Brene Brown writes the most amazing books. In her book Rising Strong, she provides the guiding principles that she has in her own organization. I’ll get to those in a second but here’s the main point for us to consider today: she and her organization are operating by guiding principles.
This is uncommon but necessary for belonging. There is this tendency to get sentimental about belonging. “Hey, come! We accept everyone!” I love the sentiment but it can be taken too far. In almost twenty years of recovery ministry I can count on one hand without using all my fingers the number of times that we have had to respectfully encourage someone to find another community. Yikes. I hate writing that sentence. BUT and this is a big BUT – BUT for the welfare of the community, it is important to have thought about the conditions of belonging (and its limits). I am SO not talking about forming a club where people get along. In our community we have conflict and petty arguments on a fairly regular basis. This is normal for a tribe of people who love each other and form deep attachments. I’d be concerned if we didn’t have issues to sort through. But there are limits and those limits are best not determined in the heat of a dispute but forged through a discernment process over a long period of time, shaped by experience/failure.
Remember Sister Monahan’s discoveries: truth, authenticity, and humility (to reframe: she found her place in the bigger story as she became willing to live with nothing hidden). Add to that Brene’s five guiding principles and I think we end up with the start of a great conversation for ourselves, our friends, our families, our communities, and any organization in which we are invested.
Here are Brene’s (paraphrased by me but available in totality on p. 257 in Rising Strong1):
1. Respect – for all and everything.
2. Rumble – value tribe enough to be willing to wrestle with hard things/ “do conflict”.
3. Rally – even in conflict, refuse to let go of collaboration, choose to ditch ego and practice the discipline of gratitude.
4. Recovery – rest!
5. Reach out – don’t isolate, stay connected, practice empathy, compassion and love.
I hope the connections are fairly obvious regarding Monahan’s and Brown’s perspectives. More than anything, I pray that me and mine find ways to remember the 5 R’s and practice living them. Which of these is most difficult for you? Which one do you feel you could show up for your community and practice reasonably well?
Brené Brown, Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead[Random House, 2017] ↩