Questions for the Week:
What are different ways that you've seen faith incorporated into a wedding service? / Do you believe in "the one true love"?
Rev. Dr. Wanda M. Lundy, Assistant Professor of World Christianity, Director of Mentoring for Thriving in Ministry in the City (MTMC) and Director of the Eleanor Moody-Shepherd Resource Center for Women of Faith at New York Theological Seminary, & Pastor at Siloam-Hope First Presbyterian Church
Rev. Edwin González-Castillo, Associate for Disaster Response in Latin America & the Caribbean, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
I am a leader of a faith-based organization and looking to re-orient our organization’s practices and policies (internally and externally) to better align with our progressive Christian values and recent events such as the #MeToo Movement, Black Lives Matter protests, and an increasing sense of global connectedness. Are there others who have tried to plan and implement similar changes in their organization? What guidance do you have?
Path of Peace Reflections
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54:33: Rev. Lee, Hun-sam (Pastor, Junim Presbyterian Church, Seongnam, Korea)
“Because of the Joint South-North (North-South) Prayer for Peace & Reunification on the Korean Peninsula, representatives of the South Korean and the North Korean churches meet in person, transcending their disconnection [through division].”
55:15: Jeong Seon-nyeo (Leader, Gangjeong Mission Station of the Catholic Church & Peace Activist in Gangjeong Village, South Korea)
“But because consistency is very important for our peaceful protest in Gangjeong Village, we try to exercise patience, and make sure the dances and other protest activities continue, even when it is hard.”
00:03 – Simon Doong
Hello, and welcome to a matter of faith a presby podcast, the podcast where we respond to your questions and comments on issues of faith, social justice, and church life. Don't be afraid to write in and ask your question. Because if it matters to you, it matters to us. And it just might be a matter of faith,
00:21 – Lee Catoe
whether it be faith in God, faith and others or faith in yourself. We are brought to you by the Presbyterian peacemaking program and unfound, the interactive journal on Christian social justice for the Presbyterian Church USA. I am your host, Lee Kato,
and I'm your host Simon doon.
Without further ado, let's dive into today's questions.
Well, Hey, y'all. Oh, this is Episode 27. That writes, Episode 27. As a matter of fate, the presby podcast and we are so grateful that people are listening. And we cannot believe that, you know, we've done this many of these episodes. I can't believe we've done this many. Really? Neither. Yeah, it's been. It's been great to talk to our guests. And it's been really awesome to, for all these questions. And yeah, we're gonna just plug like, if you're not a subscriber, subscribe. If you haven't left a review, it's very easy to do just go on to platform. Apple podcast is pretty easy. Stars give us hopefully five stars, but also leave us a little review. It can be short, it can be sweet. Doesn't have to be long, but that would be awesome. It really helps out. But anyway, so happy 27th episode, Simon, and how are you doing today?
01:54 – Simon Doong
I'm doing okay, Lee. I am, like you said grateful that we are able to record Episode 27. And, you know, I also just had a very interesting thought, which is that, Lee, I think you and I have only actually ever met in person once or twice.
02:11 – Lee Catoe
Yeah, I think it's only been once I think it's been, we met monitoring at montreat College conference. And yeah, I mean, that's it.
02:18 – Simon Doong
Yeah, that was in January 2020. So we have this is an endeavor that was started completely virtually, and has continued completely virtually so far. But I think I think that's pretty amazing.
02:31 – Lee Catoe
Yeah. So it's been my story for the past like couple like two years, because I haven't met a lot of people I've worked with. And you know, with the show that will just talk live that destiny and I do. I've only met destiny a couple. I mean, maybe a couple times, and half the people that everyone thinks I'm really good friends with. Yeah, I've never met I met our one of our friends male for the first time since I met her a few weeks ago. And so it is very interesting that in like last last episode, we talked about how to develop relationships over smartphones and digital. And I think it's very, very, very possible. One day we'll hang out Simon. We live closer now.
03:20 – Simon Doong
Yep, yep. that we do. Yeah, I think it's just amazing that a we've been going this this long this strong and only met in person actually wants but I guess it goes to show you folks you can make friends over virtual means down to don't discount that.
03:37 – Lee Catoe
Yeah, we did. We did hang around each other for like, four days, though, right?
03:42 – Simon Doong
Yep. Yeah, that is true. Well, speaking of people, you know, hanging around, there's.. that was a terrible. We can just go into the question. Yeah. Let's just go into the question. I couldn't come up with a good segue. The first question for today reads, “what are different ways that you've seen faith incorporated into a wedding service?”
