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Center for Action and Contemplation
Practice of the Better
Practice of the Better

Practice of the Better: Weekly Summary

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Francis of Assisi is the inspiration for this core principle of the CAC: The best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better. —Richard Rohr

There is nothing to be against. Just keep concentrating on the Big Thing you are for! Richard Rohr

“Resurrected” people are the ones who have found a better way by prayerfully bearing witness against injustice and evil—while also agreeing compassionately to hold their own complicity in that same evil. —Richard Rohr

The whole of Jesus’ ministry was to establish a community so convinced of their Belovedness to God that they proclaim the Belovedness of others. Belovedness is a massive act of owning and accepting your humanness as a gift from a God who deeply loves you. —Osheta Moore

Initially, it seemed a bit ridiculous to me to think that by starting a small community, we could somehow change the world, but now, it seems more ridiculous to me to think that somehow the world will change if we don’t do something. —Becca Stevens

What if all of Creation is the most palpable expression of our Creator’s generosity, sense of wonder, and commitment to diversity? What happens if we begin to include the fungi, the flowers, the fritillary butterflies, and the flocks of wild geese as our neighbors, our family, and our Creator’s expressive face? —Gary Paul Nabhan

Creating Trustworthy Space

In their book The Courage Way, Shelly Francis and the Center for Courage and Renewal share ideas about creating spaces of trust among people of diverse backgrounds and beliefs. They have identified eleven “touchstones” or “ground rules” to help move groups into greater trust, belonging, and understanding:

Give and Receive Welcome
Extend hospitality, and presume welcome, too. This includes welcome and support for diverse perspectives, opinions, and approaches. . . .

Be Present as Fully as Possible
. . . Bring all of yourself—your doubts, fears, and failings as well as your convictions, joys, and successes, your listening as well as your speaking—to the work. . . .

Extend Invitation, Not Demand
. . . Participation by listening with care is no less a contribution than participation by speaking with care. . . .

Speak Your Truth in Ways That Respect Other People’s Truth
. . . When you’re getting to know people, it’s vital to share stories across lines of difference, not to debate who’s right or wrong, and not to cast blame or shame. . . .

No Fixing, Saving, Advising, or Correcting Each Other
. . . Good leaders point their team in a direction where they can find answers, and also instill the belief that team members have the gifts and capacity to make good decisions the leaders will support. . . .

When the Going Gets Rough, Turn to Wonder
If you feel judgmental, or defensive . . . ask yourself, “I wonder what brought her to this belief?” “I wonder what he’s feeling right now?” “I wonder what my reaction teaches me about myself?” . . .

Practice Asking Open, Honest Questions
. . . Open, honest questions are the ones you cannot possibly know the answer to in advance; they are meant to elicit insights, to help people access their own resourcefulness. . . .

Attend to Your Own Inner Teacher
As you listen to and interact with others, pay close attention to your own reactions and responses. . . .

Trust and Learn from the Silence
Silence, or stillness, is a gift in our noisy world, and a way of knowing in itself. . . .

Commit to and Maintain Confidentiality
People are more likely to trust each other . . . when they know that their words and stories will remain with those with whom they choose to share them, and will never be passed on to others without permission. . . .

Know That It’s Possible for the Seeds Planted Here to Keep Growing

. . . We stand in many tragic gaps in life, and recognize that our vocation lies somewhere between what is real and what can be.

Experience a version of this practice through video and sound.


Center for Courage & Renewal and Shelly L. Francis, The Courage Way: Leading and Living with Integrity (Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2018), 27–35.

Explore Further. . .

Image credit: Claudia Retter, Three Fish (details), photograph, used with permission. Jenna Keiper & Leslye Colvin, 2022, triptych art, United States. Click here to enlarge the image.

This week’s image appears in a form inspired by early Christian/Catholic triptych art: a threefold form that tells a unified story. 

Image inspiration: We might find ourselves swimming against the current, but we’ve made a conscious decision to practice something different in response to an inner call.

Prayer for our community:

God, Lord of all creation, lover of life and of everything, please help us to love in our very small way what You love infinitely and everywhere. We thank You that we can offer just this one prayer and that will be more than enough,  because in reality every thing and every one is connected, and nothing stands alone. To pray for one part is really to pray for the whole, and so we do. Help us each day to stand for love, for healing, for the good, for the diverse unity of the Body of Christ and all creation, because we know this is what You desire: as Jesus prayed, that all may be one. We offer our prayer together with all the holy names of God, we offer our prayer together with Christ, our Lord, Amen.

Listen to the prayer.


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Radical Resilience

We live in a world on fire. This year the Daily Meditations will explore contemplation as a way to build Radical Resilience so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or burning out. The path ahead may be challenging, but we can walk it together.

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Our theme this year is Radical Resilience. How do we tend our inner flame so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or out? Meditations are emailed every day of the week, including the Weekly Summary on Saturday. Each week builds on previous topics, but you can join at any time.
In a world of fault lines and fractures, how do we expand our sense of self to include love, healing, and forgiveness—not just for ourselves or those like us, but for all? This monthly email features wisdom and stories from the emerging Christian contemplative movement. Join spiritual seekers from around the world and discover your place in the Great Story Line connecting us all in the One Great Life. Conspirare. Breathe with us.