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A dissertation presented to
the Faculty of Saybrook University
in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Organizational Systems


Dena Michele Rosko

Oakland, California
July 2017
© 2017 by Dena Michele Rosko
Approval of the Dissertation


This dissertation by Dena M. Rosko has been approved by the committee members below, who
recommend it be accepted by the faculty of Saybrook University in partial fulfillment of
requirements for the degree of

Doctor of Philosophy in Organizational Systems

Dissertation Committee:

______________________________ _______________________
Kathia Laszlo, Ph.D., Chair Date

______________________________ _______________________
Gary Metcalf, Ph.D. Date

______________________________ _______________________
Nancy Southern, Ed.D. Date



Dena Michele Rosko

Saybrook University

This study envisioned compassionate communitas for a local faith-based cross-sector

social partnership (CSSP) to interpret how people express the heart of what faith-based CSSPs

do amid rising pressures to meet more human and social needs with seemingly less resources and

workers. This study asked, "What is the ideal vision of a faith-based cross-sector social

partnership for people who support this type of health system?"

This study consisted of interviews using idealized systems design as a framework to

collect participant visions of the ideal partnership of the future. These visions were synthesized

and interpreted with reflective short stories and photographs from the researcher to share the

experience of compassionate communitas of a local faith-based CSSP for which the researcher

volunteered. The five participants who contributed to the local faith-based CSSP were the

president, board director, a pastor, a regional leader of a para-church organization, and an

employee of a regional health organization.

This study crafted sense from the stories, photographs, and visions by systematically

searching the data sources for expressions of the nine dimensions of compassionate communitas

based on the theoretical definitions from the literature: collective responding, noticing suffering,

feelings of empathy, action to alleviate suffering, communicating concern, sensecrafting, ritual

and rites of passage through transition, supporting marginalized experience, and transforming

suffering into a personal or communal identity that expresses complex wholeness. A central

finding visualized a patch work handcrafted quilt as a metaphor for compassionate communitas

to support participant faith-based visions of hospitality to connect beyond sectorial interests and

to manage diverse partners in a society that pressures them to design for separation by meeting

basic needs with safe love so that people can thrive.

Future researchers can apply storied systems design, merge faith and vocation as

worthwhile foci to study, flesh out love as the bond for responding to human vulnerability by

connecting instead of ostracizing, and create a health systems model for partnerships and

practitioners salient to community health. Implications designing health systems to include a

family and hospitality approach to partnering with research discourse that supports study

findings of basic needs, safe love, and thriving.

For Graem. I love you always all ways.

To James, Amy, and my parents.

May your love outgrow your troubles, your true family show you the way home, your

work give you joy, your friendships impart hope, and God strengthen hearts with peace.

(Celebrate with a party soon?)

Special note of gratitude to librarians everywhere.


Thank you to the Lord for giving me life and safe passage, and teaching me about love.

Thank you to my husband James for going through the travails and travels of doctoral

study with me. Thank you to my son Graem for your patient endurance and gentle strength as I

finished the work, and for your quiet wonderment of the sky and trees on our walks. May you

know the joy of being you outside of walls and inside the shelter of love, hugs, and vocation.

Thank you to my chair, Kathia Laszlo, for believing in this unorthodox work, for

advocating for me, and supporting me as a person. Thank you for showing me how to chair.

Thank you to Gary Metcalf for telling me about Idealized Systems Design, and committing to

cross the finish line, and to committee reader Nancy Southern for journeying with me through

transfer, community engagement for crisis management in my city, and doctoral completion.

Thank you to the executive director and board president for affirming my personhood and

vocational ministry. Thank you to participants and contributors of the local faith-based CSSP for

your services to people in God’s image, for partnering with my consulting and research, my

transition to motherhood, for modeling compassionate communitas, and for supporting the

finishing of this work with your inspiring visions. Thank you for the exhausting and energizing

work that you do for people in our city. Thank you to the city for structuring a place to live for

residents, and for partnering in the human and social services that the faith-based CSSP provides.

Thank you to my friends for your ongoing prayers, patience, and kindness to me as I

transitioned through graduate and post-graduate programs, marriage, and motherhood. Notably,

Jennifer for walking side by side, Jennifer for your moral support and practical advice, Janelle

for your empathy and cheering my doctoral process with solidarity, Monique, Kevin, Debbie,

and Jodi for your prayers from afar for my travels and troubles, Carrie for modeling intentional

parenting, Toka for our irreverent laughs over wine and a phone-call on a hike, Candace and

Christa for your experienced advice, prayers, and listening, Amber, Cle, Whitney, Katelan, Alise,

and Beth (birth class!), and Laura V.P. and Lottbott, plus the family you have shared with us

(Dawson, Anna and David, E.J. and Chris), for walking with us through postpartum as kindred

spirits and playmates, plus a loving godmother to Graem. Thank you Neighbors for your cheer.

Thank you to our pastors, counselors, and health practitioners who supported our health

and character through an arduous, lonely, and painful process. Pastor Churilla and Debi, thank

you for your prayers for me and my little family, and for being my first pastor. Pastor Jensen

and Thelma, thank you for your kindness, gentleness, humor, and faithfulness to God and our

family for years. Pastor G, thank you for your message to leave the empty tomb and serve in our

Galilees. Pastors Jim and Tom, thank you for encouraging a rising hope by reminding us to

cherish each other, care for each other in crisis, celebrate the good times, remember the good that

God has done, and strengthen our nuclear family with boundaries and life-giving activities. Your

dedication to our family’s growth reinforced my value of God’s extended spiritual family as our

own. Also, Mission for welcoming us with the friendly and family style for which I longed.

Thank you to Mom and Dad for raising me in a church family, and for your prayers, and

to Mom for watching Graem during this dissertation, for reminding me that God works all for

good and renewal (Rom. 8:28-30), to pray, and that we are about the future. I enjoyed hearing

you both laugh and play. Thank you to Aunt Laura and Uncle Pat for family dinners,

discipleship, prayers, and for relating with me, and Aunt Dora and Dixie for your texts, prayers,

and encouragement. Thank you to aunt Yvonne and Uncle Alan for your visits, Mike and

Claudia for your support of our transition to parenthood, Barbi for late night Facebook chats,

telling me to stay me, and lunch and tea date, Lisa for your prayers, Lindsay for welcoming

Graem as the new baby in the family, and for your yoga passion, Amy for being there for me and

sharing your family when I struggled in stuck places, and Rain for telling me not to give up.

Thank you to my colleagues and friends at Saybrook and Gonzaga Universities for

showing me how to do the work with joy and celebration of each other: "We’ll get through this

together." Thank you to President Nathan Long and Dr. Carol Humphreys for your time and

listening ear about my experience as a transfer student, and about my work for community

engagement for the university with storycrafting benefiting municipalities at the local level.

Thank you to Dr. Heather Miller for reminding me that the good about a Ph.D. is what I learn,

and how to do it better next time. Thank you to Corey and Lynnette for your healing guidance.

I am remiss if I neglected to mention anyone meriting gratitude. My learning evidenced

in this study does not necessarily reflect the views of anyone stated in the acknowledgements, or

of my participants; the interpretations of an interpretive study I hold as my own.

Writing thank you has been a most gratifying part of this study because loving connection

matters. "Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up" (1 Cor. 8:1) sums up why compassionate

communitas matters to me as a turning point in-between a title and distinction towards a more

humble, healthy, sane, and act of faith, plus the integration needed to align character with the

honor and privilege of work that has resulted in a Ph.D., but has hopefully planted seeds of a

more lasting kind. For me, that lasting kind rests in-between building a house of prayer (Isa.

56:7; Jer. 7:11; Matt. 21:13; Mark 11:17), and repairing rifts of suffering (Isa. 58:12) imbued

with yearnings of the heart reminiscent of faith while still honoring the words (Luke 11:42; Matt.

23:23). I thank God for life, and wish you all love, health, and joy on your journey.

Table of Contents

List of Tables.................................................................................................................................xii

List of Figures ..............................................................................................................................xiii

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION....................................................................................................1

About the Faith-Based CSSP...........................................................................................................3

Historical Background of the Faith-Based CSSP ............................................................................4

Methodology Overview .................................................................................................................10

Definition of Terms .......................................................................................................................13

Organizational Compassion.....................................................................................................14

Liminal Communitas ...............................................................................................................14

Research Questions........................................................................................................................16

Conceptual Connections ................................................................................................................17

Mismatch of Modern For-Profit Organizing .................................................................................18

Global Context of Wealth Disparity for Faith-Based CSSPs ........................................................19

Previous Research about CSSPs....................................................................................................22

Summary and Organization ...........................................................................................................25

CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW.......................................................................................27

Conceptual Foundations ................................................................................................................27

Review of the Literature ................................................................................................................28

Theme One: Organizational Compassion ................................................................................28

Development of organizational compassion......................................................................29

Earlier work about emotions..............................................................................................30

Defining the experience of compassion.............................................................................32

Operationalizing compassion.............................................................................................34

Organizational compassion................................................................................................35

Compassion as moral sentiment. .......................................................................................37

Compassion amid suffering. ..............................................................................................38

Theme Two: Liminality of Communitas .................................................................................40

The liminal turn. ................................................................................................................42

Empirical findings of liminal organizations. .....................................................................44

Practice of communitas as complex wholeness.................................................................44

The contribution of spirituality to communitas. ................................................................45

Idealizing systems of compassionate communitas. ...........................................................46

Let love in. .........................................................................................................................47