04:11 – Lee Catoe
Many different ways. I think. Yeah. And it's interesting. And we can talk about like the history of weddings, history of marriage. And our, you know, in our tradition, that's not a sacrament. Like, I mean, there is so many different things. And it wasn't really meant to be religious to begin with marriage. It was always civil until the you know, the pope got in it and all this other kind of stuff. You can kind of read upon that, but I do think it is. Yeah, I've seen so many different ways of doing it. And I've also seen hybrid way well, like if, if, if you marry someone of a different faith based like faith traditions I've seen like these these beautiful services that are kind of done to honor both people's faith traditions. Yeah, and I've and I've seen tradition and non-traditional, I've seen so many different ways like where people aren't necessarily churchy folk but want something spiritual, I think I've seen that more so now and less traditional ways. And I've also seen this kind of how faith has evolved and specifically in progressive theology, you know, like, weddings can get very icky when you see it when you hear the, I'm giving the bride over. And the bride is the gift, you know, for like, all these kinds of things that is very, like problematic. And so I've seen, I've seen weddings where that is, but I also have seen weddings where that has been a challenge that's been challenged, and the liturgy has changed and how someone is married has changed. How a couple is married has been changed. And so I think that's been something that has been interesting to me is to see the evolution of theology integrated into somebody's commitment to their partner, a mutual commitment to their partner. So yeah, I've seen it in so many different ways.
06:17 – Simon Doong
Yeah, I love like you mentioned about the combination of traditions that can come together in a single sort of ceremony. I was at a wedding a couple years ago, the groom was Jewish. And the bride was Chinese American, and, and Christian, more or less. And they incorporated elements of both traditions into their wedding, for example, they did do the hora, which is a traditional wedding dance that you do in the Jewish tradition. There's also a, a Chinese tradition. And I think I'm describing this correctly. Normally, it wouldn't necessarily happen at the wedding itself, it might be done beforehand, but they sort of incorporated into the wedding, where the bride and groom will be seated on the floor, across a table from the parents, and they will pour tea for the parents as a symbol of respect and blessing sort of asking for blessing sort of. And so what this couple did was, instead of doing that, outside the wedding, they poured wine seat, just add a regular dining table as at the wedding party reception, but in the spirit of that tradition, and then there was also a lion dance. And so I remember the I think it was the groom's mother said, I don't think I've ever been to a wedding where there has been both the hora and Alliant dance. But I love that I love that, that creative combination of traditions. So I think that's something there's something really special to that. And in terms of like other ways that we clearly see faith incorporated into a wedding service. I think one of the big ones is location, is the does the wedding take place in a church? Is it inside? Or is it outside? Or is it at a wedding at a sort of wedding venue, a place that just does weddings? Or is it at a fancy hotel, or one of my favorite weddings I ever went to was in a brewery. And it was fantastic. But each location sort of can have an element of spiritual illness or not. And add that to the ceremony. I think there's also a question about the person officiating the wedding, if they're a pastor, or if they're clergy or a religious figure, or sometimes it's just a friend of the couple. Sometimes it's a military official kind of just depends. And then there's obviously the other there's the elements of the service itself. Like are there hymns, or spiritual songs or their prayers, or their scripture readings? Is there a homily or a short sermon that's delivered by the pastor or the person officiating wedding? Again, I've been to weddings that have all of those things. And I've been to weddings where the bride and groom are the married couple, both processed in and processed out to themes, musical themes from video games. So it really just depends on what you own what you're looking for. And then there's also something to be said about the length of the ceremony itself. Because if you're going at a very traditional Christian religious ceremony, that has the prayers and the songs and the scripture readings, that just adds up time. And so some people don't want that in their wedding. And so they'll cut some of those elements out, sometimes they just want to do maybe a little prayer or a blessing. They each say something or not, and exchange the rings in the vows and walk out and it's done in 15 minutes and now the party begins. So it really depends on the you know, on the couple to be but there are a variety of ways to incorporate faith into your service. I don't know if you have any Find wedding stories Li of any of weddings that you've been to that you thought were particularly memorable.
10:05 – Lee Catoe
Yeah, I. So yeah, and the, the Presbyterian tradition there is, you know, like this layout already set kind of for what a wedding should look like. And it is pretty long. And I do remember, one of my good friends really wanted that, that wedding that type of wedding. No, and it was long, but it was also very beautiful. It was the first same sex wedding I've ever been to. And, and I remember that, that being set within kind of a very traditional wedding, and how those kinds of things in like a, in a broader sense, people couldn't, you know, reconcile together, that two people who loved each other have the same gender expression, they married each other within a very traditional wedding sense. And so that was very powerful to me. And like during that part of the wedding, you know, added a lot of flexibility. And there was at the, towards the end, there was like a candle lighting ritual that people lit candles for couples. And for people who didn't get that chance this was this was set right after gay marriage passed to an a federal federally. And for many of us to go up and light candles for our siblings, you didn't get that chance to do so was very, very powerful to me. And I'll never forget that. And it was also very powerful to my partner who we had just met, and I kind of brought him along to this wedding. And for him to see that to both of us being raised in very conservative kinds of circles to see that opened his eyes as well, to what you know, a wedding service. That was also very fate base could be. And so I do remember that being very, very powerful. And it was kind of in the theology that like, you know, we are all loved by God, and we are all created in God's image. And that was very much reflected in the service instead of be reminded of that. And to see, you know, our good friends getting married was very, very powerful to me. So I think there Yeah, there's so many different ways to do it. But I hope that in and many ways that the theology around weddings, we can get there for it to be like a fully, you know, healthy and life giving theology where there's mutual consent, and, and all these kinds of things. So that's where I get a little iffy about weddings, and also the fact that weddings cost so much. Another. That is another thing that I wonder in a faith aspect to have the amounts. Now I will say my friends got their money's worth, because the service was about an hour or so. But for like, 15 minutes, I don't know. But yeah, I think I think all those all those questions kind of come up with sir me when I think about weddings, but that's probably the most memorable one. And the one where I was like, yeah, this is a, this is the kind of wedding that I can hop on board with.
