CTA 20/30 Leadership Team Reports Priorities & Goals from Planning Retreat

Dear CTA 20/30 Community,

The CTA 20/30 Leadership Team met the weekend of February 25th to re-connect with each other, review last year’s programming goals, and plan for our work together in 2012.  Our time together was both nourishing and productive.  We are off and running!

To all those who gave us feedback on last year’s efforts I am most thankful.  I wish to highlight some of the feedback we received.

  • The team analyzed feedback from constituents regarding CTA 20/30 programming (conference, communications, issues, etc.).  Several themes presented themselves, namely, the interwoven dimensions of action and spirituality, the need for continued young adult community, networking, and fellowship, more outreach to and collaboration with ecumenical and interfaith entities, and an increase in young adult keynotes and presenters at national conference.
  • Specific issues that were raised up by CTA 20/30 members included women’s leadership in the Church, LGBTQ advocacy, racial justice, and lay empowerment.
  • Recommendations regarding outreach strategies included online resource building and networking, dialogue and collaboration with the other, story-telling, and calendaring local and regional actions and events.

While the CTA 20/30 Leadership Team convenes to set the overall trajectory of and goals for progressive young adult Catholics, we acknowledge and affirm everyone’s role and voice in the movement.  In this spirit, I hope you will join the team in advancing the following priorities.

  • The team re-committed themselves to Call To Action’s anti-racist and anti-oppressive initiatives by reviewing and revising a CTA 20/30 anti-racism worksheet.  The team hopes to use this resource as a guide when creating and implementing programs.
  • The team wishes to actively engage members at the national conference and is taking a leading role in designing and executing a pre-conference workshop in collaboration with CTA allies.
  • The team wishes to further affirm the importance of conference and the programming done there and has created programming and outreach committees to assist in the development of programmatic offerings and enhance the visibility and marketing of conference opportunities.
  • With regards to community building, networking, and consciousness-raising, the team has instituted an online community committee tasked with creating and coordinating online content accessible to young adult progressive Catholics.
  • Finally, the team believes it is important to be active “out there” by demanding prophetic action and engaging and connecting with values and mission similar to CTA.  To this extent, the team has lifted up School of the Americas (SOA) and World Youth Day (WYD), and wishes to again offer a Summer Training and Organizing Institute (we hope to build off the success of last year’s event) in Los Angeles in July.

My hope is that this summary of our priorities is helpful and that you find some of your voice in our collective one.  If you wish to assist with one or more of the endeavors catalogued above please be in touch – we are in this together.  Thank you for all you do for the movement.

Respectfully Submitted,

Ryan J. Hoffmann

CTA 20/30 Team Chair

rynhof@gmail.com

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CTA 20/30 Community Full of Life

 

 Dear Progressive CTA 20/30 Member,

So much is going on in the movement right now!  Thank you for the contributions you have made to church justice, equality, and reform!

Have you been to the CTA 20/30 facebook page recently?  You might want to check it out today as new videos, articles, events (and so much more!) are posted there on a daily basis.  Please consider joining our facebook community!

Perhaps you’ve heard about CTA 20/30’s presence at World Youth Day. If you haven’t, or want to learn more about our witness there, check out the World Youth Day travelogue.

Finally, if you’d like to join the CTA 20/30 community, sign-up online. We’d love to share events, resources, support, etc. with you as a young adult progressive Catholic.

Again, thank you for helping to build up the people of God for the reign of God.  We are blessed by your witness.

Best,

Ryan J. Hoffmann

CTA 20/30 Marketing Chair

rynhof@gmail.com

Call to Action (CTA) 20/30 Community Creates Facebook Page

Dear Friends,

Please join me and others in the CTA 20/30 community and become a fan of the CTA 20/30 facebook page by “liking” it online.  We envision the “online community” as a place to post pictures, articles, events, etc.  Please join the page today – we’d love to get as many involved as possible.

Link to CTA 20/30 Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/CallToAction2030)

Thank you for your involvement.

Ryan Hoffmann

CTA 20/30 Marketing Committee Chair

The Naked Now

Richard Rohr, in his book The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See, sets-up a framework for seeing as contemplatives see.  At the outset of his book, however, he includes some of his wonderings with regards to modern faith and religion.

I have wondered why the major religions rarely produce many active peacemakers.

I have wondered why atheism is most common in Christian and Western cultures, and why formerly religious people are often the most anti-religious.

I have wondered why many people close down any threatening discussion by searching quickly for a single “but.”

I have wondered why political thinking is so jingoistic and seems little able to work toward consensus or the common good.

I have wondered why the reasons for most wars in history – reasons that seemed so compelling at the time – look foolish, wrong, or often naive to later generations.

What are your wonderings? Rohr encourages us to “sit with our wonders,” and while acknowledging pain, skepticism, and negativity, being able to move beyond – move through – to reach a place of real contemplation.  To be sure, it’s an art of re-thinking and re-seeing.  Seeing anew!

Ironically, and perhaps paradoxically, too,  the inner freedom cultivated in this re-seeing  allows for authentic communion with the Triune God.

Rohr says it best.

True spirituality is not a search for perfection or control or the door to the next world; it is search for the divine union now.