Story as a liminal act..........................................................................................................48

Theme Three: Faith-Based CSSPs...........................................................................................52

The complexity of partnerships. ........................................................................................52

A systems understanding of partnerships. .........................................................................53

Power players: Sociopolitics for faith-based CSSPs. ........................................................53

Systems functions and processes: Compassionate communitas of faith-based CSSPs. ....57

Functions of human systems: Socioeconomics for faith-based CSSPs. ............................60

Consciousness: Socioculture for faith-based CSSPs. ........................................................64

Holos: Primary driver for compassionate communitas of faith-based CSSPs. .................65

CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY ......................................................................................69


Purpose of the Study......................................................................................................................70

Research Questions........................................................................................................................70


Participant Selection ................................................................................................................72

Stories ......................................................................................................................................72

Photographs .............................................................................................................................73



Questions for Participants........................................................................................................75

Image of the Ideal Partnership System ....................................................................................76

The Ideal for Future Society ....................................................................................................76

Environmental View................................................................................................................76

Rewind to Present Day ............................................................................................................76

Systems Synthesis....................................................................................................................77

Rationale for Storied Systems Design ...........................................................................................78



Systems Synthesis..........................................................................................................................83

Systems Synthesis: Collective Responding .............................................................................83

Systems Synthesis: Noticing Suffering ...................................................................................89

Systems Synthesis: Feelings of Empathy ................................................................................91

Systems Synthesis: Action to Alleviate Suffering...................................................................95

Systems Synthesis: Communicating Concern .......................................................................100

Systems Synthesis: Sensecrafting..........................................................................................102

Systems Synthesis: Transition ...............................................................................................106

Systems Synthesis: Marginalized Experience .......................................................................110

Systems Synthesis: Transforming Suffering to Complex Wholeness ...................................115


CHAPTER FIVE: CONCLUSIONS, DIRECTIONS, & REFLECTIONS.................................125

Answering the Research Questions .............................................................................................125

Image of an Ideal Partnership ......................................................................................................133

Directions for Future Research ....................................................................................................139

Storied Systems Design .........................................................................................................139

Synthesis of Faith and Vocation ............................................................................................141

Love & Structures That Connect ...........................................................................................142

Health Systems Model...........................................................................................................142


Ethical Considerations .................................................................................................................150

Retrospective ...............................................................................................................................151

Reflections ...................................................................................................................................152

Why I Value Compassionate Communitas..................................................................................152

Post-Doctorate Directions............................................................................................................154


Conclusion ...................................................................................................................................158

REFERENCES ............................................................................................................................159

Appendix A: Influential Conceptions of Organizational Compassion as a Research Model......187

Appendix B: Conceptual, Empirical, and Future Directions for Liminality ...............................191

Appendix C: Conceptions Towards Storied Systems Design......................................................194

Appendix D: Stories and Photographs.........................................................................................199

Storying me: Leadership workshops. ....................................................................................199

Storying we: Easter sunrise service. ......................................................................................209

Storying the organization: Day in the life of faith. ................................................................215

Storying knowledge-sharing: Food distribution. ...................................................................224

Storying values: Fundraising gala. ........................................................................................230

Storying the springboard: Ribbon cutting ceremony.............................................................235

Storying the future: The director's ordination........................................................................238

Appendix E: Transcripts of Interviews........................................................................................243


Table 1: Compassionate Communitas Dimensions and Themes in the Sources ........................84

Table 2: Compassionate Communitas Dimensions and Implications in the Sources...............135

Table 3: Usage of Denning's (2005) Typology for Organizational Storycrafting ....................138

Table A1: Influential Conceptions of Organizational Compassion Via Author, Concept,

and Next Steps ........................................................................................................187

Table B1: Previous Conceptions of Liminality ...........................................................................191

Table B2: Recent Empirical Findings of Conceptions of Liminality ..........................................192

Table B3: Research Opportunities for Empirical Inquiry of Conceptions of Liminality ............193

Table C1: Conceptions of Storied Systems Design Via Author(s)..............................................194

Table C2: Narrative Conceptions of Storied Systems Design for Idealized

Research and Practice .............................................................................................196


Figure 1: Leadership Workshops: Story ........................................................................................86

Figure 2: Fundraising Gala: The Last Supper Quilt.......................................................................86

Figure 3: First Celebration of the Day Center at City Hall............................................................86

Figure 4: Food Distribution: Sign in Waiting Room ....................................................................89

Figure 5: Food Distribution: A Volunteer Hands a Resident Produce ..........................................92

Figure 6. Bouquet at Celebration of the Day Center ....................................................................92

Figure 7: Ordination: Reception Table in Foyer............................................................................93

Figure 8: Leadership Workshops: Hand Painted Poster at Partner Church ...................................97

Figure 9: Bee Lifts Off From Lavender at a Regional Church Event With Partners.....................97

Figure 10: Fundraising Gala: Welcome Table...............................................................................97

Figure 11: Bible With Glasses .......................................................................................................98

Figure 12: Dialogue: Unity Service at Partner Church................................................................100

Figure 13: Food Distribution: Quote Pinned on Bulletin Board..................................................101

Figure 14: Reflection of Sky in Puddle After a Sunrise Service. ................................................103

Figure 15: Reflection of Sky in Lake After a Sunrise Service. ...................................................103

Figure 16: Reflection of Bridge Inverted in Lake After Sunrise Service ....................................104

Figure 17: Easter Sunrise Service Over Trees .............................................................................107

Figure 18: Sunset Over Lake Where Held Sunrise Service ........................................................107

Figure 19: Last Meeting of the Year: Path at a Partner Church ..................................................107

Figure 20: Cross and Vine Via Sunlit Doorway at Partner Church ............................................111

Figure 21: Candle With Painting at a Partner Church for a Meeting on Hunger ........................112

Figure 22: Cross Framed by Blossoms after Partner Church Meeting ........................................117

Figure 23: Easter Sunrise Service Over Lake ..............................................................................117

Figure 24: Opening Between Trees Near Site of Service ............................................................118

Figure 25: Food Distribution: Iris at Housing Building ..............................................................118

Figure 26: Playground at Partner Church at Last Meeting of a Year ..........................................118

Figure 27: Stained Glass Window at A Partner Church ..............................................................119

Figure 28: Storied Systems Design as Collective Performance for Faith-Based CSSPs.............141


This storied systems design dissertation about compassionate communitas contributes a

compelling topic to envision faith-based cross sector social partnerships (CSSPs). Research and

practice need attention for the heart behind the bones of how faith-based CSSPs envision their

work. This study builds a bridge to approach faith-based CSSPs as a health system via (a)

storied idealized systems design and (b) compassionate communitas. Strategic alliances, such as

faith-based CSSPs, allow organizations to collaborate. Selsky and Parker (2005, 2010), who

introduced CSSPs, recommended more rich attention in research. This study goes beyond

structural or resource distinctions to illumine the heart of faith-based CSSPs. Little seems

known about how CSSPs function beyond distinctions about the purpose or structure of their

origins. This study merged cross-disciplinary boundaries of anthropology (communitas),

organizational psychology (compassion), and organizational systems (partnerships) to study

strategic alliances with approaches that better detail the complexity of faith-based CSSPs (see

Gray, 1985; Gulati, 1998; Mintzberg, Jorgensen, & Westley, 1996). Researchers need to know

how CSSPs affect whole systems because such studies seem rare (Selsky & Parker, 2005).

I applied storied systems design to paint the picture of an ideal image of a partnership by

synthesizing my reflective short stories and photographs about when I volunteered with a local

faith-based CSSP with participant visions of the ideal partnership of the future. I wrote the short

stories in April 2016 and placed the photographs within the stories at that time (Appendix D).

Later, I interviewed participants with questions about the ideal vision of the partnership of the

future, the ideal environment to support this partnership of the future, and what needs to change

now to implement this vision (Appendix E). The questions did not include prompts about

compassionate communitas or my stories or photographs because I wanted to hear their ideal

vision in their own words (Appendix E). The study participants were affiliated with this same

local faith-based CSSP with whom I served, and so some of us knew each other. I recruited most

participants from the board, and so four of five of the participants were board members. The

study participants contributed to this local faith-based CSSP as board members, the organization

president, board director, a pastor, a regional leader of a para-church organization, and an

employee of a regional health organization. This study offers a unique glimpse into how

research emerged from my sense-crafting process from volunteering with a faith-based CSSP.

Selsky and Parker (2005, 2010) defined a CSSP as an organization that partners to

address short- or longer- term projects that one or all partners propose, especially amid resource

constraints. Faith-based CSSPs often start as churches or spiritual congregations that reach out

to other such groups, businesses, individuals, and government agencies to partner for a shared

human or social concern, such as shelter, food, health, employment, or education. Examples of

CSSPs include partnerships between nonprofit organizations and businesses that encompass

social issues and causes, partnerships between governments and businesses for infrastructure

development and public services, partnerships between governments and nonprofit organizations

for job development and welfare, and partnerships from all three sectors that do large-scale

national or international multisector projects to address economic and community development,

social services, the environment, and health (Selsky & Parker, 2005). These CSSPs depend on

each other to share risk and resources, and to address concerns larger than one organization can

do alone (Iossa & Martimort, 2012; Kraak et al., 2012; Selsky & Parker, 2005).

