Feminine Face of New Thought Leadership
Why should New Thought women and men explore
the dynamics and possibilities of a feminine leadership network?
The reason we are called together is to explore the possibility of co-creating a New Thought Network of Feminine Leadership in our movement, including women (and men) who are closely aligned with our spiritual mission, even if they are not directly involved in NT churches. There is not yet a “plan” in place… this is an exploration of new territory, and in this initial inquiry process, we are just at the beginning of that journey.
One way global shift occurs is when a unified voice of moral authority leads the chorus of world opinion. This can go in the direction of better or worse, and has clearly done both in the course of history. Traditional lines of diversity—religion, culture, nationality, economics, profession, and so on down the line—cannot and should not dominate global choices in this way; nor should gender if it is understood simply as a physical category that does not align with values. However, the impulses that determine feminine sensibility, perspective, and leadership style clearly signal a qualitatively different approach to decision-making and problem solving that has the capacity to transform value-sets that dominate and define our common culture.
We are at this threshold because we have responded to a call that attracted our interest, and that attraction was strong enough to get us through a few small steps that ended up in expanding the question. What such a network of networks would do, or not do, can’t be known yet. However, change always begins with vision and, even if it requires years or decades to unfold fully, we know our larger vision cannot be fulfilled without taking the next steps. They strategically and spiritually inform us through the responses that we, and the universe, provide.
There are conditions and issues facing the world today, and not just about women by any means, where decision-making, solutions, and leadership fall short of the conscious awareness we desire for our selves and societies. As a result, systems break down, corruption and injustices prevail, and people suffer. This is no big secret. The mystery appears to lie in: “how do we get from here, to the kind of world we know is possible?”
In New Thought, our first answer is always, “in consciousness.” The second answer is more elusive, but it definitely builds upon consciousness to manifest in real-time personal transformation, community resonance, and social evolution. AGNT often states its purpose in the following way:
The Association for Global New Thought (AGNT) was co-founded in 1996 to represent the leading edge of the New Thought lineage. Its constituent member churches and centers among Unity, Religious Science, and nondenominational New Thought spiritual communities are committed to global healing through personal transformation, community-building, interfaith, intercultural, and interdisciplinary understanding, and compassionate activism.
If we have a choice between war and peace, we want peace; for this to be possible, we must find ways to prioritize collaboration over conflict at any cost. If we have a choice between a world where all are fed and sheltered or one in which many suffer needlessly, we must find ways to prioritize equitable distribution of resources over material greed and power politics at any cost. And so on…
With a head start as one of the world’s extremely rare spiritual/religious traditions, in present day that ordains and licenses predominantly female clergy, New Thought’s exploration into the dynamics of feminine leadership has the potential to help steer this wave now gathering to crest all around this planet. Countless groups, retreats and initiatives already exist in connection with our churches and centers; the great majority of our programs and committees are led by grassroots activists, congregants, clergy, staff, volunteers—self-empowered women.
However humbly we begin, there is an unprecedented opportunity at hand that could literally change civilization as we know it. We do not stand alone in this opportunity or without means; partnerships and new technologies emerge every day in its support. The “litmus test” of its timeliness and importance is straightforward: we could not stop it in its tracks, even if we tried. Simply stated, New Thought women and men face the opportunity to play a part in connecting networks upon networks of women worldwide for the purpose of BECOMING a unified voice of moral authority that leads the chorus of world opinion. Not in all matters, not for the sake of someone’s project, agenda, or personal gain, but to be applied with great discernment when issues arise in which it is clear that decision-making, solutions, and leadership fall short of the conscious awareness we desire for our selves and societies.
Yes--this is a big vision comprised of a million constituent parts. Beyond the New Thought networks of conscious women, we are associated with distinguished global leaders-- women and men, religious and secular—learning how to coordinate effective networks of their own. Collectively, we have formed solid relationships with women whose passion and careers have centered for decades around building conscious communities of their peers, and with women oppressed and underserved in the global population. Most of these have established clear lines of intra-network communication and are now beginning to pay attention to inter-network partnerships.
With these resources, relationships, and response systems in place, is it really so difficult to conceive of a plan in which a tapestry of connected networks could be woven into activation at the right time, for the right reasons?
Think of the elegance of content and design that might be called into play as a global consortium of feminine wisdom advocates agree on new styles of consensual decision-making, alongside criteria for identifying and examining issues and causes, guided by feminine leadership principles that we are now in the process of articulating. All this is possible just as “peace is possible” (Gandhi), with intuition, prayer and meditation integrated into the process.
In a very short time (about a month), AGNT has learned much through surveys and conversations with New Thought, women. The field is not only vaster than we realized, but diverse, complex, mature and growing quickly. It has been relatively easy to ask for, and receive solid information about what our individual women and their groups recognize as key actions and ideals on many themes and subjects. This richness of style and interest can be guided into focused conversations leading to concrete results and great fulfillment; it will take discipline and commitment but, sooner than we might think, our New Thought networks will be flowing into organic relationships with other networks and their global shepherds.
Attributed to Voltaire is the statement, “God is a circle whose center is everywhere and circumference is nowhere.”
We are the center and we are everywhere. Everywhere is the circumference, which knows no limits.
Is it too big a vision? We can’t really know until we begin. We are motivated by the insight and belief that that the process, itself, has to model a new way of embodying sacred leadership through the feminine and the masculine. Something else we all share is a genuine curiosity about what it means to stand in true co-creativity with beloved sisters, and with the conscious men who have discovered an aspect of their own inner feminine in balance with the masculine. We are touching on what it means and feels like to be whole in spirit and global in citizenship.