13:33 – Simon Doong
Yeah, I love what you, or maybe not love what you said. But it really resonated to me that what you said about the cost of wedding so that was like, that's the other thing. It's, it's Who is this wedding for? Is it a production for everyone else? Or is it about the couple? That's the, you know, the folks that are actually getting married? And I think that that leads to a question about where faith plays into that ceremony and into that relationship or not. Because if we're doing it, if you're doing something for other people, then Frankly, I don't think you should be getting married. Yeah. And wedding and wedding planning in general is just very stressful. It's stressful for the families involved, especially for the people who are getting married. There are so many, so many parts to it. And, you know, for people that that do get married, I've always kind of like how did you put all that together because it to me, every time I talk to someone, I rarely hear of a wedding that went off without a hitch that wasn't stressful, that didn't have someone being really anxious about something. And sometimes a simpler wedding is better. But if you want to go big, that's totally fine. But also think about the resources that you're putting into it as well. Because that's also resources that could be used on other parts that you can other parts on other things that you can use in your married life together.
14:57 – Lee Catoe
It's true now but people love a good party. And I will say, some of the best parties. I've been to are wedding receptions.
15:06 – Simon Doong
Oh, I Oh, I totally agree. Yeah, definitely some of the best parties have been at at wedding receptions. Also, it's weddings are an excuse for people to dance that are true that would not go to another, say another type of venue for dancing. Oh, fully agree. Yeah. And it brings together often people of different generations, which is also kind of unique.
15:33 – Lee Catoe
Yeah, it's very true. Like, I mean, at one wedding, I found myself like, I don't know doing like a line dance with somebody's grandmother. You know, I mean, like, that's just, that's just kind of how it happens. But yeah, wedding gel a lot to think about there. And this must be kind of like our lovey dovey episode Simon. Because we got another question. And that also, not in the same route. Its kinda sorta, very simple: “Do you believe in the one true love? Or the ‘one’?” Do you believe in the one the one true love? Are we gonna have to watch what we were going to have to watch what we say? Just as a disclaimer? Yeah, as you you know, we have people in our lives. So yeah.
16:22 – Simon Doong
I'm just gonna go ahead and say it straight up. No, I do not. I believe in better combinations of people, if that makes sense. So you can have two people, that may be a better combination, they work together, they understand each other better, they get along better than say, those same people in relationships with a different person. So I think that there may be optimal combinations of people, and personalities and values and lifestyle. But I don't know if I would say that, I believe in the one per se. And I think that if we're thinking about this in relation to faith, it kind of has a faith element to it a little bit, because depending on how you believe in fate, or destiny, it does impact your understanding of the chances of you meeting someone and falling in love and getting married or, you know, choosing to spend your life together. Or it may impact your eye idea of thinking that that's not random that was all meant to be and this is it. So it's actually kind of a deeper question than I think it initially appears.
17:35 – Lee Catoe
Yeah, I, I will, I will say that I do believe that there are people out there that are definitely sometimes I do believe in destiny, like I do believe there are multiple people that you are, in some ways meant to meet are meant to, to be a significant part of their lives. And I think that there, like you were saying there are people that are you are, you will naturally just kind of mesh with and that will be that energy, I can't explain that other than, like, something spiritual or some kind of connectedness, like you meet someone, and you're just like, and there's some ways you just can't explain why you you want to continue to like be in a relationship with and, and I will say that about, like, my partner were probably the complete opposites of one another, and no one would have ever thought we were would be together, you know, like, but there was something there that you can't really explain, that allows you want to continue to be in relationship. And I think there are multiple, I think there are multiple people out there that are like that, I think there are multiple people out there, I think the relationships can be different. And I think it just depends on the person. But I do think that I think this one true love thing is also just kind of very dangerous to kind of live your life and in some ways it it can add a pressure it can add you know, it can add all these different things. And if that is something that is and in some ways it can, it can be analogous to or kind of connected to like a purity culture type of thing, like this one true love that you have to always like, like, be with and that's like who you're gonna, no matter what, like all this kind of thing. So I think that can also be kind of dangerous. But I do think that there are people out there that you you have a connection with and I think that is very spiritual. But I also think that many people are different and many relationships work in many different ways. And not to be dismissive of that as long as it's consensual and as long as it's life giving and as long as it's not hurting anybody? But yeah, I have a, I have trouble just just keeping it to one. You know?
