In her book Kissing the Limitless, T. Thorn Coyle presents a series of spiritual practices for self-liberation and contributing to the transformation of the world. In the book she says, “Practice makes possible.
Something inside me lit up when I read this for the first time because it felt so deeply true. It is so much more true than the commonly heard “practice makes perfect.”
On the New England Region team, we work from a shared framework of the practices of Spiritual Leadership. These are practices that congregations can use together to create new possibilities for community and ministry: centering in gifts, *binding to tradition, doing our inner work, covenant, and faithful risking.
These practices will not make a congregation perfect. Perfection is an unworthy goal, born of a dominant culture which seeks a single unchanging way and demands that people become something that is somehow both more and less than human.
Faithful practice of these tools gives us access to something better than perfection - possibility. Communities of people bringing their truest gifts to be received and cultivated, communities that remember the gifts of the past to foster new creative application of our values, communities supporting internal transformation, communities that hold each other through the conflicts and challenges of pursuing common purpose. Most of all, communities who can find more possibilities for how to live our shared values and take the risks to realize them. An allegiance to possibility rather than perfection means we can do the things that feel compelling but are unsure or untested.
Come, practice with us, and let’s see what’s possible! We are launching a new blog called Tending to Spiritual Leadership, which will share offerings on how we can engage the practices of spiritual leadership to make more things possible. Read more about Spiritual Leadership.
-Rev. Erica Baron
New England Region Program Staff
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* We have recently changed the name of this practice to Tending Our Tradition, in recognition that the metaphor of binding may have a charge that is harmful for Black people, people of Asian descent, and others.