About the Faith-Based CSSP

The faith-based CSSP for this study has served a city for over 40 years with five program

areas in shelter, food, health, education, and employment. This faith-based CSSP began as a

group of churches. Current programs have supported a day center that opened in collaboration

with city hall, a rotating night shelter supported by volunteers and churches, and food programs

throughout the week for residents. The faith-based CSSP consists of nonprofit, for-profit, local

churches, municipal officials, county agencies, and individual volunteers. This faith-based

CSSP’s core values include love of neighbor and community engagement of faith.

In my consulting and research, I support people and organizations to integrate their core

values and strategy to guide the language and heart of their story. In early 2012, the then

executive director asked me to support the faith-based CSSP with my storycrafting consulting

because we shared values of faith, story, dialogue, and team care to reduce fear and improve

connectedness during fiduciary transition to 501(c)3 status. I have volunteered with the faith-

based CSSP since then. During that time, the faith-based CSSP transitioned to non-profit

fiduciary status from a group of churches active for 40 years prior, and so my consulting and

research with story provided one way to support them through that change. I attended monthly

meetings to learn about the faith-based CSSP, board meetings to assist with aligning visioning,

discourse, and communication, and I co-designed and facilitated leadership and storycrafting

workshops with the executive director and board president. At those workshops, I supported

program directors and volunteers with familiarizing themselves with the faith-based CSSP and

its values alongside their motivation to serve so that they could communicate their story to

potential supporters. I also met informally with the executive director for leadership coaching.

In 2012, the faith-based CSSP hired me to do four storycrafting group sessions with their

food program to support team unity, outreach for a fundraising event, and to help the team align

the marketing language on their website with their values as individuals and as a group. Later,

we co- created and facilitated storycrafting and leadership workshops with program leaders and

faith-based CSSP-wide to support their identity and to promote the faith-based CSSP to each

other and potential supporters. During those sessions, we learned of a need to integrate the

various programs and individual motivations with a We identity and collective motivation to

serve. These experiences showed me the value of supporting people engaged in community.

This faith-based CSSP’s core values for love of neighbor and community engagement of

faith led me to consider how I can better support the work that faith-based CSSPs do with storied

practice and research. I began to wonder how compassionate communitas of faith-based CSSPs

can contribute to an engaged and loving community as a way of designing health systems.

Regional context for this work involved a county-wide strategic plan to make homelessness rare,

brief, and one-time (All Home King County, 2017). This work responded to the reality of the

consequences of wealth disparity. However, the faith-based CSSP may hold different ideals of

partnership. Therefore, I included how people who support a faith-based CSSP envision an ideal

partnership because their design visions impact their work and those whom they serve.

Historical Background of the Faith-Based CSSP

The faith-based CSSP came out of a historical backdrop of ecumenism in part because

the inter-church movement to serve a city, and because leadership within the faith-based CSSP

later had studied and valued ecumenism. The history of ecumenism provides a context to

understand the origins of the faith-based CSSP and the reason for the seeming splits between

ecumenism and evangelicalism, which relate to the modern environment. During the 1930s-

1940s, various committees emerged to explore the possibility of one ecumenical movement

beginning in 1936 with 35 committee members, and again on July 8, 1937 (Amorion, 2012).

Members of The Oxford Conference on Life and Work on July 12, 1937 and the Edinburgh

Conference on Faith and Order on August 3, 1937 approved the committee's proposal that the

ecumenical movement needs to be one movement of churches (Amorion, 2012).

More conferences and meetings followed until World War II. According to Amorion

(2012), the members of The Utrecht Conference on May 9, 1938 created the structural

foundation of the World Council of Churches (WCC). They agreed that the WCC must not

become a super church but instead exercise spiritual authority as a fellowship of churches who

accept Jesus Christ as God and Savior, and they appointed a provisional committee to establish a

regional system. However, World War II interrupted this plan, and so the committee established

three offices in Geneva, London, and New York to communicate with churches throughout the

world during the war. After this interlude, the WCC began relief fieldwork to help prisoners of

war and refugees throughout and after the war (Amorion, 2012).

The WCC functioned to (a) continue the work of the two world movements or "Faith and

Order" and "Life and Work," (b) to facilitate common action by the church, and (c) to promote

the growth of the ecumenical consciousness in members of all the churches (Amorion, 2012).

This emphasis on a lack of universal apostleship made ecumenism a movement instead of a

church. This history seems to have influenced the CSSP in part with the openness to inviting

similarly missioned partners to the table instead of over-emphasizing one denomination. With

that, modern ecumenism covers three broad areas of historic concern: faith and order, life and

work, and mission and evangelism. An ecumenical vision calls for unity, the pursuit of justice,

explicit witness to Christ, and renewal of creation while recognizing tensions between these calls

(Kinnamon & Cope, 1997). Concerns developed into how churches can recover authentic

ecumenical vision with a deep concern for unity (Kinnamon, 2003).

Later, Kinnamon (2014) asked several questions about whether contributors can renew

the ecumenical movement after the passion has died down and historical trends stabilize as

structured norms. Kinnamon, a modern ecumenical leader and scholar, hopes that ecumenism

can overcome the problem of partnerships being short-lived when devoted to a task or champion,

or overly structured, where at best these partnerships reinvent themselves to make way for the

ecclesiastical church—or the church in the theological sense. Kinnamon (2014) considered

leadership and context, such as what it takes to be an ecumenical leader, the impact of church

councils with reduced funding, tensions between unity and justice, revitalizing ecumenism at the

local level with deeper engagement with the churches, and what it means to be part of the church

at an integral level instead of as a member with an external organization. One challenge with

modern-day ecumenism involves renewing the movement with a deeper sense of community and

commitment based on a theological understanding that churches belong to each other (M.

Kinnamon, personal communication, October 30, 2014).

Much earlier, denominational movements of the seventeenth and eighteenth century

informed Evangelicalism, which eventually led to the previously described events in the 20th

century (Amorion, 2012). However, tensions between evangelicalism and ecumenism arose.

Historically, Evangelical denominations wrestled with difficulties about ecumenism mostly

centering on the need to recognize unity based on a profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as

God and Savior and not about the need for unity of diversity and shared concerns over the

movement as a pillar of truth or a global Church that transcends local churches (Longhenry,

n.d.). Notably, the WCC clarified these differences in the tenets of 1950 (Amorion, 2012).

After World War II, American evangelicals aspired to leave behind fundamentalism and

self-imposed separation from the world and instead engage culture and society. For the decade

after World War II, many American evangelicals became aware of deprivation and poverty

across the globe, which produced several cooperative evangelical social ministries first in Europe

and then in Asia. During the early Cold War, evangelicals remained committed to the historic

emphasis on personal conversion, which shaped their efforts to alleviate suffering of the global

poor. During this time, many evangelical groups engaged the world with conversion and poverty

alleviation efforts (Mullin, 2014). With growing evangelical diversity, divisions between left

and right seemed more arbitrary and without qualification because of a growing number of

evangelicals did not self-ascribe to either camp. They seem dissatisfied with how Christians had

engaged the public sphere in the past and regarded their faith as something more than a blueprint

for a political ideology (Harper, 2012; Harper & Innes, 2011; King, 2012).

The split in-between evangelicalism and ecumenism came about in part by a history of

new American religious pluralism, such as indicated by several texts reviewed by Sachs (2011).

In the early 1970s, a group of progressive evangelicals challenged the mid-century cultural

conservative bent of evangelicalism six years before the rise of the moral majority. This

evangelical left also challenged American culture, especially with debates over racial, sexual,

and theological differences during the 1960s and 1970s. White American evangelicalism

successfully mobilized politically and eclipsed the fragmenting evangelical left by the 1980s in

part due to internal strife over identity that prevented the movement from maturing. However,

the evangelical left provided diversity and fluidity that reflected the varieties of evangelicalism

(Swartz, 2011). For some evangelicals, the emphasis on inviting Christ to the table, or the

individual's salvation as a personal relationship and peace with God, also needs attention to

expressing that new communal connection to the body and life of Christ (1 Cor. 12:12-13, 27;

Col. 1:18, 24; Eph. 1:5, 1:22, 2:19, 4:4; Rom. 5:8, 12:4-5).

Internationally, American evangelical internationalism especially has created lasting

effects with relief and development agencies, and how American evangelicals engage with

global needs. This engagement means interacting with a global Christianity and a broad

spectrum of concerns that need people to redraw boundaries of the past so that they can address

social concerns that they may have previously ignored or lacked awareness (King, 2012).

However, evangelicalism’s reputation for distance from suffering symbolized how Evangelicals

visualized humanitarianism, such as with photographs of missions (Curtis, 2012), which

contrasted how Jesus came down and suffered with people in the world and gazed on the crowds

with compassion because they lacked someone to care for them (Benedict XVI, 2005; Isaiah 9:1-

6; Mabee, 2013; Matt. 9:36, 14:14; Mk. 6:34; Yates, 1994).

The perceived overlap with politicizing faith to distance suffering does not seem new to

history. For the last half of the 20th century, neo-evangelicalism moved from an anti-

Communist nationalist stance to internationalism characterized by concerns for human rights,

justice, and economic development. These critiques led evangelicals to engage in Vietnam

protests, poverty relief, civil rights, and a tempered nationalism, which influenced a progressive

turn in the evangelical left toward a more resolute global concern by the 1970s (Swartz, 2012).

This turn may become reinvented in the current political climate as progressives return to church

desiring harmony between their social concerns and theology (Green, 2016; Harris, 2016).