20:12 – Simon Doong
Yeah, a lot of people, right. And I think it's like you were saying it's dangerous to, to only be like sticking it out for that for the one. Because I feel like in the process of looking out for the one, you will be constantly evaluating every person you come into contact with. And the moment that you start thinking, they're not the one, your focus changes, and you lose the ability to sort of be in relationship with that person in the same way, because oh, they're not the one. And I just feel like there's, there's some danger to that. It's also interesting, because I and again, we are not sponsored by anything that I'm about to bring up, there is a reality, you know, TV show called Are you the one in which there's, in most seasons, it's been 10, guys, and 10 girls, and each of them has a perfect match based on frankly, research and an algorithm. And they have to figure out which of the other gender you know, is their perfect match. And often, the way that they figure it out is they start playing the game. And they think they always go with what they want. And often what ends up being who ends up being their perfect match, that person usually has the qualities of someone that they need in their life, which is interesting. And I think that that it does teach them something about Oh, the reason you're real. And also, I should preface this by saying everyone who comes onto this show usually is on it, because they have a bunch of failed relationships. So they've messed up a bunch. And often, the show brings out that Oh, the reason these relationships didn't work out is because you always went with what you wanted, but not with your heart about what you know about what you need, which I think is a separate conversation altogether. And I don't necessarily believe that that can be determined by an algorithm, or by research. Because again, there is something there can't be something spiritual there. But it is an interesting exercise in an observation of how people evaluate compatibility. And the one because also, interestingly enough, almost, there's only been one couple, I believe, out of many seasons of this show that has actually gotten married. So even if you find the one, it doesn't necessarily mean you're going to end up together, even if it probability wise, and statistically, you are each other's perfect match. That's just something to think about. And again, we're not sponsored.
22:54 – Lee Catoe
Yeah, we're also not professionals in any of this. That's another thing. It's just speaking about. I think speaking in just like personal experience, and this, this term also is very heteronormative, like the one true love type thing. And it's also very romanticized. And it's the one thing a lot of fairy tales are based off of. And so I do think it is important to kind of think love is also just so romanticize a lot, that is that it is very dangerous. And that love can be beautiful, but love can also suck and love is also hard and relationship is hard and relationship is his work. And and this idea that there's just this one true love out there, this one person can also mean, in some ways that if I can't find this one person that I'm not complete, that's another thing is that this completeness of what you know, I think that's also very dangerous, and that a person can't can't make you whole, you know, like, I think a person can aid and that can help and that. But I also think that leads to codependency and all this kind of thing. So yeah, just think and thinking about just the phrase, no matter what I believe in or not. I think the surrounding the phrase, there's this one true love, I think it's Yeah, it has been very problematic. And it's, it's aided in this idea that, you know, having one partner for all your life should be your goal, and that's been also integrated in faith. And I don't know if that's necessarily, you know, necessarily biblical, or necessarily something we should be promoting and that not all relationships are healthy and they shouldn't last and sometimes relationships take different forms. And so, so yeah, I think it's very complex. But I will say again, I think there are many people. And there, there's so many people in this world, probability wise, there's no way there's just one person out there that can can that can fulfill what you need. I do think it's, it's multiple relationships that take different shapes. And to put that on one person is also a lot to ask if someone,
25:30 – Simon Doong
Well, it's up to you to believe in the one true love puts a lot of burden and pressure on the person that you think may be your one, find only one true love or people that you date or that you meet, it also puts a lot of pressure on yourself to like, find them. And that can be really unhealthy. And I also think that, let's say, let's say you meet your one true love, people change in their lives. So who that person is, now when you meet them, they inevitably will not be exactly the same person, 10 2030 years down the line. And you'll and you're going to change too. So what you need or what you're looking for may also change. And so you have to be able to find something where you're able to grow together and accept that each other will change as well. Because if you were always viewing each other from this static fixed position, I don't know if that's going to last the rest of your lives. Because there's so much change that will inevitably happen. So and that's not to say that it's not to sound fatalistic, it's just a reality that people do change. And so even if you are seeking out one true love, that one true love better be able to grow with you and you with them, as well.
26:57 – Lee Catoe
Yeah. And also, I’ll mention, Simon and I , we are male identifying, we have our own experiences. And I think that it is in many ways this this statement is also very gendered, it is something that, you know, again, it's in purity culture, and it's in fairy tales. And it's usually though the, the princess that has to find her one true love, and, and all that kind of stuff. So just throwing that out there too, that these are very, yeah, in many ways very sexist. A can be in just the idea of all that. So I just wanted to mention that as well. And again, we are not experts in love. We're just kind of going with our experiences and doing what we do. But I will say it is hard. It is hard. And that shouldn't be romanticized, at all.
