My New Booklet

For fifty years, my life has been dedicated to advancing fundamental social change by trying to help organize communities whose members both support one another in their self-development and engage in political action together. Some of those efforts to “integrate the personal and the political” have been more successful than others.

I’ve also self-published two books, Global Transformation: Strategy for Action and My Search for Deep Community: An Autobiography. Those books were essentially first drafts that I circulated quickly to get feedback to help improve my thinking before composing briefer, more marketable books.

Now I’m summing up my conclusions in a small booklet, whose working title is “Transform the World with Holistic Politics: Grow Compassionate Communities.”

I hope to find a publisher that will help market and distribute the book. Now that I’m retired from part-time cab driving, I could also promote the book myself.

Until I finish a solid draft of that declaration, I may not be posting much of my own writing here. When I do have a complete draft, I will periodically post segments here and seek feedback.

Keeping faith,

Glide 2.0

This morning I wake up thinking about a proposal that I might present to the new Lead Pastor at Glide Church, Rev. Jay Williams, Ph.D. I’ve been to Glide Celebrations a few times recently, but have not heard Pastor Jay preach. However, I did like the statement he made at the recent Interfaith Gathering Against Hate at Temple Emanu-El. And I appreciate that he had his two co-pastors join him at the podium there and introduced them as fellow team members. Teams are good. And I like what I heard and experienced at those Glide Celebrations, which attracts people from throughout the world. So, hopeful that his team and the Glide Community would be receptive to my ideas concerning holistic politics, I complete the following draft:

Glide Church
Global Transformation Project
9/3/17 Draft

At each Celebration and in other ways Glide Church invites people who affirm a brief Statement of Principles (not yet written) to organize or join a local 12-person Global Transformation Team whose members meet at least once a month to:
+Share a meal.
+Report to one another on the following questions:
++What have I been doing to become a better person?
++What will I be doing to become a better person?
++What have I been doing to help improve my nation’s public policies?
++What will I be doing to help improve my nation’s public policies?
+Plan activities for some or all team members to engage in prior to the next team meeting. Possibilities include but are not limited to social, recreational, political, and cultural activities.

NEXT STEP: Form a Glide study group to consider this proposal and, perhaps, draft the Statement of Principles.

Drafted by:
Wade Hudson

Recently my writing had focused on the United States, but as I thought about Glide’s global reach, I shifted back to Global Transformation, the title of the 2007 book I wrote in Tepoztlan, Mexico. Though I was not ignoring global issues in the “Transform America” booklet I was writing, a broader focus seems called for. So I print the Glide Church proposal, place it in an envelope, and head out.

Then, at the conclusion of his excellent sermon, Pastor Jay reports that the new pastoral team will be initiating a serious, strategic planning process to shape Glide’s future. Three points in his report strike me. He emphasizes that it will be highly collaborative, the whole congregation will work on it together. He refers to a commitment to “justice for all.” And he says the scope of the planning will be “international.” Talk about synchronicity!! It sure feels that way to me.

After the service, I approach Pastor Jay.
We embrace warmly.
I say, “Great sermon. And I liked your statement at the Interfaith Gathering Against Hate.”
“Thank you.”
“I didn’t know about the strategic planning process but I woke up this morning with some ideas about a Glide project.”
“So it seems we’re on the same wavelength.”
“I was an Intern Minister here in 1970 and for the last several years I’ve been a member of the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples.”
“Yes, Howard Thurman’s church.”
“I’ve been coming here for a month or so and would like to get involved in the planning and printed out some ideas. Should I give you a copy now?”
“Yes, great.”
I give him the envelope and, after another warm embrace, go to Room 201 to become an official member of Glide Church.

Systemic, Holistic Thinking

In “What Makes a Terrorist?” Nafees Hamid presents a particularly clear argument for systemic analysis and a holistic perspective on what leads jihadist terrorists to engage in terrorism.

He argues:

The greatest difficulty for our ability to understand and respond to terrorism and radicalization is linear thinking. Arguing that radicalization is caused by poverty because most modern jihadists come from marginalized neighborhoods is the same flawed logic as arguing that radicalization is caused by Islam because jihadists are all Muslims. Even combining Islam and marginalization as risk factors doesn’t get us far, as only a fraction of a percentage of marginalized Muslims join jihadist groups. One can add many more factors and still end up with the same dilemma. Trying to find a root cause of radicalization is doomed from the start because it assumes a single, linear chain of causation.

Instead, it is better to think of radicalization as a phenomenon in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Multiple factors interact in complex ways that cause radicalization to emerge in individual people and groups. As with other complex systems, such as ecosystems, removing one factor does not cause the system to collapse but instead to evolve in ways that may be positive or negative.

…Radicalization is a complex system that cannot be reduced to its individual factors. International conflicts, social networks, community, ideology, and individual vulnerabilities all combine to let radicalization emerge. Some of these factors may be more volatile, such as individual personalities, while others are more stable, such as social networks. But only a holistic view of this phenomenon can provide the understanding needed for designing policies to counter the pull of extremist groups.

His approach applies to other issues as well.