The perceived split between evangelicalism and ecumenism may not be seem as deep and

wide as before because of the diversity of movements of Christian faith that have sought to

improve social justice in recent years. Splits from engrained cultural assumptions about

separation of church and state, or who cares for the poor or welcomes others different from

themselves, and proclaiming Jesus as Savior and Lord function as a duality by assuming, but

care coexists with the message of salvation. This split has inflicted distracting tension. This

tension happens when merging faith with politics, socioeconomics, and culture. For instance,

suburban church-goers experienced tensions with outreach when they realized power inequities

between themselves as charitable givers and the recipients and with the resurgence of religious

conservativism in U.S. civil society and public culture (Elisha, 2008). Some interpret Scriptures

differently to question the level of involvement in caring for those marginalized even though

Jesus served those in spiritual and physical need (Bressler, 2013; Graham, 2006; Irwin, 2014).

These dilemmas have paralleled late modern urbanism, such as gentrification as a

structural process (Bielo, 2011), which has widened wealth disparity gaps and displaced poorer

populations that overlap with race in the city of the faith-based CSSP (see City of Seattle, 2015;

McGee, 2007-2008). Add to that sectorial organizational structures that may mismatch a faith-

based approach to organizing that comes from a history of kinship and peer-to-peer caring

(Ascough, 2002). For instance, one critical distinction between ecumenism and other faith-based

approaches involves their tendency to adopt a conciliatory approach, which distinguishes the

movement from coalition approaches that require contractual-like agreements (M. Kinnamon,

personal communication, October 22, 2014). The gospel seems interpersonal, relational,

communal, and a cause for pause to transition from self for self to self for God and others, and so

it makes sense for a faith-based CSSP to function as a relationship beyond operational

distinctions. This history gives a sketch of the faith-based CSSP, and introduces tensions

between modern structures bent on separation and the spiritual yearning for connection.

Methodology Overview

This study approached faith-based CSSPs via (a) storied systems design and (b)

compassionate communitas. I applied the lens of compassionate communitas to synthesize my

reflective short stories and photographs from time volunteering with a faith-based CSSP with

participants’ ideal visions of the partnership of the future. This faith-based CSSP cared about

envisioning an idealized future because they want to improve the quality of life for people longer

term than the current realities allow for people marginalized due to lack of resources. A storied

systems design resonated with this faith-based CSSP because their faith tradition values

storycrafting, dialogue, and hospitality of people’s diverse ideas and skills to meet a shared need.

I made transparent my bent toward compassionate communitas by including me as one

participant, or self as stakeholder, in addition to the five adults. However, I did not show

participants the stories or photographs, and excluded compassionate communitas from the

questions to not bias them. I asked participants for their vision of ideal partnership and

synthesized the stories, photographs, and visions with compassionate communitas by using the

theoretical definitions of compassionate communitas. I called these definitions dimensions.

I systematically searched the data sources via the nine dimensions of compassionate

communitas to craft sense from the stories, photographs, and visions for how these data sources

expressed collective responding, noticing suffering, feelings of empathy, action to alleviate

suffering, communicating concern, and sensecrafting (Dutton, Workman, & Hardin, 2014;

Kanov et al., 2004), and ritual and rites of passage via people going through a transition,

supporting each other’s marginalized experience, and transforming suffering into a personal or

communal identity that expresses complex wholeness (Fernandez, 1986; V. W. Turner, 1987).

In April 2016, I wrote seven stories reflecting about volunteering for the faith-based

CSSP as prompted by Denning’s (2005) typology of organizational storycrafting. I included

photographs in the stories from volunteering during 2012-2016. The photographs did not

connect personally identifiable information to respect ethical considerations, but showed detail,

nature, and establishing images of my time volunteering. This choice influenced the selection. I

purposively invited from the board of a local faith-based CSSP five adult participants. These

participants support the local faith-based CSSP with which I volunteered. These participants

held roles of executive director, board president, volunteer affiliated with a regional health

system, volunteer affiliated with a regional non-profit organization, and pastor. I asked

participants questions about their ideal vision of partnership of the future, of society to support

this ideal partnership, and then rewound to present day to inquire what realities impede that

vision, who they need to change reality to match their ideal, and what they need from society to

support this change. The open-ended questions did not bias participants to compassionate

communitas because the questions use ideal vision of partnership instead.

No known study has previously applied this interdisciplinary approach of (a) synthesizing

stories, photographs, and visions through the lens of (b) compassionate communitas (c) to

approach faith-based CSSPs as a health system. For this study, health system does not mean

healthcare. Health systems refers to that CSSPs provide health services via human and social

work. This research provides a glimpse into how people who support the work of faith-based

CSSPs idealize and experience partnership. This study offers a unique and compelling insight of

the space in-between reality and ideal for people of faith engaged in health systems by

emphasizing compassionate communitas, which can simply mean the practice of love in

community amid suffering. These insights show how a faith-based CSSP can influence society

because there seems a mismatch between how society and faith-based CSSPs treat people.

This concern matters because ideals can show what faith-based CSSPs, and perhaps even

society, need to guide systems change. Stories or photographs can illumine limen in-between

ideal and reality because they paint a brushstroke of the space in-between the pain and healing,

such as how I felt, reflected upon, and crafted meaning from my experience volunteering, and

how the visions inspired by pointing to a sign to follow amid the daily realities of faith-based

CSSPs. This study honored both my and participants’ visions. This research matters because no

other known study has merged idealized systems design with storycrafting and the visualization

of photographs to understand how people who support the work of a faith-based CSSP. This

study offers a unique and compelling picture of the space in-between reality and ideal for people

of faith engaged in health systems. The ideal involves compassionate communitas, and the

reality of suffering and aspiration that those who support the work of faith-based CSSP express.

This study approached faith-based CSSPs as a health system because they address quality

of life and basic needs for people in their locale. This study supported the faith-based CSSP to

envision an ideal for themselves that might transcend the constraints that they encounter as they

collaborate to triage the symptoms of modern society. I hope that I benefited participants via

motivational interviewing about the ideal image of a partnership, which can inspire them to

continue their work, and give them a reflective moment to consider meaning, what they need or

want to feel satisfied, and how these visions can propel their strategic plan and mission. These

reflective moments might seem refreshing as they work hard with the realities of suffering on a

regular basis. This study lent an opportunity to pause and reflect, and perhaps feel encouraged,

about what they do by realizing what propels their heartfelt and challenging work.

This study can indirectly benefit health systems by connecting disciplines and

methodologies not previously articulated in research, namely, organizational compassion and

anthropological communitas, and idealized systems design and storycrafting. Potential indirect

benefits include providing an integrated approach to storied systems design that uses story and

photography, and expressing understanding about the understudied field of faith-based CSSPs,

the contribution that they provide for society, and what they need to succeed with their efforts.

Definition of Terms

This study overlapped language from organizational compassion and anthropological

communitas. Briefly, liminality involves a movement from structures in society that separate

people from connection, belonging, and basic needs experienced as marginalization or ostracism

to a renewed sense of personhood and community, or complex wholeness (Fernandez, 1986; V.

W. Turner, 1987). People suffer pain from ostracism and transformation. Often, rituals and rites

of passage can reduce the harm of that pain by creating a socially and culturally accepted way to

move toward complex wholeness and away from separation. However, modern society has

limited the use of ritual and rites of passage and so confused resolution of suffering for how

people reconnect with themselves and each other (see Thomassen, 2014). Consequently,

socioeconomics runs amok needing resurgence of liminality as a framework for social systems

(see Thomassen, 2014). Organizational compassion provides a way to heal when suffering.

Compassion needs communitas and communitas needs compassion to function well. The

sectorial nature of partnership express odds with structures of society that separate people, and so

inflict the pain that faith-based CSSPs work hard to alleviate. The following sections define

compassionate communitas, which I applied for systems synthesis in Chapter 5.

Organizational Compassion

Organizational compassion involves how people come together to alleviate suffering at

organizations (Dutton et al., 2014; Frost, 1999; Kanov et al., 2004). The word roots of

compassion derive from passio (suffering) and com (with), or to suffer with, and functions as an

innate human instinct to survive and response to suffering ("Defining Compassion," 2013;

Keltner, Marsh, & Smith, 2010). This study relies on the CompassionLab’s (n.d.a, n.d.b)

definition of when people collectively notice, acknowledge, share, and express empathy and

concern when witnessing suffering, and then coordinate and sensecraft a response to that

suffering (Dutton et al., 2014; Kanov et al., 2004). Organizational compassion relates to CSSPs

that work to resolve suffering inflicted by lack of resources, such as basic human needs and

rights for food, shelter, health, employment, education, or social support (see Selsky & Parker,

2005). This lack of resources comes from structures in society that separate people from sharing

a place at the table with others who have resources. For instance, socioeconomic disparities

arguably create the clients whom faith-based CSSPs serve. These realities can result in suffering

for clients and an inhospitable context for faith-based CSSPs.

Liminal Communitas

Communitas comes from anthropology and involves how people transform from

individual to social identity after being ostracized due to structures that separate people from

connection with social groups and access to resources. People change roles through rites of

passage towards an essential human bond that binds society together, which differs from

community as a structure for common living (V. W. Turner, 1969) because the bond comes by

going through a process of pain. Community derives from Latin communitas, or "the quality of

common or shared" (Labonte, 2008, p. 84). This quality brings wholeness and builds community

as a multidimensional and dynamic system from which a living entity emerges whole (Walter,

2008). This complexity and dynamism can benefit from a systems approach.