28:03 – Lee Catoe
So joining us today for our guests segment, we have two very, very special guests. Joining us is once again the Reverend Dr. Wanda M. Lundy, Assistant Professor of world Christianity, Director of mentoring for Friday, thriving in ministry in the city, and the director of the Eleanor moody Shepherd Resource Center for Women of faith in New York Theological Seminary, and pastor at Salone. Hope First Presbyterian Church, Wanda, thanks again for being with us. It's a pleasure to be here. And Also joining us is Edwin Gonzalez Castillo, the associate for disaster response in Latin America and the Caribbean, for Presbyterian disaster assistance. Edwin, thanks for being with us today. I'm grateful for the opportunity to be here. And the reason that we've gathered Wanda and Edwin together with us is we have a very interesting question about faith based organizations and transformational change for those organizations. And both Edwin and Wanda and myself, we're all part of a process that is looking to try to do some transformational change for the Presbyterian mission agency. And we'll get into that in a little bit. But the question for today reads, I am a leader of a faith based organization and looking to reorient our organizations practices and policies internally and externally to better align with our progressive Christian values. And recent events, such as the hashtag me to movement, Black Lives Matter protests, and an increasing sense of global connectedness Are there others who have tried to plan and implement similar changes and they're organized What guidance do you have? And I think this question comes at a really good time. Because as I said, the Presbyterian mission agency is currently undergoing a visioning process to help us determine how the mission agency can live into the values that we want the organization to both represent and demonstrate in the world. And, as I said, Wanda and Edwin and I, we all were serving on what was called a leadership innovation team, which is sort of one part of this larger visioning process. And we have some thoughts and ideas from our experience that we think might be helpful for other leaders of faith based organizations. And so I'm just going to throw one out real quick before we get to Wanda and Edwin, which is that we brought in external consultants to actually help us navigate and guide us through this process. And I think that's something that other organizations can also implement. Because it's, it's really important to recognize that to be able, we are not able to change the direction and culture of an organization on our own, especially if it's if our voices are only folks from the inside. And what this meant for the Presbyterian mission agency was we hired external consultants, we hired David hooker from counter stories consulting, and Allen Hilton from House united. And bringing in these folks with experience in organizational transformation, peacebuilding and conflict resolution was really helpful. And they are able to give that perspective and that listening year that say, staff or employees from within the organization might not to be able night might not be able to provide. And so with that, I'm going to turn it over to Wanda and Edwin to share some of their thoughts on their experience with this process, and what they think might be useful for other folks trying to do work with their organizations.
32:06 – Wanda Lundy
Well, thank you, Simon, I think that it was really important, what you just mentioned, to bring in someone from the outside. And I think, for me, the one of the most significant offerings that they brought was to ask us a simple question. And that's Who are you, you know, when you when you are that organization, it's really important to take that deep dive into the organization's identity. And it's really helpful to have someone who is on the outside, who does not have that kind of commitment or attachment to the identity to the mission to the vision that that organization has, and can ask those hard questions about identity. Who are you? Who do you see yourself as? What is your mission to really, they really begin to ask some really basic questions. So that, you know, as you use the example of the hashtag, meaty meat to movement, or black lives matter, you know, not changing the organization because of what is happening, you know, externally, just because it is the fad or the thing that's happening now. But responding to the mission and the strategy and pull that organization is. So that was one of, I think, the most important exercises that we went through. And it's not a simple, easy process, to really, really reveal and to pull the lever the layers back, you know, about the identity of the organization. So that that's what I would like to start the conversation with him, when I ask it, when to just sort of chime in, and we'll go back and forward.
33:46 – Edwin Gonzalez-Castillo
Yeah, definitely. I agree with both of you. I think the voices from outside are important. When we are inside the picture, it's difficult to see the reality of what we are building in what we have. So we need those external eyes, that can tell us where the cracks in the walls are. And also that because of that, sometimes I remembered as a pastor, one of the things is when when you're a pastor for a long time, or you're a leader for getting station, you get used to the cracks on the wall, and those they're there. But you you don't have time, this time to fix it now. So you time passes, and you forget about it, and you let it there and other cracks appear. And many of you have organizations with time that happens. And so we need those fresh eyes that tells you and say, Hey, this, this is disturbing. This is a problem. This is damaging the whole structure. And this is this is going to bring the structure down eventually if you don't if you don't fix it. So for me that was that was a key process in this in this whole ordeal that we went through and that we continue to go through it. It was a way to challenges to look for new ways. One of the exercises that I really enjoyed and I think was really important, and this was the Examining of our values, and, and where what values we have right now, and what values were being moved to incorporate what things we need to leave behind, and what things we need to add, and what things we need to improve in, in our values. And I think that for any organization is is is embrace that, and towards what God wants for, for that faith based organization. And I think that that also is an important thing, what God is moving towards, because sometimes God has an agenda, and the organization has another agenda. And we have to align, and we have to write so ourselves, where is God moving us to, towards to, and those voices that are telling us, this is where you need to move, this is what what is happening, this is where your voice is needed, or your action is needed.
