Following on from the "Entrepreneurs" and "Resonating" posts, I have been reading Gerald Arbuckles "From Chaos to Mission - Refounding Religious Life Formation" (1996) He talks about the need to respond appropriately to the place of chaos Religious life finds itself in. He says that it isn't a case of 'renewal' - modifying old methods but of 're-founding' - going back to first principles, allowing the imagination to dream of alternatives, radically rethinking the way we do things, a creative quantum leap, owning the chaos and returning to the sacred time; the stories, the fundamental questions and the founding vision of the group... Re-founding is then a collaborative action/state.
Arbuckle talks about three stages; 1) Initial unease, the separation stage. One could talk about a sense of disconnection and a growing awareness of the dissonance between the action and the foundation story of the community/group. 2) The liminal stage or reflection stage "that moment between old patterns of reality and new ways of looking at reality". In this stage Arbucle says there is a point of choice; do we seek to retreat, to wallow in nostalgia, to cling to past securities, do we try to stand still and maintain the status quo, to be paralysed by the chaos or do we "move forward with risk and hope in an uncertain world"? 3) Re-aggregation, or re-entry. A new application of the vision and story of the community.
Arbuckle does recognise that with re-founding go two rituals "the ritual of grieving, that is , of letting o the irrelevant, and the ritual of initiation, allowing new life to enter". He relates this process to the idea of 'Pilgrimage' ,
Refounding is a risk filled journey of faith and hope, whereby we enter into the heart of the paschal mystery itself to unite with Christ and his mission, thus being energized to be ongoingly creative in bringing the kingdom message to the world of our times. As it is a journey demanding personal and group conversion, it is a slow and hesitant process, the outcome of which is ultimately in the hands of God... (it) has deep biblical and historical roots. Its formation process invites candidates to join with God the first Pilgrim in a journey of personal and group transformationThere will be more thoughts on this as I'm doing a Blah in Sheffield on Pilgrimage next month... see above!