Down By the Riverside

March 18th, 2010

I was going to write a sweet little ode to spring this month, and then I turned on my morning radio. I heard a program about some new possible legislation (doesn’t matter which) and listened as the host whipped up an air of opposition between two speakers who were in general agreement with each other. I listened as the conflict got larger and larger, and the content got smaller and smaller. I got so sick of it that I yelled “ENOUGH!” and turned off my radio. My people, I am tired. Tired of our nitpicking, our habit of finding the least little bit of disagreement and pumping it up disproportionately in order to - what? Create energy? Show that we’re smarter/better/more correct? Remind ourselves that we exist?

Enough. And I’m not pointing fingers out – I can clearly see my own patterns of judging, righteousness, or looking for fractures in someone’s critique, etc.

What if we all agreed to lay down our swords and shields? Even for a month? What could happen?

What could happen to our movements, our organizations, our communities, our families? Just for a month.

What if we refused to have an enemy?

I believe that we can all still work vigorously to shift our worlds, to create change and transformation if we did so with cooperation and goodwill. In fact, I believe that we will be far more successful were we to do so. Imagine if, in your next community/staff/board meeting or collaborative effort, there was disagreement without discord, difference without animosity, or challenge without clash of sword or ideology?


It is increasingly clear to me that 21st century transformative leadership requires that we lead toward community and wholeness and away from division and strife. The world can no longer afford anything less.

So I invite you to join me for a month. How about April? Let’s experiment.

I’m going to watch my behavior and do my best to interrupt any pattern I have of distrust, pettiness and looking for division. I’m going to do my best to look for opportunities to create wholeness and community. Even when I’m angry, or disappointed or afraid.

Are you with me?

If so, let’s take a collective deep breath, create a vision of what could happen if everyone (especially ourselves) were committed to a month of cooperation and accord, even when we disagree, and then go to work. Let’s see what transpires.

I’ll meet you down by the riverside at the end of April, and we can talk about how it went.

My love (and cooperation) to you all!


March 2010

Ps. For an extraordinary rendition of “Down by the Riverside” by Sister Rosetta Tharpe, click here>>