Vital Links

I live my life in a mycelliar kind of way moving in webs of trust and meaning in which I find language, work, power, correction, fun and the most basic life-giving sustance. Some of these webs look like “work” but they are actually way more vital, alive and fun than that word usually implies.

I once asked Jim Cochrane what word would describe the activity and behaviors we usually call work. I was thinking he’d have one of the cool African words like umbutu. He actually found the word in Greek–poieis–which is close to poetry but all about the crafting of the world through our full humanity in relationship to others who are also crafting the world in their full humanity. I don’t mean to imply that these working networks don’t do thing that are concrete, powerful, resource rich and intellectually strong. But rather that if you follow these links into the humanity of the relationships, you’ll that kind of vitality going on. Don’t be surprised, if you find more than you were looking for.

Stakeholder Health. The web of trust that came alive in Memphis and then the West Wing of the Obama White House in 2011 and then as a learning group of progressive health care systems that took on this new name, Stakeholder Health. This group continues to find its way and become itself through the deep relationships that gather now and then online and in the real world. It has been wildly productive in terms of intellectual and technical content, which you can quickly see on the website and in the publishing arm, Stakeholder Press. Don’t just look; come in an stick around. You might be the missing human being for Stakeholder Health to fully become itself.

Leading Causes of Life Initiative. Leading Causes of Life is the name of a book I wrote with Larry Pray (available here). The book was a better question than answer. The Leading Causes of Life Initiative is an web of about 80 Fellows and many hundreds more people who are intrigued by the idea that there is more going on in the world than the causes of death, pathology, breaking down and falling apart. So many of our professions and institutions are built around what is broken that we hardly have even the vocabulary to talk about what is working, what is alive. Like all of these webs, this is a group of people still becoming itself, so you may be the missing scrap of living tissue it needs.

FaithHealth NC. The ideas and language you read in my blogs, books and articles all reflect networks of humans doing actual things in actual places. Much of the thinking traces to The Carter Center and Memphis. But you can see no small part of the networks of action here in North Carolina linked to the Wake Forest Medical Center, now part of Atrium Health, which is now part of Advocate Health. Obviously, ideas get lost and mutate in translation and integregration. But if you’re looking for the reality, this is a good place to start.

Wake Forest University School of Divinity. This is my academic home and home of my heart for many years. My office is up in the bell tower of Wait Chapel (named after the slaveholder who founded the university in the early 1800’s). I came here as a freshman in the college quite some number of years ago. This building is where I first learned of the life of Dr. King and of the Social Gospel and the prayers of Walter Rauschenbusch who inspired my book of prayers a century or so later. I am now the Professor of Religion and the Health of the Public teaching about Leading Causes of Life, religious health assets, boundary leadership and all the things you’d expect. I urge you to look at the mission of the School of Divinity to see if it doesn’t make your heart tingle just a bit as you realize there is a tenacious band of learners who have not given up on the future.

Cosmorock. Smartest website on the whole internet imagined and curated by Tom Peterson. Quickest way to turn on your brain about how much mercy and justice the world is capable of. Smart portals open up to a small set of next links and steps that Tom has carefully vetted for change-makers. Do you want to change the world? Good place to start is Cosmorock.