Research can benefit from liminality as a social framework (Thomassen, 2014) because

of the essential human bond that happens when people come together towards and/or away

complex wholeness to react to how society separates them, such as through complex status

systems (Fernandez, 1986). Liminality carries structural implications that resonate with the work

that faith-based CSSPs do when people experience harm by a society that excludes them.

Research of limen needs to focus on the movement toward or away complex wholeness (V. W.

Turner, 1987). The complexity implies that wholeness, while ideal, happens through pain as

people marginalize others by creating structures that exclude people from basic needs and love.

Compassionate communitas sounds ideal, but it includes the experience of suffering when

groups marginalize others, such as wealth disparities that faith-based CSSPs encounter.

Limen, or threshold in Latin, involves that in-between time and experience when

individuals on the margins ritualize and interact with other such individuals, and so forge an

essential human bond, and communitas as a movement toward complex wholeness and away

from ostracism (V. W. Turner, 1967, 1969; van Gennep, 1909/1960). Limen refers to movement

as an in-between, an anti-structure, or the incapacity of any place or institution to fully hold the

holy, or set apart (Lane, 1986). Cultures hold the sacred and lowly with similarity and

togetherness (V. W. Turner, 1969) instead of disparity, and new leaders emerge (DeHart, 2008).

Liminality addresses critical concerns about how people try to heal together in an imperfect,

dysfunctional, and at times abusive society that ostracizes them from the resources and loving

connection that they need to thrive. Therefore, the complex wholeness does not state an ideal

because already embedded in the definition includes unjust pain, distress, and suffering.

Still, a wound needs treatment, and so people move towards or away complex wholeness

through rites of passage as they develop their identity with themselves and others who go

through similar adversity. The movement seems relative depending on the situation; if a person

moves away from the complex wholeness of a bowl of oranges and toward a bowl of apples, then

it’s not so much the thing toward which they move but that they realize the situation no longer

satisfies a need and choose to embark on a pathway to heal. In either case, V. W. Turner (1987),

the modern day liminal writer, advocated studying the movement as an in-between, an anti-

structure, or the incapacity of any place or institution to fully hold the holy, or set apart (Lane,

1986). Cultures hold the sacred and lowly with similarity and togetherness (V. W. Turner, 1969)

instead of disparity, and new leaders emerge (DeHart, 2008). For this study, the movement

toward complex wholeness matters, and I chose to express this movement in terms of

compassionate communitas in the stories, photographs, and visions because compassionate

communitas provides one way to understand why the complex in wholeness needs heart and

care. In idealized systems-speak, liminality involves the movement in-between reality and ideal,

which differs from organizational approaches that emphasize structure and operation as the

reality of partnerships. Namely, communitas needs compassion and vice-versa because of the

suffering and heart involved with the work that faith-based CSSPs do to address the pitfalls of a

lack of synthesis of human and social service systems, and a society that needs them.

Research Questions

This study asked two research questions.

(RQ1): What is the ideal vision of a faith-based cross-sector social partnership (CSSP)

for people who support this type of health system?

(RQ2): What do the stories, photographs, and visions express about compassionate

communitas of a faith-based cross-sector social partnership (CSSP)?

Conceptual Connections

This study relied on compassionate communitas as a loving and communal way to

approach faith-based CSSPs and to envision an ideal partnership. Organizational compassion

and communitas connect with each other as understudied responses for a faith-based CSSP.

Thomassen (2014) suggested liminality as a social framework to correct the errors of modern

society lacking liminal process. This study connects organizational compassion with

communitas as faith-based CSSPs come together amid constraints to move away from the

structures that perpetuate the need for human and social services, and toward the ideal of

expressing faith as a loving and engaged communal society. How society moves toward or away

complex wholeness becomes the research focus for liminality (V. W. Turner, 1987).

Compassion can answer society's pressing needs (Stosny, 1995, 2004, 2008) by bringing

people together instead of reacting with competition, ostracism, or destructive conflict as

previous social identity theories have found (see Abrams & Hogg, 1990; Greenberg,

Pyszczynski, & Solomon, 1986; Greenberg et al., 1990; Hogg & Abrams, 1988; Rosko, 2010;

Solomon, Greenberg, & Pyszczynski, 1991; Tajfel, & Turner, 1979). Contributors of a faith-

based CSSPs might experience suffering as frustration, misalignment, or fatigue from a

socioeconomic system that drives the disparities that CSSPs try to alleviate or change, and with

norms of for-profit organizing that mismatch faith-based CSSP’s higher-level concerns (see

Ployhart & Hale, 2014). The dimensions of compassionate communitas provide a higher-level

lens for how the stories, photographs, and conversations express compassionate communitas.

Mismatch of Modern For-Profit Organizing

The following sections explain tensions between modern structures bent on separation at

odds with the spiritual yearning for connection as to why faith-based CSSPs need research that

supports their ideal visions of partnerships. For example, the context of the faith-based CSSP

involves a socioeconomic environment of modern for-profit organizing, neoliberalism, and lack

of access to resources for many people because of growing global wealth disparity (Monbiot,

2016, April 15). How society ostracizes others breaks down the integrity of a system and inflicts

suffering by separating people from basic needs and love. Modern structures replace liminal

rituals that can yield safe passage from separation to connection resulting in socioeconomic

fallout, which necessitates the work of faith-based CSSPs. Society can approach economics as

though people matter (Schumacher, 1973). Compassionate communitas and ideals of faith-based

CSSPs treat people as though they matter, especially when vulnerable from ostracism.

Clients of faith-based CSSPs suffer homelessness, hunger, and isolation. Concentrated

poverty umbrellas the regional suffering that local faith-based CSSPs encounter, such as lack of

access to jobs, decent schools, and other resources that impede people from rising out of the

poverty cycle (see M. Brown, 2015; Cortright, 2014). A study of the United States' poorest

urban neighborhoods over four decades expressed that the number of high poverty poor has

doubled from two to four million, and the number of high poverty neighborhoods has nearly

tripled from 1,100 to 3,100 (M. Brown, 2015; Cortright, 2014). Modern structures arguably

reinforce this suffering when they ostracize people from access to resources to maintain profit.

This intersectional problem creates disparities to the increasing human and social needs that

CSSPs encounter. For example, structures that ostracize people from access to resources based

on class also divide based on race, which disadvantages people's health and quality of life

(California Newsreel & Vital Pictures, 2008; Public Broadcasting Station, 2008; U.C.L.A., 2012;

U. C. Regents, 2017). Modern structures mismatch the fluidity for liminality to happen. The

mismatch and the socioeconomic disparities become the suffering that faith-based CSSPs face.

Faith-based CSSPs react to their environment (reality) while responding to their faith-

informed values (ideals). Faith-based CSSPs respond to an environment of modern structures

that wreak systemic wounds. Tensions arise for CSSPs inadvertently desiring to change the

status quo of wealth disparity that arguably relies on modern for-profit norms for organizing.

For example, corporate philanthropy does not address the systemic causes of social concerns

(Einstein, 2012), and yet partnerships engage the private sector and the state because of a

capitalist economy (Farquharson, de Mästle, & Yescombe, 2011; O’Riain, 2000; Selsky &

Parker, 2005). Faith-based CSSPs might organize after for-profit models employed for business

to receive value from donors, such as with a board of directors, fundraising galas, and donation

drives. These approaches can limit the ideals of faith-based CSSPs, such as including all people

of varying wealth at their events because their clients cannot afford to attend the higher ticket

prices of galas needing venues, donations from local businesses on auction items, and catering.

These tensions can discourage or frustrate those supporting faith-based CSSP and limit their

efforts to improve how society includes and cares for people peer-to-peer as spiritual kin.

Global Context of Wealth Disparity for Faith-Based CSSPs

Global norms add pressure to faith-based CSSPs because of modern structures that

replace spiritual connection with separation. The mismatch happens because a faith-based

organization, such as a church that contributes to a faith-based CSSP, may believe that structure

should reflect a living person who loves God and neighbor (Train Church Leaders, 2017), who

connect with each other as a body (1 Cor. 12:27) united and one in spirit (1 Cor. 6:17) because

God adopted them as family (Eph. 1:5). For instance, the early church organized as kin who

shared resources to meet basic needs in love to free them to worship God (Acts 4-6) with kinship

language that distinguished them from the culture and politics of the time (Ascough, 2002). In

contrast, disparity of structure, status, and resources inflicts suffering on the those whom faith-

based CSSPs serve. This pain continues as a systemic ostracism on a global level.

Globally, the wealth divide has widened. Oxfam found that 62 people hold more wealth

than half of world's population (Elliot, 2016; Hardoon, Ayele, & Fuentes-Nieva, 2016; Peck,

2016). Some expect this trend to continue with wealth of the top 1 % as more than half the

wealth combined of 99% of people projected from 2014-2016. This extreme inequality has hurt

economic growth (BBC, 2015; Oxfam, 2015; Slater, 2015). Decreases in quality jobs and social

services pressure humanitarian and faith organizations to provide more lay social workers for

more countries with increasing client populations to meet more needs, and to provide new

services to respond to ongoing problems (Raymond, 2011), which means a lot of pressure.

