From the President, November 2018

From the President, November 2018


What does that word conjure for you?

Each of us has memories that make us smile and others that make us cringe. A big question becomes, What do we do about them?

As I was thinking ahead to November’s theme of memory, it occurred to me that holding on to memories of arguments, irritations, even outright ugliness is a great way to stay stuck in the past and fail to be present in the present.

That applies to every aspect of our lives – including the part that plays out in Peoples Church. Because – let’s face it – each of us has done something at some point to step on the toes of one of our Peoples peeps.

But if you or I let one icky interaction with another person influence all our future ones, how exactly are we being true to our Mission of living compassionate lives through spiritual growth and just action? (Hint: We’re not.)

Nor would we be doing a good job of adhering to the commitments we made when we voted in favor of our Covenant of Right Relations three years ago.

Fortunately, by paying attention to thoughts and reactions that may have become habitual, you and I can start to uncover one AFGO (Another Flippin’ Growth Opportunity) after another…and both the Covenant and our Mission are powerful tools for increasing awareness.

For example, the fourth commitment in our Covenant of Right Relations is to “actively listen and think before speaking.” (I know: pretty radical.)

If we spend time to actually listen, process, then respond thoughtfully and kindly, I’m guessing the number of uncomfortable interactions that will become uncomfortable memories will go way down.

And it’s a whole lot easier to avoid stuffing a yucky memory in your brain than it is to ignore it once it’s there.

So how ‘bout it? What if each of us commits to keeping her mental hard drive as free as possible from memories of times where we acted like jerks because we didn’t listen to each other? We’d have a lot more space for the good memories we’re creating as we step into our next 150 years at Peoples.