4 Things I’ve Learned in 3 Months as Co-Executive Director
For the past three months I’ve had the privilege to serve as an transitional Co-executive Director of Call To Action. Though I have been involved in church reform for many years, this position has given me an even more up-close-and-personal understanding of the spirit moving through our inspirational members. I am moved, in particular, by these reflections:
1. The People of God are resilient. I’ve learned never to underestimate the conviction and strength of those on the front lines of justice. Listening to the LGBTQI community talk about their fear of losing their job in a Catholic organization, or the courage it takes those in parish ministry to come out for women’s equality, or dialoging with those in the movement for black lives, working to create systemic change, has had a powerful impact. These Catholics are wise and strong. It’s a privilege and honor to do this work with them.
2. The Church is changing. Like it or not, the Church is changing because of the church. While we’ve seen extraordinary openness is coming from the top, it’s the “bottom up” movement that is, once again, inspiring transformation. While many in the institutional Church continue to rely on authoritarianism and obedience, the People of God are choosing paths of consensus building and community. I’ve learned that the Church, like it always has, will continue to change. Shared leadership, relationship and community, after all, are Gospel values.
3. God really is love. Strip away rigid orthodoxy and you encounter a God who loves unconditionally. Those in the trenches for justice understand this better than most. Through deepening awareness of God’s radical love, we come to more fully embrace where God is calling us. I’ve learned that more often than not God calls us to the margins, on the periphery, where oppression and hurt reside. God’s love, in and through us, has the power to heal and transform.
4. The Church and world need us. The ludicrous rhetoric from some Catholic officials, the ongoing firings of those who stray from authoritarian rule, and the continued use of outdated, divisive and hurtful Church teachings signal our work is not done. The violence, discrimination and strife plaguing the world cry out for reconciliation, peacemaking and authentic connection. I’ve learned that, perhaps now more than ever, our Church has to be champions for peace and justice. The Spirit, I know, cheers us onward toward a peaceful Kin-dom where all are loved.
by Ryan Hoffmann, Co-Executive Director