The prophet Elisha succeeded the prophet Elijah. He took his place after Elijah completed his mission on earth. To follow in the steps of Elijah was a pretty tall order. It was Elijah who brought down fire from heaven to consume a sacrifice to prove the reality of the God of Israel. He also multiplied oil and meal, raised the dead, and even caused it to rain to end a serious drought. But he did something else: he smote the waters of the Jordan river that was in his path and they parted before him.
Simone Campbell — How to Be Spiritually Bold
Then a chariot of fire appeared and carried him alive into heaven. He was indeed a prophet who could make things happen. Tim Sanders thinks not. As an author and speaker with real business experience, Tim helps people and organizations create a culture of leadership where individuals can succeed. Who is Tim Sanders? Tim worked with Mark Cuban on the launch of broadcast. Tim regularly lectures on leadership development, sales strategy, and human performance. And that was it. But what they wanted was a network of the sisters in the United States to — who were doing charity at the time, but the call really was to do systemic change.
To work to change the federal policies.
And required us to be active on Capitol Hill. And so we grew and became lay folks. And when I started, it was probably maybe about half sisters, half lay folks as members. But the whole idea was to affect policy on Capitol Hill. Get Catholic social tradition, Catholic social teaching into the best of who we are and make policy based on real life needs. That was our goal. So, what do you mean by that? What does that connote? And Gerald May, in this amazing book Will and Spirit , says that the only thing that we bring to the contemplative life is a willing heart.
And that the two things that shut down the contemplative life are fear and holding on, grasping. I get invited to where people are hungry. And not closing up. That must be exhausting.
Simone Campbell — How to Be Spiritually Bold
And that you do, as busy as you are, and as big a job as you have, you also do — you do cultivate that. And I think you take time away — you go on retreat. You do take time to immerse in meditation and contemplation. I mean, I meditate every morning. What has the addition of the — you were contemplative before you had a Zen practice. What does that add? How does that complexify your contemplative life? It was so exciting. I was really a little nuts. But this was like a doorway to a form that could be used in any — Zen can be used with any content because Zen is the discipline of the meditation.
And — OK, so my experience was this, of meeting, of having in my imagination the sense of a sage. Saying — inviting me to go deeper. And that — being willing to do that was the biggest gift of my life ever.
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And being willing to know that — how can I say this? All of creation is one body. But the freedom of knowing that means I just have to do my part. Because on the cushion, doing the Zen is the easy part of the contemplative life. And then sitting, doing Zen, you put the snow globe down, and it all sinks down.
For one brief shining moment every now and then. Please wake me up. Today, with Sr. House of Representatives budget plan to cut spending on social services, as well as a reprimand, that same year, of the small lobbying organization Sr. Simone runs together with the wider leadership of American Catholic sisters. There have now been three tours to 25 states, with stops and conversation all along the road with all kinds of people, about matters like living wage, the wealth gap, and health care.
And you were worried, as a good executive director would be, about how to get the word out…. Yes, absolutely. I mean, well, it was our 40th anniversary on April 14th, We only had nine full time staff at the time and we made the whole Vatican nervous?
We were pushing back against the Ryan budget. We were lifting up the works of Catholic sisters. And going in a bus. And they told me it had to be a wrapped bus. And I had no idea what a wrapped bus was. I was so afraid it had something to do with rap music. But we knew nothing. I had no idea what it meant.
I had no idea where it would lead. We had no idea where it was going. I think the great gift of the bus — among the great gifts of the bus, are that it put us in contact with folks all over the country. And we became a way for them to find hope, to find community, to come together. On this last bus trip this past fall on voter turnout, we — everybody who pledged to vote got to sign the bus.
That became like magic, magic. And I was with some people in Chicago — some sisters in Chicago who had been with us in Chicago. And they had looked on the bus to find their sisters from Iowa who had signed the bus earlier. And who else did they know? And then by the time we got to Colorado, the thing was filled. And that is something that is missing, missing deeply in our nation right now that all could be welcome.
Podcast: Be Spiritually Bold | Starengu
You know? Well, and it set it up for me to be able to say the percent. Set it up. But no one should be dominating the rest of the community. And we want to win. And money just happens to be the current measure of winning. So anyway, it was an interesting conversation. But seeing — having the curiosity to see their perspective allows for finding new solutions. Because if we just fight and resist — this is the other piece about contemplative life. If we just fight against something, it reinforces it. Say some more.