Wealth disparity provides a main challenge that CSSPs encounter. Faith-based CSSPs

address suffering through congregational human and social work, which I recognize as a type of

health system. Partnerships exist around the world and not only in the United States (UN) (Liese

& Beisheim, 2011; Nelson & Zadek, 2000). The United Nations goals relate to the human and

social service work because of access to resources, such as food, education, and health care. The

United Nations' Millennium Development Goals have framed global needs for social work

(United Nations, 2010). These goals underscore suffering due to structural separation: (1)

eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; (2) achieve universal primary education; (3) promote

gender equality and empower women; (4) reduce child mortality; (5) improve maternal health;

(6) fight HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases; (7) ensure environmental sustainability; and,

(8) globally partner for development (United Nations, 2010). Numerous jobs for social workers

have resulted from these goals as the need for more advocates, community organizers, policy

developers, administrators, lobbyists, social development experts, relief agents, crisis

interventionists, therapists, and counselors (Raymond, 2011).

The UN goals relate to the work of faith-based CSSPs on a local and international level

because faith-based CSSPs often engage in mission work to alleviate suffering listed by the UN.

For instance, for the first goal to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger and the eighth goal to

globally partner for development, Church World Service engages an annual crop walk by

partnering with local churches. In the last 20 years, over five million walkers raised money to

end hunger with 25% of funds going to local food services, and 75% to rural areas worldwide

(Church World Service, n.d.). For the third goal to promote gender equality and empower

women, and the fourth and fifth goals for peripartum and antenatal support and international

birth missions, faith-based CSSPs can support numerous anti-trafficking, abuse recovery centers,

parenting support, schools, microloan and business programs (e.g., Care Net, n.d.; Christian

Midwives International, 2008; Global Ministries, 2017; Lutheran Counseling Network, 2017).

For the seventh goal to ensure environmental sustainability, some faith organizations do projects

for solar panels, church gardens, energy efficient buildings, and climate change to elevate the

stewardship of kinship to connection of people with creation for current and future generations

(e.g., The Episcopal Church, 2017). Regarding universal primary education, some congregations

create private education emphasizing affordability, diversity, and global influence while meeting

state and national academic standards while practicing spiritual beliefs (e.g., Evangelical

Lutheran Church in America, 2017; The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, 2017). Faith-based

CSSPs support the eighth goal for development via local and international efforts with social

justice overtones especially related to the injustice of poverty and racism (e.g., Church World

Service, n.d.). One organization overlaps some of these goals in tandem with their spiritual

vision by planting churches, affordable housing, ministry in the marketplace, business as

missions, and evangelical events around the world (Global Ministries Foundation, 2017). These

organizations of faith often do the work well before the UN outlined goals.

Yet, faith-based CSSPs can find themselves caught in-between growing needs arising

from a world that ostracizes people from access to basic human needs and love by using models

for organizing that mismatch their spiritual ideals and vision for healthy and spiritual connection.

It often happens that CSSPs risk gambling religious identity if they conform to socioeconomic

and modern norms for organizing (Minow, 2003a, 2003b; O’Riain, 2000). For example, galas

exclude the clients and volunteers that faith-based CSSPs may want to include to bring in

donation money from people better off, even if marginally so. I want to know how the visions,

stories, and photographs synthesize as compassionate communitas.

Previous Research about CSSPs

Faith-based CSSPs exist to triage wounds in society. CSSPs often partner for ideology to

substitute what other sectors lack, or they naturally partner as a third way to govern (Linder &

Rosenau, 2000; Salamon, 1987; Selsky & Parker, 2005; Young, 2000). The many thousands of

subnational cross-sector partnerships by region, province, city, neighborhood (Nelson & Zadek,

2000) often lack research attention (e.g., Otiso, 2003). We do not know how CSSPs translate

beyond modern operational distinctions. This study built a bridge to other possibilities because

no known studies have approached faith-based CSSPs as a health system via (a) storied idealized

systems design and (b) compassionate communitas. Early on, scholars noted a need for a

comprehensive theory to analyze how organizations collaborate, but often these approaches

assumed conflict as a catalyst to collaboration (Gray, 1985; Gray & Wood, 1991) or emphasized

the effects of collaboration on development and performance (House, Rousseau, & Thomas-

Hunt, 1995). One meta-literature reviewer explored studies conducted from 1960-1990 and

found that organizations partnered when they needed each other, aligned or reciprocated with

each other’s goals, shared efficiency or stability, or perceived legitimacy over each other’s goals

(Meidute & Paliulis, 2011; Oliver, 1990). However, the operational motif for organizational

research while needed does not support a complete picture of systems that come together for

ideals of wholeness, love, and community of faith-based CSSPs.

Further, introductory scholarship about CSSPs emphasized the structural platform or

reasons for partnering, but did not necessarily explain what helps the CSSP as a health system to

accomplish ideals, dissolve social problems, and influence society. Researchers have explained

how partnerships form, implement, and generate results, such as by initial conditions to

cooperate (Doz, 1996) and through communication, behavior, and conflict resolution (Googins &

Rochlin, 2000; Gray, 1989; Greening & Gray, 1994; Mohr & Spekman, 1994; Selsky & Parker,

2005; Waddell & Brown, 1997; Westley & Vredenburg, 1997). Other studies have focused on

legal concerns, procedures, agreements, and contracts to outline the partnership (Pongsiri, 2002),

or how managers work together for mutually beneficial agreements (Milliman & Grosskopf,

2004). These themes depend on modern structures. Research that does examine other factors,

such as trust and power, or political symbols and policy tools, have emphasized timing or

partners’ orientation towards what will help them to create ideological commitments (Selsky &

Parker, 2005). These studies did not focus on spiritual or affective partnering, let alone with

faith-based overtones. This study adds compassionate communitas to support the loving and

communal work that faith-based CSSPs do based on spiritual and affective ideals.

In contrast, previous studies often used modern for-profit language, such as competitive

advantage (Ployhart & Hale, 2014) and so mismatched faith-based CSSPs because

congregation(s) that start CSSPs likely began their engagement with affective or spiritual

motivations. Compassionate communitas provides an ideal beyond competitive advantage, and

the participants expressed their visions. Storied systems design of partnerships with

compassionate communitas addresses higher-level concerns that suit faith-based CSSPs because

faith-based CSSPs show a softer side of partnering as an integrated health system (see Nambisan,

2009). Faith-based CSSPs need attention to themes that match their ideals because these themes

seem understudied in research about CSSPs. Compassionate communitas provides one theme.

These local and global contexts arguably perpetuate the problems that faith-based CSSPs

face because of the structures that force faith-based organizations to comply with modern norms

that ostracize people from resources and human connection. This context unwittingly shows up

in how research studies and talks about partnerships. For instance, previous research about

partnerships has utilized operation, management, and modern motifs. Scholarship has framed

partnering from a modern structural perspective (e.g., Kaye, 2013; Kivleniece & Quelin, 2012;

Koschmann, Kuhn, & Pfarrer, 2012; Le Ber & Branzei, 2010), save one emphasis on connecting

relationships for social change (Lanfer, Brandes, & Reinelt, 2013). Researchers have explored

how strategic alliances provided collective goods in developing countries (Liese & Beisheim,

2011), managed the global double burden of malnutrition (Kraak et al., 2012), revitalized United

States infrastructure (Engel, Fischer, & Galetovic, 2011), provided policy-driven education for

low-income contexts (Verger, 2012), and generated value (Kivleniece & Quelin, 2012).

Researchers have weighed operational outcomes, such as how to engage the private sector in

emerging markets (Farquharson et al., 2011), account financially for strategic alliance structure

(Heald & Georgiou, 2011), manage feasibility (Meidute & Paliulis, 2011) and risk amid team

tensions (Iossa & Martimort, 2012; Solansky, Beck, & Travis, 2014), how to successfully

communicate to deliver goals (Koschmann et al., 2012), and the accountability paradox that

arises with collaborative agreements (Willems & Van Dooren, 2011). Research has described

CSSPs from modern operational concerns, such as dependence on each other to distribute public

resources, to achieve a public good, and to collaborate to solve social problems (Clarke & Fuller,

2010; Nambisan, 2009; Shirey, 2013). These studies, while operationally helpful, come from

modern structures that can ostracize and marginalize people.

In short, the task merits meeting basic needs with love for spiritual connection instead of

the separation that modern structures seem to reinforce, and with research that expresses in

discourse and practice the ideals of a faith-based CSSP. Faith-based CSSPs need research that

supports movement towards complex wholeness and away from structural separation so that they

can accomplish their ideals for society. Compassionate communitas and storied systems design

seem to better suit faith-based CSSPs. Compassionate communitas offers a loving and

communal way to express faith-based CSSPs because (1) the literature lacks a storied idealized

systems design that synthesizes compassionate communitas, (2) practice lacks a mode to

integrate story into idealized systems design, and (3) faith-based CSSPs need more attention in

the literature to add creativity and richness to Selsky and Parker’s (2005, 2010) introduction of

CSSPs. Appendices A-C include tables that visualize these themes.

Summary and Organization

The purview of poverty matters because anyone concerned about the stability of society

needs attention to the context of the work that faith-based CSSPs do, and faith-based CSSPs need

a design that honors and supports the ideals that they hold dear. This chapter contextualized this

study by describing the context of research and practice that faith-based CSSPs encounter.

Storied systems design can support the heart of faith-based CSSPs by synthesizing participant

conversations about the ideal partnership with my reflective short stories and photographs from

volunteering through the theoretical lens of compassionate communitas.

Next, Chapter 2 will describe seminal data sources and conceptual and empirical findings

for organizational compassion (Theme 1), liminal communitas (Theme 2), and faith-based

CSSPs (Theme 3). Chapter 3 will present research questions and procedures, and explain design

rationale. Chapter 4 will synthesize the stories, photographs, and visions via the dimensions of

compassionate communitas. Chapter 5 will answer the research questions, provide an image of

ideal partnership, conclude with future directions, implications, ethical considerations, and

limitations, and will also share reflections, post-doctorate directions, and closing remarks.


