Creation Spirituality Communities

Creating, Networking, and Supporting Creation Spirituality Communities and Individuals.

What does it mean, what could it mean, what ought it mean to belong to Creation Spirituality Communities (CSC)?

What does it mean, what could it mean, what ought it mean to belong to Creation Spirituality Communities (CSC)?

CSC is a newish organization... borne out of a steering committee of interested folks and then carried forward by the CSC Board. In the four-ish years of its existence, CSC's Board has had less than ten Board members (presently: Susan Coppage Evans, Mel Bricker, Diane Wolverton, Rick Kuykendall and Matt Henry). CSC has sponsored three annual events (California 2007, Indiana 2008, North Carolina 2009), and planning for the 2010 event in Burlingame, CA, is well under way.

As volunteers, the Board's energy has been focused thus far in creating the events (with leadership and assistance from many, many others), building the website (here!), launching a book and incorporating formally and properly.But beyond the board members, who is CSC? We have not yet managed to articulate exactly what it means to belong to CSC; but we need to, for several reasons.

Firstly, because it is appropriate to offer people who wish to stand up and be counted together for something a chance to do so with a semblance of organization.

Secondly, because the Board needs (if not now, then one day...) to be refreshed and re-invigorated by others. We believe that these decisions on leadership ought to be made by those who feel themselves a part of this movement.

Thirdly, because we have a few things brewing which make no sense to bring to life before we bring about an actual community where people are more than addressees on a mailing list. For just one example, we've been developing a new model for Creation Spirituality Education. We think the model is good, but who would be "bestowing" a certificate? The CSC Board and the dozen or so others who have worked on the model...? Or would it be better bestowed by a whole community, as it were?

So we ask of you... what does it mean, what could it mean, what ought it mean to belong to Creation Spirituality Communities? We would love to arrive at the 2010 event with a stronger sense of what belonging to CSC means.

The Board has been discussing this need for some time, and wants to open the conversation to all. Any of the Board members would also welcome ideas shared in a more private forum if you prefer.

Here's some thoughts and questions we offer to prime the discussion...

~We could have Membership for individuals, and Affiliation for communities.
~Some folks may prefer to belong to the "website community," but not necessarily to CSC, and vice-versa.
~What would be the benefits, both tangible and intangible?
~What would be the obligations and commitments?

We sincerely welcome and invite your thoughts... thank you!

Diane, Mel, Matt, Rick and Susan

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So far, my "belonging" to CSC has been a lot like my "belonging" to a church. It's great to know there are folks there who get together in gatherings now and again, and who are dedicated to principles and ideals that I am also dedicated to. It's reassuring to see the website home page show up when I sign on, much like it feels to drive by the local steeple on my way to work. I've stopped by on occasion to share a meaningful conversation, get a little closer to the sacred fire. And I'm gun shy. If I sign up, if I give my life to Jesus, if I make the long walk to the altar ... what's it going to cost me? My church experiences have left me feeling exploited, recruited and ill-equipped for whatever it is I'm expected to do. I worry that there are folks meeting behind closed doors who have an agenda for me, who want something from me that they aren't directly asking. This is my own stuff, not suspicions about this particular "community".
Original Blessings be upon us all!
Bob
Thanks Bob. Hearing you on the "behind closed doors" -- the very purpose of this discussion. Thanks for jumping in.
I'm with Bob Werme on this as a brother recovering pastor (and a close friend). I can't help but reflect on what it means to be a member of a Church: one officially joins, becomes a "member" and gets a little certificate and one hopefully primarily gains a sense of belonging to a community in which they feel welcome, supported, understood and encouraged. But they also get a set of obligations, mainly to financially support the Church and to participate in the worship services and the governing process, which ranges from coming to congregational meetings and voting, to serving on committees and/or boards. In the pure congregational tradition the congregation itself is it's own highest authority (the origins of pure democracy); not the pastor, not any chair or president. If the congregation wants to do or change something, members of the congregation call a congregational meeting and things get done that way. Of course, this rarely the case, and most Churches end up being run by someone who bullies their way to the top, intimidates everybody else, and usually pays the most into the coffers. (cynical but true) I think we have to pay very close attention to the essential ideas and principles of CS before/as we come to conceive ourselves as an organization into which one becomes a member. We are already members of the Cosmos; brothers and sisters, period; no hierarchy, no authority over anyone else. In any community some persons emerge as leaders whose leadership is recognized and accepted by others, not because of or resulting in any sense of authority over anyone else. We all recognize Matt Fox to be in many ways our leader, but we do not grant him or expect from him any authority, except maybe that found in the wisdom and insight of his words.
I feel I am already a member of CSC just by being here, and my only obligation is to, as I am here, to BE here and participate. I have served congregations where there were more inactive members than active members, but they all wanted to be MEMBERS! I thank deeply all of you who created and support this wondrous endeavor. I would like a bumper sticker or something to advertise CSC not just for my sake but to let more people know we are here.
My personal goal is to establish an in-person CSC somewhere around here.
Hi Carl. We do have a bumper sticker! I think Susan Coppage Evans has them in her possession.

Establishing in-person communities is our vision and mission - so we're glad to hear your intention.

I know many people feel they belong to CSC, and there are some who (even though they may be active on the website and in planning events etc...) do not necessarily feel so. That's the purpose of this conversation - thanks for adding your voice to it. :)
A benefit of belonging to CSC is being able to establish a community where there isn't one. Derek Chamberlain and I meet each week to talk about writing, spirituality, etc., and this could become the nucleus of a CSC community here in Sapporo.

About obligations & commitments, I have no idea what these might be, as I know nothing (the Sgt. Schultz disclaimer, if you recall "Hogan's Heroes") about what CSC expectations &/or requirements are on that subject.
Good for you and Derek! And other Sapporo-ites (?).

So imagine... hypothetically... if you congealed and had a few others who gathered with some deliberate intention - what sort of connection/affiliation would you want it to have to others in the US, Australia or elsewhere?

The CSC board doesn't have a model up our sleeve that we're secretly planning... We want to get a sense of what folks here think about all such things. Thanks George.
I'm not that far along in my thinking, Matt, as to know what I picture a local CSC group would look like. At present, "it" is a weekly coffee/tea chat at a local restaurant, without a specific CSC focus. I've been a part of so many local church groups over the years, including as pastor back in the mid 1960's, that I have a bit of an aversion to even thinking about the subject. I am, however, open to ideas.

About connection to CSC, an affiliative relationship seems to fit for me.
P.S. my previous comment.

When is "Originally Blessed" to be published? It seems still to be in development. Looks very interesting
It was self-published (500 copies) fro the CSC event in 2008. About 50 remain.
And they cost?
Matt, Diane, Mel, Rick & Susan... thanks for all your work here to promote Creation Spirituality. Sorry I've not been involved lately. I've had issues in my personal life & work so many long hours in front of a computer, I couldn't bring myself to get on-line for very long.

From my point of view, it is good to have this website to network and generate ideas to use in our local areas, either in our existing affiliations with churches or other organizations. Those who have actual CSC churches or communities would, I'm sure, find this a very valuable resource. I would love to be peripherally involved in CSC as well.
Your presence here Sara, especially with welcoming people who join, has been a real gift of community-building.

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