Friday, January 15, 2010

RAPPORT & Religion

Since (as best I can tell) 2001, RAPP has had a structure where our "jumping off points" for the quarter are race in fall, gender in winter, and sexuality in spring. We call them "jumping off points" because our activities highlight issues of injustice in those areas as a way to explore major social justice theories, but we let the group take the conversation where it wants to. We learn much from allowing ourselves to meander through several identities in our discussions - which often highlights how the many identities we all carry intersect.
In the past few years, there's been an increasing amount of interest vocalized in exploring religious differences. The RAPPORT leadership team has taken this to heart and done much reflection and preparation to tackle this intense topic. First, we had to own up to how empty our "toolboxes" were on the topic - whereas for race or for gender we have dozens of activities we're familiar with to use to approach the topic, for religion we had paltry few. Second, we had to do our research and really get to know issues about the topic and educate ourselves to be able to approach it in a thoughtful way that empowers agency, rather than perpetuates ignorance and intolerance.
After all that prep, we've finally jumped in! I'm still learning daily and am making this a topical focus in my personal and professional development.
RAPPORT's last meeting on Wednesday explored world religions, trends in US religions, and Christian privilege in US society. Our retreat (this weekend) will continue these conversations as well as explore another topic.
If you've got ideas or feedback for us about the topic, please feel free to contact me! If you'd be up for having a program or workshop where we try out some of our new tools, please contact me as well!
RAPPORT members Carmen, Brittany, DeVorah, and Jojo work on a group project at Wednesday's meeting.
RAPPORT members Kimmins and Nicole contribute to the conversation.

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