This literature review synthesized theoretical foundations and empirical findings for

organizational compassion and anthropological communitas of faith-based CSSPs who

collaborate to provide human and social services. This literature review searched for

connections between organizational compassion, communitas, and faith-based CSSPs.

Conceptual Foundations

This study answers Smith's (1759/1976) call for research to recognize empathy and

compassion as vital to organizational life (Dutton & Workman, 2012; Frost, 1999; Lilius, Kanov,

Dutton, Worline, & Maitlis, 2013). According to the CompassionLab, organizational

compassion involves how people (1) collectively notice, acknowledge, share, and express felt

empathic concern, (2) coordinate a response to pain in organizations (Kanov et al., 2004), and (3)

sense-craft the experience (Dutton et al., 2014). Communitas derives from anthropology as

people transition when ostracized by going through rites of passage towards a new individual and

communal identity that expresses a movement toward/away complex wholeness (Fernandez,

1986; V. W. Turner, 1987). This ostracism often involves structural norms (Fernandez, 1986).

This experience forges an essential human bond that binds society together, which differs

from community as a structure for common living (V. W. Turner, 1969). The bond with self and

communitas means wholeness. V. W. Turner (1987) encouraged researchers to study the

movement toward or away wholeness, or communitas. Compassionate communitas connects to

answer my value for how people can ideally move toward compassionate communitas, which

relates to the work that faith-based CSSPs do to care for others through human and social

services because of suffering that people experience due to lack of resources. This lack of access

to resources implies a type of structural ostracism. This ostracism matters because norms in a

system may prevent people from transition and deny them access to basic human rights (Sargent

& Larchanché-Kim, 2006), such as housing, food, and care.

Review of the Literature

This review covers organizational compassion, communitas, and faith-based CSSPs.

Theme One: Organizational Compassion

The heart seems wired for compassion as a human instinct to survive (Keltner et al.,

2010). Aligning the head, heart, and hands remains a call for practitioners (Nizer, 1948). Yet,

we know little about how to organize compassionate health systems that move towards a vision

of partnership for society. Social scholarship seems to emphasize ostracism as triggered from

threats of mortality and fear of others who differ in culture or worldview (Abrams & Hogg,

1990; Greenberg et al., 1986; Greenberg et al., 1990; Hogg & Abrams, 1988; Rosko, 2010, 2015;

Solomon et al., 1991; Tajfel & Turner, 1979). Instead, research can show how to move towards

ideals. Instead, research can show how to move towards ideals. For instance, Wheatley (2000)

suggested discovering possibilities by organizing compassion. Organizational compassion

happens whether or not an organization values compassion because counterpoint to previous

social identity theories (Rosko, 2010), humans instinctively show compassion to survive by

helping others (Keltner et al., 2010; Stosny as cited in Capuzzi Simon, 2005).

Compassion involves suffering as suffering with because suffering catalyzes compassion,

and we need to study compassion for organizations because of the reality of suffering (Dutton et

al., 2014; Frost, 1999; Kouzes & Posner, 2003). The ideal for compassion expresses the reality

of suffering, which means that compassion becomes necessary because of suffering. Ideally,

people can construct a positive self and social identity (Dutton, Roberts, & Bednar, 2010) to

transform work (Dutton, Lilius, & Kanov, 2007) by coordinating, cooperating, and collaborating

their compassionate responses. These efforts rely on people’s ability to relate with each other

and to perform tasks (Lilius et al., 2011). However, the reality of a system that makes suffering

normal can limit the expression and triumph of compassion. For example, Westerners tend to

assume that they will experience compassion as a pleasant or positive emotion.

Still, responding to suffering can elicit unpleasant feelings, which can increase

compassionate response the most (Condon & Feldman Barrett, 2013). These efforts can satisfy

and deplete people with burnout and fatigue because of the constraints of behaving

compassionately at work (Frost, 1999; Lilius, 2012). For instance, a cultural bent toward

narcissism, due in part to the self-esteem movement (Neff, 2011a, 2011b, 2013), modern

organization, and socioeconomic disparities can impede compassion. Constraints for faith-based

CSSPs include burnout, fatigue, and environmental tensions with modern for-profit organizing

and the socioeconomics disparities that drive the need for human and social services.

Development of organizational compassion. This study relies on the CompassionLab’s

(n.d.a, n.d.b) definition of organizational compassion or how people collectively notice,

acknowledge, share, and express felt empathic concern, coordinate, and sense-craft a response to

pain in organizations (Kanov et al., 2004; Dutton et al., 2014), and a collective, prosocial, and

responsive process (Center for Positive Organizations, n.d.). The late Peter Frost co-founded the

CompassionLab (CompassionLab, n.d.a, n.d.b). Researchers have included Jane Dutton who has

studied how compassion supports employees' capabilities and organizational performance

(CompassionLab, n.d.a, n.d.b). Jason Kanov has studied the nature and influence of suffering

and compassion within organizations, and Jacoba Lilius has focused on how frontline workers

recover from emotional demands of work and how compassion for clients can motivate workers

to voice suggestions for improving organizations (CompassionLab, n.d.a, n.d.b). Sally Maitlis’

work on caring practices and emotionwork aims to support individuals and teams to perform well

by sense-crafting life events (CompassionLab, n.d.a, n.d.b). Kristina Workman has studied

skilled people’s capacity to notice, feel, and respond to the suffering of others, and how sufferers

influence how compassion unfolds (CompassionLab, n.d.a, n.d.b).

Elsewhere, researchers have connected emotions and prosocial responses with individual

or organizational well-being. The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education

(CCARE, 2014a) at Stanford University School of Medicine emphasizes individual and

organizational benefits of compassion. DeSteno (2013) has studied how emotions guide

decisions including the moral and economic behaviors that people need to live socially, such as

compassion and trust, for the greater good. DeSteno (2015a) distinguished compassion from

empathy with compassion as an emotional state that motivates altruistic action to build social

capital. The action becomes paramount to compassion.

Compassion can accompany social motivations and rewards at the level of neuroscience

(Kim et al., 2009), which suggests the ingrained and naturalness of compassionate behavior.

People can develop compassion intentionally, too, such as via meditation and training, and so

people can learn compassion to optimize their social actions (DeSteno, 2015a; Lutz,

Brefczynski-Lewis, Johnstone, & Davidson, 2008; Lutz, Greischar, Perlman, & Davidson, 2009;

Weng et al., 2013). However, the ideal of compassion enacted at the organizational level may

not necessarily change the structures in society that inflict systemic suffering as a norm, such as

for clients of faith-based CSSPs. Scholarship about organizational compassion can build from

conceptualizing the construct to how to design systems for and as compassionate communitas.

Earlier work about emotions. Researching organizational compassion resonates with

earlier work involving emotions. Emotions can cue what people value, and people rely on

emotions to socially interact (DeSteno, 2013, 2015a; Pugmire, 1994, 2005). Fineman (2000)

described emotions as a resource that forms, interprets, and alters relationships in organizations.

Pugmire (2005) claimed that people need four conditions to experience profound or deep

emotions, although it’s not clear at which age Pugmire believed people experience deep emotion:

(a) a robust cognitive belief, (b) synthesis with broader experience and interest, (c) realistic

understanding, and (d) emotional strength. Organizational researchers have described emotions

as influencing the structure of informal workplace networks (Casciaro, Carley, & Krackhardt,

1999; Casciaro & Lobo, 2005, 2008, 2012). Fineman (2003) explained organizations as

emotional arenas shaped by feelings and events as suggested by Weiss and Cropanzano's (1996)

affective event theory or that emotional events influence behavior and attitudes at work (Lopez-

Kidwell, 2013). Researchers have found that such interpersonal events influenced people’s well-

being at work (Basch & Fisher, 2000; Bono, Foldes, Vinson, & Muros, 2007).

These researchers transitioned norms in inquiry to notice emotions as necessary for social

cooperation instead of pitting emotions against cognition. How researchers discover a result for

social psychology of emotions matters just as much as the finding(s) (Parrott, 2001). In contrast,

researchers seem to have tended to value cognition over emotions, which limits research by

applying calculated reasoning to social decision-making (Krueger, Evans, & Goldin, 2010). A

similar limit applies to problematizing a topic or empiricism that searches for hard facts by

studying separate parts of individuals without synthesizing the context or whole. For instance,

Damasio (1994) explained Descartes' (1644/1983) "I think therefore I am" as an error of

separating the mind from the body (Barbelet, 2001; Lopez-Kidwell, 2013). Damasio departed

from this reductionism by proposing that reasoning and moral judgment and emotional or

physical suffering connect with, and do not separate from, cognition. Emotions' purposes aid,

and do not necessarily hinder, social decisions (Haselton & Ketelaar, 2006). How people choose

to act on a given emotion towards themselves or others may be the important focus. These

notions counter popular beliefs that ostracize emotion from rationality to elevate cognition.

Research needs to include emotions for how people make decisions and treat each other.

Researchers have distinguished compassion from other emotions. For instance, writers

have distinguished between compassion and empathy. Empathy refers to how people think or

feel when they respond to what they observe as an emotional experience from someone else

(Olderbak, Sassenrath, Keller, & Wilhelm, 2014). Empathy means taking on the perspective of

another to connect; whereas, sympathy implies distance (B. Brown, 2013), which can wreak

shame by judging a person’s vulnerability (B. Brown, 2012a, 2012b). In contrast, empathy tells

people how to successfully communicate and interact with others (Olderbak et al., 2014). For

instance, Radcliffe (1994) explained compassion as arising from an imaginative state and based

this explanation on the gospel of God's love for humankind. This love makes it possible for

people to imagine and step into others' suffering as a process to motivate compassionate action.

