A Gang of Seven

 Pointing the Way


 Two Movements

 Three Sacraments

 Facets of Vital Engagement

 Vital Engagement:
            Life Blood of Trust

 Steps Towards Trust

 Missed Steps

 Unseen Options  

 Justice in Relationships


Each of us wants a person to trust as one person trusts another*

We are born into a context where we learn how to engage for good and for bad. How we engage, how we learn to trust, how we guard ourselves from hurt take seed among those who have born, raised, surrounded us, and urged us on.

To wit, the words of a college freshman,

Your mom, your dad, your cousin, aunt, uncle, teachers, and your best friend - these are the connections that you have in your life. When you get a promotion, these are the people you call. When you play in a recital, these are the people watching. When your true love dumps you, these are the ones empathizing with your pain. Though we may not realize it to its full extent, we are affected by and affect the relationships around us. From the very first instant my mother laid eyes on me and associated the new idea of Zach with this squirming baby, that is when - at the very second that relationship began - my personhood was born, relevant not only to me, but to the heart of a newly made mother.

The vitality and vibrancy with which we engage are linked to our willingness to elicit trust. Our willingness to elicit trust finds voice in the vitality and vibrancy that we convey to the people in our world.

Fair give-and-take fuels trust between people even when they are disinclined. Turning to someone who is standoffish takes, courage, imagination and confidence.

The process of vital engagement and planting trust contains a lot of parts: Facing, testing, reworking, repairing, restoring, forgiving, and owning the constructive AND destructive pieces that we ourselves have contributed to a messy situation.

*rephrased from Martin Buber (1965)