Saturday, 6 December 2014

Objectives, outcomes, opportunities and openings

There’s a challenge to planning work and activities that are to do with the leadings of the spirit. We, like other Quaker groups, try to plan our work around agreed objectives, set out in a framework over a period of time. This makes the work manageable and keeps us focused and able to coordinate and work together. 

Outcomes of what we do in supporting Quakers and others in their peace witness are tricky to name, but unless we have some vision of the bigger changes we are working towards the work can drift. Keeping our eyes on the prize, so to speak.The long-term nature of action for change may mean that some of these outcomes, the components of our broader vision, may not be realised in our lifetimes. But at least we can work in the knowledge that we know where we’re going and how we’re nurturing and building the elements of that change with the time, skills, resources and vision that we have.

There’s a saying  ‘Don’t agonize, organize!’. The gap between the current reality of how things are in the world and our vision of how they should be can be agonising and disempowering. Finding a way of doing something, however small, to bring that vision to reality is a step away from that. And a step taken with others is more powerful still.

But we do need to give ourselves to reflect, to gather with others in worship and be ready for the openings and for being led, in and through that worship. These times of reflection, of being open to new light can in their turn make us aware of opportunities for action, of which we might not have been aware in the midst of the busy-ness of organising, the setting of objectives and naming outcomes.

Our openness to leadings and for seeing new ways forward, for reconnecting with the source of our vision, is the bedrock for our organising of our time, individually and collectively. If it is not, are we doing Quaker work?