Common religion seeks private perfection; the mystics seek and enjoy the foundation itself – divine union, totally given.  Personal perfection insists on private knowing and certitude.

So much religious seeking today is immature transcendence, dualistically split off from any objective experience of union with God, self, or others.

Rohr says the solution to all this best, too.

The most amazing fact about Jesus, unlike almost any other religious founder, is that he found God in disorder and imperfection – and told us that we must do the same or we would never be content on this earth.

I hope more of us are courageous enough to see as the mystics did.  To see anew, re-vision, re-birth, and re-imagine what it means to believe as Christians today.

It’s not in rules.  Doctrine.  Certitude.  Knowing.  Rigidity.

Rather, it’s re-seeing.  Experience.  Uncertainty.  Unknowing.  Fluidity.

Rohr, Richard. (2009).  The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See.  New York: Crossroad Publishing.

We Memorialize Those Who Chose Non-violence, too

Many of us are excited this Friday, May 28th.  Most of us have Monday, Memorial Day, off work.  A long weekend!

We recall on Monday the many men and women who have died in war protecting the United States of America.  They’ve – to be sure – given courageously.  Most serve admirably.  We honor these soldiers in parades and picnics, rituals and memorials, at meet ups and gatherings. They are deserving of our respect and remembrance.

What about those who stared down evil and injustice non-violently?

Those who, when most of the world employed coercive and manipulative tactics, stood up peacefully as non-aggressors, organizing movements, encouraging dialogue, cultivating understanding.

Do we memorialize, remember even, those who have died in the pursuit of non-violent resistance?

Jesus. Ghandi.  Martin Luther King, Jr. Helen Prejean.  There are countless others.

As guns salute and fire ammunition in the air at cemeteries in ceremonies nationally, may we memorialize and remember those who died advocating for and seeking non-violent means to peace.  May we honor those who fought violence and oppression with civil disobedience.  May we account for those who fought war with love, mercy, and compassion.

Your Table is Ready

Jesus has invited you to the table, too.

Your table is ready, my friends.

Come to the table as you are.  We love you.

Your table is ready.

Perhaps you feel broken, sinful and guilty.

Your table is ready.

Are you in grief? Frustrated and cynical?

Your table is ready.

Maybe you’ve experienced hate, Church cruelty and oppression.  We are sorry.

Your table is ready.

Struggling with illness, depression or anxiety?

Your table is ready.

Whatever the darkness and despair, Christ’s table can heal, renew and re-birth.  This table is for all.

Your table is ready.

Come to the table as you are.  We love you.

Jesus has invited you to the table, too.  Will you meet him, and us, there?

Things That Last

I can’t believe we are on the “backside” of 2009. In less than 6 months 2010 will usher in a new decade. I can’t help but look back with nostalgia. At this point in my life, ten years ago, I had just graduated high school, was living at home and working at a local convenience store, and was gearing up for my first year at the University of Northern Iowa beginning my undergraduate career. What’s in ten years?

I’ve undoubtedly changed in the last 10 years. I won’t try and catalog all that has happened, nor could I really, as too much has gone on. As I look back, peer over what has become of family and friends, work and hobbies, faith-life and journeys — and much more — I find myself generally content with where life has led me. Of course there have been disappointments, reconciliations and healing, challenges and strife and the myriad of other ways life has humanized and humbled. I’m grateful for these experiences, too, as wisdom is often espoused in teaching/learning moments.

Where has the trajectory of life pointed after ten years?

Without being overly philosophical, I’ve recently been reminded of – taken stock of, really – things that last. Who/what are the things that last? Who/what (really) matters? The old adage is true: the only thing permanent about life is change; the only thing that doesn’t change is change. If this is true, what threads itself through our being and collective? What constitutes the ultimate backdrop and ever elusive horizon of life? What is the mystery and more all about?

I admit I have more questions than answers. This is to be expected I guess. As one “evolves,” one realizes hard answers are only illusions. Life is in the questions, perhaps not even the right questions. The process, I’m convinced, is where Grace and consolation nestle itself, hide out for further discerning and meaning making. My process has illuminated that truth, for which many fight about and wage war, is subjective in the here and now, in the existential reality in which we find ourselves. There is likely an ultimate truth, as I, too, believe in an ontological “more and mystery” many name God, but the corporal (societal governance’s, church institutions, etc.) only know a piece, are gifted with a morsel, understand a kernel of the human condition and divine majesty.

So what are the things that last? I have some hunches.

1) God is love, perhaps this only.

2) Relationships sustain. We need each other, more than we’ll admit.

3) Injustice is humanity’s chronic condition. Feeling with, and being about, those on the margins is perhaps the biggest Grace one can ever receive.

4) Ongoing openness to conversion is necessary, takes time (sometimes a lot of time!), and supports and challenges new learnings and ways of being.

There are others, I’m sure. I have as limited knowledge of and insight into the world as others. Yet, limited doesn’t mean unimportant or arbitrary. It simply means incomplete, something I rely on others and God to “fill-in.” Only the more can really fill-in completely. Get comfortable being incomplete – it’s not a deficiency, its gift; it points us towards things that matter.

Ten years after graduating high school, I can’t help but nod to the past, affirming things that sustain, and gazing towards the future with new eyes. This, all in ten years.