Resilience and Listening

Comments from FAN Board Co-Chair Rev. Carol Jensen at FAN’s Annual Dinner, November 2017

A year ago, when we gathered as FAN in this place, we were reeling in the aftermath of the election, and we knew how much we would need to depend on each other in the months ahead. And so we have, haven’t we? We have stood together this past year – people of different faiths, different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, different orientations – we have stood together to say no to fear and hatred, and yes to an America that welcomes the stranger and cares for the most vulnerable. Our marching shoes are almost worn out, our inboxes are overflowing with opportunities to speak up for our neighbors, and we have deepened relationships with others working for the common good in our state, our nation and the world.

We have found strength for our journey from the Creator and from one another.

Yet, we know the road forward is long and I don’t know about you, but I am feeling like we don’t really have a clear map of how to get to the promised land. We have a dream and we know what we need to do tomorrow and next week but how all our actions add up to become the change we seek is the subject of much debate and more than a little uncertainty.

A word I have been hearing more lately – that I wasn’t hearing so much a year ago – is the word LISTEN. I am an activist, and to be honest not such a good listener unless I am in my pastoral counseling mode. But to create the map to move forward, we are going to need to learn to listen to one another – to learn from people of color if we are white, from women if we are men, from the LGBTQ community if we are straight, from the impoverished if we are people of means, AND from our relatives and friends who voted differently than we did last November.

FAN’s strength is that we are a network of diverse people and organizations. We may seem like-minded on many issues but the reality is – the faith communities that make up FAN include people with many different life circumstances. Through our relationships in FAN we can not only ACT together, we can also LISTEN and learn from one another. We can share our stories and our hopes so that together we can create that map to lead us to the dream of Martin Luther King’s beloved community.

We – as FAN – can be a model for discourse, for learning, strategizing and acting together for change.

*The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are those of an individual and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Faith Action Network. FAN is an interfaith organization, committed to celebrating and embracing the diversity of faith traditions. If you have questions about FAN’s position on any public policy issues, please feel free to contact the FAN office at (206) 625-9790 or [email protected].
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