I am preparing to be more active in the outer world, but it will be a matter of following guidance, to see which of the many possibilities draw my efforts.
“Transition Town” is what I am calling “a brand,” because a bunch of folks have a “program” and are doing quality-control, so that newcomers have experiences of certain kinds, like hopeful ideas, and not a pile of doom and gloom. (The name “Transition Town” is slowly being replaced by “Transition,” and some confusion will naturally arise as our international conversation comes to agreement on what words mean what.)
I will say “Transition Town” when I am referring to the “brand,” which has published books, has a program for certifying trainers, and many British and U.S. websites.
I will say “Transition” and “Transition Movement” when I am referring generically to the idea that we need to move away from dependence on fossil fuels, which will result in less industrialized, more localized societies.
My Transition Efforts
* Among Quakers
My message is: We need to get ready. We need to talk to Friends who already understand how much will change even before today’s children are grown. As events which dwarf our current financial crisis unfold, folks who now think such talk is silly will start to come around. We need not spend time convincing them now: events will do it shortly. What we need to do now is find those already of like mind and start to develop alternatives, ways of working together which are more compatible with the world to come. We will be happy to share what we have learned with others as they come to see the need.
I did a workshop at People Camp this summer (of 2011), which went well.
I am now clear that, for me, the “Transition Town” program is not enough, because it is (appropriately) completely secular. When we go talking to our neighbors, as Transition Town would have us do, we need to use materials and a mindset that allow for many religious points of view, including “none.” I find I don’t have the heart for it. I think our Industrial Civilization is suffering from spiritual and philosophical problems, and while I love to start with the Transition Town program, I want to be able to talk about “waiting for guidance” in ways that I cannot, in a secular context.
To start with, I am imagining my efforts among Quakers will take the form of encouraging us to think more geographically, acknowledging the upcoming realities of increasingly-expensive transportation.
I want Friends for whom the “Transition” initiative makes sense to start finding Quakers geographically near them. Currently the membership of each of our Twin-Cities-area meetings draws from across the whole metropolitan area, with Quakers in the same neighborhoods who don’t know each other because we go to different meetings. We need to be discovering the spiritual resources we have near at hand, in anticipation of a time when we will not be able to drive half-way across town to be part of a clearness committee. For instance, Tom and Rae, whom I barely know, live just three blocks away. Either could likely be a fine member of a clearness committee, mine or someone else’s.
I will be encouraging Friends to meet our Quaker neighbors.
But when I say “Friends nearby” am I just thinking about the two big Quaker meetings who own property? Of course not.
“Four Rivers Friends“
which would include all the Quakers in the greater metro area?
* Among my Neighbors
do did have a vision for my “local” neighborhood, which I’m called “New Lexington.” In February, 2011, I laid the vision out as a map, and in the form of a neighborhood newspaper, and I put this stuff up on a website, but I haven’t talked about it to my neighbors. For a long time I felt badly about “no follow-through,” but I am now more forgiving, a part of my inner journey which I expect to detail elsewhere. In short: as I anticipated talking to my neighbors I realized how important the spiritual side of the conversation was to me, and I felt stymied about how to bring that up.
* In the Twin Cities, Generally
On Sunday, May 6, 2012, IN THE HEART OF THE BEAST PUPPET AND MASK THEATRE will focus its Mayday parade, ceremony & festival on the “Transition” movement. I plan to help encourage Transition efforts in South Minneapolis and city-wide by talking up the Mayday celebrations and getting as many people as possible involved.
Okay, I am not yet tracking on this issue, and I will have to read more, but one thing was quite striking in this post, a parenthetical statement, “appropriately,” as in appropriately secular.
It seems a concept lost in more places than just the Presidential debate and campaign. There are some places that should be free of our concept and image of higher powers and spirituality that need to be free of service to things that are not so high but good and earnest anyway–and some places where we have just so many concepts of higher power that to try and make it about that leaves a jumbled mess. I’ll check back.