35:49 – Wanda Lundy
Right, I think the word that I would like to use with the process that we went through, and it would take someone from the outside to do it is disruption. I mean, there was a they, they disrupted the process that was going on, and it really takes someone from the outside to do it. And one of the exercises that we use was, and that's the other thing that bringing someone from the outside brings in resources that you might not necessarily have access to or know about. So one of the resources that the David brought in was called casual layered, the casual layered process, where we were forced to actually look at all of the different layers that exist in society, and how the organization is a part of society and responds to society and is responding to society. And if we look at the problem, you look at the cause you look at the worldview, you look at the metaphors and the mist. So we spend a lot of time looking at, again, who we are, you know, what are what are our values, as Edwin talked about? But what are the metaphors in the midst that we have bought into, that are really moving us forward that are are prescribing how we respond to the world around us? What are the worldviews and so as we began to really understand what those are, then we can begin to change them, which will also change who we are our perceptions, and maybe change the value systems if we need to change that so that we can change the outcome of what we were doing. So having someone come in consultants, who are very adept at helping us to look at who we are. And then we can look at how do we respond to the world around us in a different way.
37:41 – Simon Doong
In addition to the causal layered analysis, you were talking about Wanda in order to think about how certain myths and worldviews that we've bought into can be debunked. One of the other things that we talked about was what is the role and scope of the organization and thinking about trying to address specific issues and problems? and identifying if this is what is our role? Because there are things that we do and there are things we cannot or do not do and that is the role of other organizations and how do we relate with them? How do we work with them? Because one organization cannot do cannot do everything? Exactly.
38:22 – Edwin Gonzalez-Castillo
Yeah, that that that is similar to if you have seen any show about food and restaurants, one of the things that they tell you is a restaurant that has a big menu doesn't do that well, because they're trying to compete with everyone and they trying to do everything at the same time and, and a small manual that that you're clear about and that you're in that you're an expert on is the best strategy and that helps those organizations when you try to take too much. There's a phrase in Spanish, mucho ARCA. poco Prieta, the one who tries to do a lot of the things, some of those things are going to fall down and aren't going to work. So it's important for organizations to know where they're centering, and where they're going and what it's their, their target, and not get distracted. Because most of the time we get distracted by so many other things happening, we want to get involved in everything. And at the same time, we we don't get really involved in anything this completely because we are too divided into separate.
39:21 – Wanda Lundy
Another one of the things that we talked about also as it relates to who we are, and identity is, is the history of the organization and really digging deep and delving into who this organization is and how it has been involved in the world in the past. Sometimes organizations hold on so fast to who it has been in the past, not recognizing that the world has changed around it. So again, it goes back to the identity, the values the mission, and Okay, so now we're in the 21st century, moving towards the 22nd century who you were in the past it does that continue to be the same person that you are now? If so what does that mean? If not, what does that mean? And how do you change based on who you have that's a part of that organization now and the world around you? How do you become relevant in this world that we live in. So having someone again, having someone externally to come and help with that process, but it also trust is very important notion in the concept of trusting who that external leadership might be is important. But that also suggests that there has to be a trust internally, of those persons who are part of the organization and trust in the leadership that's there. Yeah. So there are a lot of moving parts. But the fact of the matter is, if one is involved in an organization right now, you there is not an option to do nothing. There is not an option to do nothing in this world that we live in today.
40:57 – Edwin Gonzalez-Castillo
Yeah, yeah, George Santayana used to say, those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it and many organizations. One of the problem is they don't like to look back. And they like to look only at the good things in the past. And they have pictures of what they did great. And forget that there's a dark history to how a process in the in the in the development or in in the years of forming, that they need to remember and they need to work on that. I think one of the other tools is listening, listening to other voices. One of the things that we did that, that that I think helping the process was hearing from other partners, hearing from lower partners, from voices from outside professors, pastors, leaders, people who were connected to and working outside the organization's so they can give us a clear and truthful Do you have what they see in what areas we are missing, because our eyes have been concentrated in just one thing.
41:57 – Wanda Lundy
I was just gonna say that it when the diversity of our team was was stellar, I thought that was very important that you have a wonderful, diverse group of people, especially generationally that you have the diversity of all of the key players, but especially people who have been in on the periphery of those people who have been in the margins need to be a part of that conversation. And that, that those voices are important. Because if if there's not an opportunity to hear the voices of those who have not been a part of the conversation in the past, then the results are going to be the same as you've had in the past. So diversity is key.
42:42 – Edwin Gonzalez-Castillo
And definitely in that process of listening is to understand that there are going to be difficult questions. And that you're you need to be ready to to attend to those questions and, and face those questions. Because it's easy to just ask the simple questions in a process like this and just try to maintain it. In the comfort zone, you need to step out of the comfort zone and be aware be available to be challenged by those questions. And by those partners. In many cases, when organizations are like in this case of the Presbyterian church or in my work with PDA, for example, we we partner with organizations and we provide funds, and sometimes those organizations that we work with, have fear of telling you the truth, because I don't want to offend the person who provides so you have to create a trust relationship where they feel comfortable and saying, this is this is wrong or this is not working or or this is not the way that we feel comfortable doing this. And you have to be able and adaptable to those changes, because it's not it's not just you providing it's not a paternalistic relationship, it's a trustworthy companionship in the process of helping others
43:55 – Wanda Lundy
And in the end, to not be afraid to let something die to let something in so that a new thing can begin. And I think that is that is such a great challenge to organizations to know that it's okay to let something go. It's okay to let something in, it's okay to let something die. Because in order for a new thing to happen, you have to let something go. And it just because it ends doesn't mean that it was a failure. And I think that says something of a great learning. For us to have that. You know, the end of something does not mean that it was a failure, that we can celebrate the end of things so that we can also celebrate the new the new things that God is doing in on this.
