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Parker Palmer

PARKER PALMER: Camp Obama, starting two and a half, three years before the election, when the Obama candidacy was a real long shot, happened around the country. Circles of people gathered together for two or three days and invited to tell three stories.

 


And I want to call attention to this because I think movements always begin in this very interior place in the human heart where people are asked to look at and share something of their own lives, their own experience.

And so at Camp Obama, in small groups and over a period of a couple of days, people were invited, first of all, to tell the story of self. What are the hurts and hopes that bring you to this occasion, to the possibility that this long-shot candidate might represent your interests and might actually get elected? The story of self.

The second story, very important, the story of us. How do you see your own story relating to the stories of other people you know and to the larger American story that's going on right now? I'm a Quaker. And one of my great monitors was Douglas Steere, a great Quaker teacher. And he always said the "Who am I?" question is important. But the "Whose am I?" question is equally important.

What do you mean when you say "we"? And so the story of us, so that self-story doesn't end up in narcissism but gets connected to the larger fabric of community. And then finally they were asked to tell the story of now from their point of view. What do you see going on in this moment that makes you think we have a chance to heal some of the hurts and pursue some of the hopes that you've named in those earlier stories?

Well, there's a lot to be said about that process which then rippled out through concentric circles to gather more and more people in as these folks went back home and asked other people to tell the same stories.

 

[ Heard on Bill Moyers' Journal, 20 Feb 2009 ]



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