On the way home from retreat, a long drive across the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I found a podcast to listen to: On Being with Krista Tippett. I thought it might break up the 7-hour drive. I’ve been thinking about it ever since.
Krista interviewed two millennial women, Lennon Flowers and Rev. Jennifer Bailey, two of the founders of the Faith Matters Network, a newly-formed movement that focuses on sustaining the energy and passion of community leaders in social justice networks. According to their website, they “embody a particular wisdom of millennials around grief, loss, and faith.” Together they created The People’s Supper, which uses shared meals to build trust and connection among people of different identities and perspectives. Since 2017, they have hosted more than 1,500 meals. In the words they use, the practices they cultivate, and the way they think, Flowers and Bailey issue an invitation not to safe space, but to “brave space.”
“The People’s Supper is an initiative to repair the breach in our interpersonal relationships across political, ideological, and identity differences, leading to more civil discourse.”
Lennon and Jennifer talked about their experience of organizing these community meals that bring very diverse people to the table to listen to each other’s stories. It does not begin with “Why did you vote the way you did?” It requires “brave space” where people are willing to share a meal that forms a bridge across the political, economic and social divides we know today.
How can you argue with someone’s politics when passing a basket of bread?
This idea of brave space transforms my idea of safe space. It is a movement from being secure to vulnerable, from armored to open, from guarded to curious. I wonder if brave space might be a way to build peace, by being peace in conversations we have (or don’t have) with people different from ourselves. Brave space calls us to look at one another with softer eyes.
This poem, taken from their website, inspired me and I hope it inspires you.
Invitation to Brave Space
By Micky ScottBey Jones
Together we will create brave space
Because there is no such thing as a “safe space”
We exist in the real world
We all carry scars and we have all caused wounds.
In this space
We seek to turn down the volume of the outside world,
We amplify voices that fight to be heard elsewhere,
We call each other to more truth and love
We have the right to start somewhere and continue to grow.
We have the responsibility to examine what we think we know.
We will not be perfect.
This space will not be perfect.
It will not always be what we wish it to be
It will be our brave space together,
We will work on it side by side.
Maybe this could start something.