Thursday, March 01, 2007


I previously mentioned that I might have to reconsider my blogging approach due to a new job, which I can't really talk about in generic terms that would hide the identity of myself and my employer. But I can't really go without blogging about work either, because it drives much of my thinking lately. So, I might sift through two years of entries and cull some out, so that I can, if called to account, stand behind everything I've written, without qualm. That might not be a bad thing regardless. The internet doesn't need my snideness, really.

I've started the new social justice organizing job, and it is both one of the most enjoyable and most humbling things I've ever done. I work for a community of people. Not an organization, not a staff, or a board - a community. That means that if somebody shows up who is mentally ill, or brain damanged, or senile, or just profoundly traumatized by their life experience, they have no less right than any other member of the community who wants to participate in changing the world. I have to find a way to honor and include them, while also acknowledging and dealing with implications like the basic functioning of meetings, and the discomfort of others, and the privileges of confidentiality.

It means that I work with people who are driven to try to change the world out of a set of spiritual beliefs, and expect that perspective to be incorporated into what we do. What the hell do I have to offer on that score? Having left a perfectly lovely church upbringing and wandered in the proverbial wilderness for fully half my life, my hold on spiritual belief is tenuous at best. If people want me to put humanity's greatest challenges and obligations into some kind of cosmological or spiritual framework, they are barking up the wrong damn tree.

And at the same time, communities can be obsessed with details, threatened by change, wildly unpredictable in what they care about at the most mundane level. "I sure am glad we have two masters degrees between us to apply to such an earthshattering decision,"quipped my boss today as I cornered her to confirm my right to reconfigure a prominantly displayed bulletin board. From that standpoint, there is much potential snideness that I could generate in talking about this job. But it would diminish the rest of it - diminish the people, in all their messy and beautiful human-ness - in a way that I just can't bring myself to do.

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