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Rules and Tools for Radical Pastors #13 – Graduation Day

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Congratulations Rappahannock County and parishioners of St. Peter Catholic Church. You have been successfully organized! Your five-month indoctrination period is nearly at an end. Your new alma mater the Rappahannock Clergy Association (RCA) School of Applied Social Justicism (SASJ) is now preparing you to venture forth and begin your post-graduate studies. We applaud you on your achievement, even if you were and continue to be unwitting.

In working for your newly conferred degree, you have intensely studied almost five full paragraphs from the 246 paragraphs that constitute Encyclical Letter LAUDATO SI’ of the Holy Father Francis on Care for our Common Home. In so doing you have been exposed to nearly 2% of what Pope Francis had to say to the world.

Today, on this Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, let us share with you one of the 241 paragraphs you never encountered during your study of Laudato si’:

  1. Mary, the Mother who cared for Jesus, now cares with maternal affection and pain for this wounded world. Just as her pierced heart mourned the death of Jesus, so now she grieves for the sufferings of the crucified poor and for the creatures of this world laid waste by human power. Completely transfigured, she now lives with Jesus, and all creatures sing of her fairness. She is the Woman, “clothed in the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Rev 12:1). Carried up into heaven, she is the Mother and Queen of all creation. In her glorified body, together with the Risen Christ, part of creation has reached the fullness of its beauty. She treasures the entire life of Jesus in her heart (cf. Lk 2:19,51), and now understands the meaning of all things. Hence, we can ask her to enable us to look at this world with eyes of wisdom.

The unfortunate fact is you will probably never read nor ponder the implications of paragraph 241. Instead you will be deeply involved in your new commission, which is in no way related to the words of The Great Commission related in Mark 16:14-18:

And the eleven disciples went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And seeing them they adored: but some doubted. And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.

Nevertheless, dear friends, you are about to be given your Little Commission by the RCA. This Sunday at the fourth session of the RCA-organized discussion series “On Care for Our Common Home” you will learn about Next Steps Towards Care for Our Common Home. Please read this document very, very closely. You will find nothing about Laudato si’, the words of Pope Francis, or the reflection presented in paragraph 241. Why? Because it was never, we repeat never the intention of the RCA to develop any meaningful action based on the social teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. It has always been about organizing you and inducting you into the ranks of the social justicism radicals. Read and see:

In our Conversations, we have discovered many possibilities for further work – as individuals, as communities, as advocates for public policy, as naturalists, as citizens, as ethicists and philosophers, in quest for social and environmental justice.  We find others who share some of our concerns and quests.

Now that you are preparing to receive your RCA SASJ degree you are ready to take “Your Next Step”:

In taking this step, you are making a commitment to facilitating others’ participation in your endeavor.  Your endeavor could take one of several forms: recruiting volunteers for an existing organization; forming and leading a new group; leading a group on a field trip; hosting a one-time activity.

If you came to this series of discussions expecting to learn how Pope Francis’ encyclical could become a means to “enable us to look at this world with eyes of wisdom” and advance the Kingdom of God, you were mistaken. Perhaps you were even deceived. – In the end, you were organized and indoctrinated to serve the secular humanists and social justicismists rather than the One True God.

Once again, congratulations Rappahannock County and parishioners of St. Peter Catholic Church! You have been successfully organized! Now, take up your green flags and follow your mentors, the professors of the RCA SASJ.

In Rules and Tools for Radical Pastors #1 we presented Saul Alinsky’s  “Rules for Radicals” and Gordon E. Simmons’ Rules for Radical Pastors. In Rules and Tools for Radical Pastors #2 we provided an expanded view of Simmons’ Rules for Radical Pastors. Takes some time now to see how these rules were used by the RCA SASJ.

RULE 1: Build an organization through individual meetings

Building and sustaining an organization requires a great deal of time meeting with people one-on-one. The reason for this is to discover where your leadership is and to develop relationships of trust so that you may call upon that leadership.

This was done in the original development of the Rappahannock Clergy Association and the recruitment of kindred spirits who combined their efforts to bring about the “Care for Our Common Home” forum.

RULE 2: Build an organization by presenting a vision of where you are going and moving toward it.

Saul Alinsky said that people were to have the power that their ideas and programs should come to the surface. But he also understood that the organizer had to capture the best of those ideas and present them as a vision so that people could move toward them. Alinsky wrote, “The organizer’s biggest job is to give people the feeling that they can do something”

This was done both with the RCA/kindred spirits and with the attendees at the Laudato Si’ discussions.

RULE 3: Build an organization through leadership development.

Alinsky had a strong notion that leaders are made and not born. He believed that people’s leadership skills could be developed. He started working among the poor, people among whom some would say leadership skills are lacking. He didn’t let that deter him. Remember the “iron rule” –IAF has a principle called the “iron rule” of organizing. It goes like this: “Never do for others what they can do for themselves.”

The building of an organization started with the discussions and now will continue during the period of “Your Next Step Towards Care for Our Common Home”.

RULE 4: Teaching happens best through an action-reflection model.

The fourth principle is that teaching happens best through an action-reflection model. Alinsky felt strongly that the best model of education is not one of training people and then sending them out to do their work. Rather, the best model involves sending people out to do their work and then helping them to learn about what they are doing.

Alinsky was very intolerant about taking a long time to get things started. He hit the ground running. Get going. Then do your learning through reflection upon what has happened.

There it is! “Your Next Step Towards Care for Our Common Home” exhorts you newly organized recruits to start your own efforts immediately and learn from them.

At the June 12 meeting you will have opportunity to set up a display and/or give a brief presentation to the entire group about your invitation.

The RCA followed the Rules for Radical Pastors and you followed the RCA/kindred spirits. Congratulations and enjoy your new found servitude.

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. I wish Fr. Grinnell was as energetic about teaching the faith as he is about community organizing. After my husband and I took him to lunch, I sent him Stephanie Block’s book on using congregations for progressive politics through Alinskyian organizing. He never responded. I guess he’s too busy organizing. The transformation he envisions is surely not the one envisioned by Jesus.

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