, after experiencing a Town Meeting, will generate the sponsorship for a Town Meeting in their communities. But the catch in all of this, the hooker, is that every one of these people know that their communities are mismanaged. They have been waiting for a vehicle by which they could care, with all their management skills, for their local situations. If they learn something about management in the process, why, so much the better. Service you know, there is no movement network in Florida to do this job. There was not until one guardian opened his mouth, and opened up the possibilities for the transestablishment that was already present to participate and engage society.
The third dimension is the radical happening that Global Community Forum is. Actually, Joe Mathews' talk on "What is Town Meeting" touches on everything you could say in this arena. Let me just stress a couple of things. Each community forum is a happening of wholeness. Ways in which people compartmentalize their lives do not become part of Community Forum. There is no difference between work and play. The celebration at lunch is perceived as a change of pace, that is all. It is all one thing.
Sackeville's Global Community Forum was the first community event in which the local women participated. Usually, women provided nursery school service during civic activities. This time a local nursery school volunteered their services. In a community forum with old and young, black and white, French and English, there are no barriers. Tribes of Indians have even dropped in on one of these community forums. You never know what is going to happen, but all the events are appropriated in the course of a Community Forum. There is a lot of rationality in it, but people are amazed at all of the irrationality. At the end of the Sacksville Community Forum, an elder handed a piece of paper to one of the workshop leaders and said, "I've learned more about this community today than I have in living here 50 years. I have written some things down here, but I do not know how to get them into the process. Stick them in somewhere, will you?
It is a happening of wholeness, within which all of life together is proclaimed good. No one ever stands up during a Community Forum, "All life is good." It is a happening. People experience that. Victim images are conquered. When people struggle with challenges in that morning workshop, what they are really coming over against is their limits, but not in an abstract reflective sense. They are overagainst their literal, practical limits in discussing" What are the factors in our situation that are delimiting the future?" In the afternoon, they raise the question of "What are our possibilities?" It is GodinChrist and ChristinGod. Oh, you never stand up and say that. You just involve people in that. And lo and behold, they discover as I never discovered in RS1, what it means to say that your limits are your possibilities, and that your possibilities are your limits. That happens in the midst of community forums.
People discover that they are effective in face of their real limits and possibilities. It is an experience of being social vanguards. You would not believe what a risk it is to most people just to sing a song. In these community forums, people risk all day long. They risk singing; then they even write songs. The grand finale in this drama occurs at the end of the day when one group reads the story they have written out of nothing and everybody knows they wrote it in just an hour. Yet, they read the story as if had been there for a hundred years and they have a fantastic time inventing the future. In the release of profound consciousness during a global community forum, care triumphs over cynicism. In the midst of these forums, hope appears.
Hokendyke in his book, "The Church Inside Out", drew the distinction between propaganda and evangelism. I found this book very helpful several years ago. He said a propagandist expects you to replicate his response to the mystery. The evangelist does not care. As a matter of fact he expects to be amazed by the strange fruit which comes out of the seed that he scatters. GCF is evangelism, not propaganda. I am not asking you to agree with me, but I think that RS1 has become training rather than impact at least in North America, because we expected to get a movement out of it. Global Community Forum is evangelism; as soon as you say that, you have to take that word evangelism and throw it away.
Global Community Forum finally, is an expression of catalytic style of the movemental order. We have discovered that Global Community Forum rides on national piety. It is a national happening. We have ignored national realities for a long time, but now we are taking national piety and blowing the bottom out of it in the same way that Paul took gnosticism in Greece and blew the bottom out of it. We will take Canadian victimism and blow the bottom out of it; we will take American revolutionary fervor and blow the bottom out of it by demanding that Americans be revolutionary now rather than 200 years ago. All you need is an occasion and a body politic. We discovered that fact in the Marshall Islands.