44:45 – Edwin Gonzalez-Castillo
Yeah, that reminds me we had when I was in Puerto Rico as part of the process of recovering after the hurricane Maria I want to be presbyteries or they're going to say the council's of the Presbyterian Church that works there. decided to create our program. Project and they and they this they decided to set a date that this is going to start an end date, this is going to end here. And this is our or goal. And by the time we get to this, it's done, we're done with the project. And many organizations do not work that way. They always find something else to do. And and it's good. But at the same time, you are you asking the difficult question of when when when should we just stop and try something new? Or, or or let other people get in the process and start something new? So yeah, definitely,
45:35 – Simon Doong
That is so insightful. And it requires this level of boldness and courageousness, to live into that space to be able to be willing to embrace that change to as you said, want to let to let the old die or let some things die to let go. And I think that relates to you know, one of the exercises that we did, which I think a lot of organizations would find very helpful, which is this idea of what values or practices Do you want to leave behind in let's call it the Museum of your organization? Where do you want? What do you want to leave there? And what do you want to see in the future. And so as, as other leaders in the faith based space are thinking about their organizations, what could be left behind, or maybe what should be left behind? What needs to be done moving forward? What are the values that we want to live into? And then what are the implications for how we need to change in order to live into that. And I know for myself, I'm so grateful to have been able to serve on this leadership innovation team with both of you, because both of you are a part of that bold and courageous space that we tried to do with the Presbyterian mission agency. And I hope that other leaders of organizations are able to find folks to help them guide and navigate their processes. With the sort of spirit and boldness that you both have have shared with the with the Presbyterian mission agency,
47:04 – Wanda Lundy
It was a wonderful opportunity to serve on the leadership innovation team, it was awesome. It was it was a lot of work, it made me really think more than I expected to it stretched me, it made me wonder a lot, we had an exercise where we had to really think you know, like 50 years into the future and write a letter that for my great, great ancestors or descendants, I don't remember which direction it went. But what it did, as you talked about the museum was to really think that this really is not about us right now. You know, this is about future generations. So for us to not be willing to think that someone, we are here because we stand on the shoulders of someone who made the sacrifice and the commitment, and made the hard decision so that we would have access to what we have. Now. We're doing the same thing for the next generations. So we might have to make hard decisions. And we may have to make sacrifices. But we do it because someone did it for us. So I'm so excited and happy to have served on that committee with the two of you, I have met new siblings that I did not know before, who are members of our denomination, who are doing amazing work all over the world. And I'm grateful for this denomination and the witness that it is in the world. You
48:28 – Edwin Gonzalez-Castillo
You know, I join your voices. I'm grateful for the process. In the voices that we heard. I think it was a like, one dimension before a diverse group of people with wonderful points of views and, and challenging points of views. And for me that that that was important. I think as I have seen process like this before I have been in other processes we get related to the DC you're saying in that time that they were counseled the Presbyterian Council. This is the moment where I see that we have included invited so many, many, many voices to the table that I think it's a way and I hope and I pray that that the result is that we are being challenged to new things and that God is pushing us to, to look inside, but also look outside and see how the church can be continued to be a transformative Kingdom or kinship in where we are.
49:31 – Wanda Lundy
I just also want to say Simon that one technology is what gave us the opportunity to to explore and in the way that we did because we had zoom. So we had we met three hour sessions sometimes longer than that. But we have people from literally all over the world at times in our sessions. And so I just want to highlight the fact that because we had access to tech Technology access to zoom. There are sessions even though they were three hours in length, sometimes longer. It didn't feel that way. Because the our leaders were so adept at what they were doing. They were so intuitive to us, and teaching us very difficult topics, sometimes that would take a semester to learn some of the information, but they were patient with us. So I left that that experience with much more knowledge with much more experience, with many more friends stretched, and really thinking in every area of my life about what it means to move forward in the 21st century as a person of faith.
50:45 – Simon Doong
Yeah, I think that that's something else to remind folks is to leverage technology to be able to enhance and grow diversity of voices that you're able to include in your process and make it more inclusive, because that that will be very helpful. And we hope that everyone who's listening today took away something that would be helpful for change or thinking about change with their organization. The visioning process for the Presbyterian mission agency is not over yet. It is ongoing as of the the airing and recording of this podcast. So we pray for the continuing discernment around that visioning process. And we pray for leaders and other organizations, that their processes also will be transformational and guided by the Spirit. So and so thank you so much, Wanda, and Edwin for being with us today.
51:45 - Edwin Gonzalez-Castillo
Thank you, Simon. Thank you, Wanda.
51:47 Wanda Lundy
Thank you for having me.
