meetings are the bane of office work, because they interrupt real work, work as individuals; we meet as a group at the water cooler. but in community, meetings ARE the real work, group work. ‘community life implies a personal commitment which is made real in meetings between people…. [yet] we flee from meeting people; we would rather do things for them. but if we are to love, we have to meet.’
there are different types of meetings, including:
all meetings must have clear goals, good guidance, and time to develop. in advance, we must prepare ourselves for them. during, we must surrender our egos, and instead ‘desire to work together to find the truth and the will of’ god/dess.
- start and end on time
- have an agenda
- enable ALL to talk
- encourage EACH to discern
questions, arguments, and motions should be simplified, to the point if possible of needing only a ‘yes/no’ response–no omnibus bills! this takes time! ‘little by little, questions are clarified and the group comes to a decision.’
dissent should be not only tolerated but greatly respected, for the dissenting ‘minority can sometimes be prophetic; it can have a presentiment that something isn’t right…. we should always be attentive to disagreements and give people time…. it is so important in a community for each person to feel free to speak according to the truth of his or her own conscience…. community is not the stifling of individual conscience but rather the enhancing of it, in truth. communities must learn to accept and cherish difference.’
‘in order to discern well, the question or the problem has to be clearly stated in its simplest form…. if the question itself is muddled, or if there are a number of questions in one [like in an omnibus bill], then necessarily the answers will be muddled and unclear.’ this process of discernment may seem inefficient, but it has great benefit for the community.
if you read nothing else on this verbose blog, read this:
‘we are mortals and we are weak, but we are trying to overcome our passions and emotions and to live in truth and the will of god. we are trying to do the best with what we are and what we have. the discernment process is thus a unifying one for the community’ because in part it is ‘positive and non-threatening…. people are listening to each other and understanding better the different points of view. thus, the group is evolving; people’s consciences are being modified. isn’t this what is important?’