You have a significant decision to make. You can do Town Meetings all over the world. It is a recovery of heritage; recovery of the radical within a particular national heritage. It is a transrational campaign. Some of you may have noticed that the North American grid has broken out in a rash on the map here. Those dots are 216 polls circuits. We found that impacting 1% of the population in North America means doing 10,000 Town Meetings with 200 people in each in the U.S. and roughly 1,000 such meetings in Canada. We have never dared talk to ourselves seriously about that figure, but we have mustered enough courage to name the 5,000 communities from which we intend to hold 1,000 Town Meetings in the U.S. and 130 in Canada in the next 6 months. This means that in a threeweek period starting in 2 weeks, we need to contact all of those 5,000 places and offer them the opportunity to have a Town Meeting or a Community Forum.
My experience before going out to do a metro cadre or going out to generate movement programs in the hinterland is always a little bit like taking me into a room a week before the summer program and saying "Now, Clutz, you go up to the 6th Floor and start on the bathrooms." I would go off to the 6th Floor and I would start working on the bathrooms. Now, I would work hard and if you came around there every so often and reminded me of the importance of what I was doing, I would keep at it longer, but it would not be very long before I would collapse. However, if you filled the room full of people and laid out a plan by which the whole Kemper building was going to be cleaned, and then said "Now, Clutz you do the 6th Floor bathrooms." and I knew that while I was doing the 6th Floor bathrooms the whole Kemper building was being redone, by God, I would work like crazy.
I can't articulate all the reasons for this but you see what I mean. While I am doing my couple of little circuits in Nova Scotia, somewhere the whole continent is coming alive. That is a transrational campaign, and it must go global with 175,000 of these forums over the next 5 years. What would it take to impact 3 1/2 million people?
We have also discovered that because this is awakenment and not movement building, there are many special audiences that present themselves as Community Forum possibilities. Last week, some people did a demo Town Meeting at the Key Club Convention for Texas and Louisiana. They trained some people and spent a half a day planning how participants could return to their communities and generate Town Meetings. We had a Town Meeting in a prison farm in Virginia, where the prisoners sang "I don't know why I love you like I do" to the guards. That story was printed in the paper. And the prison chaplain did the Town Meeting there. It was not us. The guy who did the Key Club Convention was a stalwart Kiwanian.
If we are smart, I believe that we will get a schedule of all the conventions that are going to be held in this coming year, and send them all letters explaining how the Town Meeting is exactly the thing to do at a convention, and then we will see what happens. Let us say we do a Town Meeting for the American Medical Association. All those doctors belong to service clubs. It is good business. They will go back home and tell others about this fantastic experience, show people the workbook, before you know it, our phone will be jangling in here and our circuits will get done simply as we teach Town Meetings and teach other people to teach them. However, we are prepared to win without that. We will build a plan that will pull off those 1,000 geographically distributed Town Meetings and the other 10,000 will be an avalanche after that. That is the catalytic style of the movement that we are in.
I remember very clearly the struggle that our area had in deciding to do Global Community Forum. Community Forum Canada was invented last December. We had a litter bit of a foggy idea that something might be required of Areas Edmonton and Montreal while all this phantasmagoria was happening in the United States. In January all of our people gathered and we knew we had to make a decision on Community Forum Canada. They had pictures of how they were going to bring off their geography from their indicative battleplanning, and so, we had a classical debate. I proposed that we could do everything that the world needed done in Area Montreal by bringing off just two miracles, both the Primal Community Experiment and Community Forum Canada.
We invited discussion to support that proposition and then we all put on the "con" hats. We stated all the reasons why that could not possibly work, and why this proposition was wrong. The best way to deal with bugaboos is just to get them out and look at them. Then, putting our "pro" hats on again, we gestalted into four arenas of impossibility and worked on the ways that we could deal with these contradictions. Then we stood back and said, "Now, what have we said to ourselves?"
It was very clear to us at that point. Our own lucidity told us that not only was Community Forum Canada possible; it was necessary. Moreover, I think that the situation in North America is making a proposal to the globe that this be done everywhere. Making a proposal these days does not mean that you ask people to do something. You go out and do the proposal -- do the demonstration. You will know how serious we are a month from now. I think we are serious. Moreover, the world is waiting for Global Community Forum.
August 3, 1975
Ron Ron Clutz