51:51 – Lee Catoe
So we are going to transition right now to our resource roundup segment to where Simon who works for the Presbyterian peace making program will be talking about the path of peace reflections. So Simon, take it away.
52:09 – Simon Doong
The path of peace reflections are a part of our office’s resources related to the season of peace, which is the four weeks leading up to the peace and Global Witness offering which is received on world communion Sunday on October 3 2021. This year's reflections are designed to help participants explore various forms of peacemaking through the arts. Featuring both video and written reflections from artists and peacemakers. We'll explore how the Arts Express and enhance our peacemaking witness. Throughout our 29 days together, we will be guided by the theme witnessing to peace through art and action and reflect upon ways to practice peacemaking through the spoken and written word song music and dance, visual arts and action, advocacy and service you can subscribe to receive these reflections via email using this link. Pc usa.org backslash subscribe s o p. You will be also be able to find links to materials on the Presbyterian peace making programs website, Presbyterian mission.org backslash peacemaking. And without further ado, let's take a look at some of the insights you can expect from these reflections. We hope you will join us this year as we journey together on the path of peace.
53:55 – Lee Catoe
Writing for me was always a way to to collect the way in which I experienced the divine and it was a way for me to also be authentic to myself, which I think is another important part of the way we are to walk in our faith and to do justice in the world.
54:15 - Michael G. Long
I choose projects that will allow me to amplify the voices of those who feel silenced, and to give centerstage really to those who have found themselves on the margins. And so if a project doesn't allow me to do that, I'll toss it out.
5:33 - Rev. Lee, Hun-sam (in Korean)
Because of the Joint South-North (North-South) Prayer for Peace & Reunification on the Korean Peninsula, representatives of the South Korean and the North Korean churches meet in person, transcending their disconnection [through division].
54:44 – David LaMotte
My work in peacemaking is simply playing music because music is inherently connectional It reminds us of our connectedness to each other. I used to say that I love playing music because music connects And I don't say that anymore because I no longer believe it's true. I don't think that it's the music that connects us. I think it is our common spirit that connects us. And music reminds us of that connectedness, which it's so easy to forget about.
55:15 - Jeong Seon-nyeo (in Korean)
“But because consistency is very important for our peaceful protest in Gangjeong Village, we try to exercise patience, and make sure the dances and other protest activities continue, even when it is hard.”
55:30 – Michele Slone
You know, in teaching music in the public schools. That's how that's how it’s shared, right? That's how they collaborate. And so then they go home, and they go on, and they take it with them. And then and then it keeps going and going. And we're teaching, you know, you're teaching by teaching collaboration, you're teaching peace.
55:52 – Ann Laird Jones
Everybody around the world uses clay. And I think that around the world with we have different languages, and we have different shapes, and we have different sizes of communities. And that there's a way I think pottery is a great way and the arts are a great way to find ways to speak to one another, despite the differences or the problems are that the arts speak, when other when Words fail.
56:17 – David Barnhart
Peacemaking, you know, is both a is both a verb, right? It's an action. And it's also a process. And I think part of that process is speaking the truth. Part of that process is speaking truth to power. You know, and I think that's a really important part of, of our film work that we do. And the projects that we develop, being
56:39 – Sue Rheem
Being in the Security Council and knowing that there's some wars that go on and on, and their conflicts that just don't seem to get resolved. Sometimes you can become very cynical or very despondent. But these pieces of work inspire us to go on because it gives us hope. It shows us hope that that these projections of our hopes and dreams, continue to urge us on
57:09 – Alonzo Johnson
what makes advocacy artistic is just the ways that we utilize some of the arts into what we do. I know for me, it has been kind of African drumming,
57:20 – Erika Funk
In a prayer station, sometimes we leave something behind. And the power station also is also sometimes where you're picking something up, that you need it and didn't realize that's going to lead you into some action for the betterment of others. arts that
57:36 – Bryan Miller
I've seen that around the gun violence prevention movement is very important, develops contemplation, and calmness, that's when they're most open. When we people walk among the T shirts with a memorial to the last and we talk to them, that's when they're really open to hearing our message.
57:54 – Simon Doong
So again, we hope that you will join us for the path of peace, you can subscribe to the reflections those links will be in the show notes or you can also access these videos both the written read the video reflections and the written reflections at any time on the Presbyterian peacemaking programs website.
58:19 – Simon Doong & Lee Catoe
This has been the matter of fate podcast brought to you by the Presbyterian peacemaking program and unbound. If you would like to submit a question for discussion you can do so at fate podcast at peace usa.org. We look forward to hearing from you. See you next time. Thanks everyone. See you next time. Thanks, everybody, for listening to Episode 27. As a matter of faith a presby podcast. Don't forget to subscribe using your favorite podcast platform.
59:07 – Simon Doong
And don't forget to leave us a review. We really really would prefer a five-star review, as it helps us to continue to bring more great content like this episode to you.
59:19 – Lee Catoe
And if you have a question for me or Simon, send it to faith podcast at pcusa.org. We look forward to hearing from you