The imaginative state means empathy as a feeling expresses cognitive or instinctive future

visioning and action for the well-being of others. Consistent in these explanations involves

people respond to suffering with decision, action, and feeling.

Defining the experience of compassion. Prior to organizational compassion, writers

defined compassion as an individual response. Tracy (2010) explained compassion as

recognizing, relating, and responding to others. People need compassion to maintain

relationships of caring and to help those suffering (Kim et al., 2009). Meloni (2014) synthesized

previous definitions of compassion as feeling with and distinguished compassion from pity. For

example, compassion differs from sympathy (see Scheler, 1954) because sympathy can shame

people via distance and judgment; whereas, empathy expresses concern (B. Brown, 2013).

Meloni explained compassion as the strongest form of commiseration with love as the highest

order. Bein (2013) brought forward Schopenhauer's (1958) definition of compassion as people

participating with the suffering of another and the desire to prevent or stop that suffering. Reilly

(2010) explained compassion as the basis for voluntary justice and true loving-kindness, and that

actions only provide moral value when originating from compassion. Snow (1991) interpreted

Bloom's (2000) definition of compassion as an emotion that society needs when people

reasonably believe that they are feeling compassion when they witness another person’s

suffering and so can anticipate that the suffering could happen to the witness, too, who then feels

motivated to urgently act to alleviate the other person's suffering (Bloom, 2000; Snow, 1991).

Keltner et al. (2010) described this type of responding as a human instinct to survive socially.

Nussbaum (1996) qualified these understandings by suggesting that people need to

experience vulnerability before they can demonstrate compassion and suggested four conditions

for compassionate action: (1) the person feeling compassion (C-feeler) perceives the other's

suffering as sufficiently serious and (2) as not deserved (justice); (3) the C-feeler believes that

the suffering could happen to them, too (empathy/imaginative state), and (4) cares about the

person’s well-being because the sufferer matters to the C-feeler (concern). Jinpa, a Tibetan

scholar, put this reasoning more simply as "I understand you, I feel for you, and I want to help

you" (as cited in Bein, 2013, p. 88). Bein (2013) simplified Solomon's (1993, 2004) definition of

compassion as other-regarding and a mode of having emotions, and not a single emotion. Snow

(1991) defined compassion as a rational and emotional response. These definitions moralize

compassion as an emotional and social response when witnessing another person’s suffering.

Operationalizing compassion. Organizational compassion assumes that suffering

influences well-being, relationships, and performance at work (Dutton et al., 2014). Researchers

have validated compassion for the self. Neff (2003a, 2003b, 2015) conceived self-compassion as

(1) self-kindness or being kind and understanding toward oneself during pain or failure instead of

being harshly self-critical; (2) common humanity, or perceiving one's experiences as part of the

larger human experience instead of as isolating; and, (3) mindfulness, or holding painful

thoughts and feelings in awareness instead of over-identifying with them. This trifecta can help

a person to experience self-compassion in an immediate situation (Neff, 2015).

People can learn self-compassion, too. Researchers found that participants enhanced

self-compassion, mindfulness, and well-being when trained to do so because self-compassion

better predicted reduction in severity of symptoms and improved the quality of life for persons

experiencing anxiety and depression than did mindfulness alone (Neff & Germer, 2013; Van

Dam, Sheppard, Forsyth, & Earleywine, 2011). Self-compassion researchers have developed

interventions to increase self-compassion. In one study, participants experienced significant

decreases in depression, self-attacking, shame, and feelings of inferiority after participating in

the program (Gilbert & Procter, 2006). Kabat-Zinn's (1991, 1994) mindfulness-based stress

reduction (MBSR) program has also improved people’s self-compassion because mindfulness

teaches people to notice difficult thoughts and emotions in the moment so that they can

experience kindness, acceptance, and non-judgment (Neff, 2011a; Shapiro, Astin, Bishop, &

Cordova, 2005; Shapiro, Brown, & Biegel, 2007). Researchers have developed self-compassion

training for people who display insecure attachment patterns (Neff & McGehee, 2010). A group-

based therapy intervention called compassionate mind training (CMT) teaches people self-

compassion to replace habits of self-attack as a way to relate to themselves (Gilbert, 2009).

Researchers have also improved the accessibility of scales by testing the 12-item Self-

Compassion Scale-Short Form (SCS-SF) (Raes, Pommier, Neff, & Van Gucht, 2011). This

study offers a unique way of storying organizational compassion.

Organizational compassion. Connection and action matter to compassionate

communitas. Beyond a feeling, compassion as a collective response helps people to connect

with others, even if relatively simple (DeSteno, 2012). Organizational compassion, a collective

phenomenon, occurs as a human instinct to survive socially instead of defensively (Keltner, et

al., 2010) when people help others to help themselves (Wuthnow, 1991). Responding

compassionately can involve communicating in response to another's suffering, such as

nonverbally acknowledging the presence of someone, providing praise, or other caring behaviors

(Keltner, 2010; Tracy, 2010). Researchers continue to develop ways to study compassion for

organizations. Researchers have developed scales for interpersonal empathy and compassion

(see CCARE, 2014), for example, Sprecher’s (2005) Compassionate Love Scale (CLS). Other

scales include the Fear of Compassion (3 fears: for self, for others, and from others) (Gilbert,

McEwan, Matos, & Rivis, 2011), Submissive Compassion (Catarino, Gilbert, McEwan, & Baião,

2014), Santa Clara Brief Compassion (SCBCS) for large epidemiological studies (Hwang,

Plante, & Lackey, 2008), Compassion Satisfaction Fatigue Test for mental health workers

(Figley, 1995; Stamm, 2002), Professional Quality of Life (ProQOL R-V) for a version of the

Compassion Fatigue Test (Hudnall Stamm, 2009), and the Friendship Compassion and Self-

Image Goals Scale (Crocker & Canevello, 2008) (CCARE, 2014).

In 2013, the Greater Good Science Center (n.d.) partnered with the CompassionLab and

the University of Michigan's Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship to develop a

Compassionate Organizations Quiz, which asked readers about experiences of compassion in an

organization (Center for Positive Organizations, n.d.; CompassionLab, n.d.b; Simon-Thomas &

Nauman, 2013). Researchers learned that the type of organization mattered for compassion:

community service, education, government, legal, business, and media with media organizations

ranking the lowest, and places of worship ranked mid-range for a compassion score (Simon-

Thomas & Nauman, 2013). Age also mattered with 18-29 and 60-70, and older age groups

presenting the most experience with a compassionate organization.

The size of the organization mattered with people in large organizations experiencing less

compassion, and the smaller the organization, or up to 1,000 people, ranked high, and location

might matter due to cultural values for love of humanity (Simon-Thomas & Nauman, 2013). For

instance, participants in the Southwest reported greater love of humanity than did quiz takers

from other areas of the United States (Simon-Thomas, 2013; Simon-Thomas & Nauman, 2013).

These relationships suggest that the structure and design of organizations and the demographics

of contributors influence the experience of organizational compassion. However, stories can

express rich detail that the quizzes and surveys may miss.

Compassionate organizations can support quality of life and performance. Suttie (2006)

found that compassionate workplaces increased employee satisfaction and loyalty because an

employee who felt cared for more likely experienced positive emotions, which fostered positive

work relationships, increased cooperation, and improved customer relations (Suttie, 2015).

Compassion training for individuals reduced stress (Suttie, 2015). In one dissertation, Meloni

(2014) described how organizational compassion counterpointed tensions, such as resource

scarcity, improved employer-employee relations and organizational resilience, and helped

employees to view work positively, work harder for their employer, and produce higher quality

results. Organizational compassion also provided an appropriate response to help organizations

to move forward after difficult events or circumstances (Meloni, 2014; Patti, 2013). Kouzes and

Posner (2014) explained compassion as a positive emotional experience that can increase hope.

Compassion as moral sentiment. Conversation about ethics comes into play when

considering compassion for health systems, such as faith-based CSSPs. Solomon (1993, 2004)

described compassion as a natural moral sentiment that varies and limits, but does not reduce to

pity. Tensions exist for distinguishing between seemingly positive or negative emotions.

Scholar-practitioners can value compassion and empathy as an ethic of care and as a necessary

and natural altruistic counterpoint to self-interest (André, 2013), even if people regard

compassion as bad for business (Hamington & Sander-Staudt, 2011). For example, Noble Prize

winners promoted a pluralist humanity, where Amartya Sen and Muhammad Yunus included

both self-interest and selflessness as coexisting human traits (Sen, 1988; Yunus, 2010).

Economic concerns with human nature become multidimensional (Skinner, 2011) and depend on

self-interest and ritual (Tarde, 1902-1903, 1903; Thomassen, 2014).

These philosophies respond in part to Nietzsche's (1918) criticism of transvaluation of all

values, or when people reduce seemingly negative values of self-interest, and affirm seemingly

positive values, such as altruism, as fabric of the human experience and moral code. People can

improve cognitive thinking, expand perspective, explore new possibilities, notice options,

increase creativity and innovation, make careful decisions, and improve interpersonal

effectiveness with positive emotional experiences (Fredrickson, 2009). Yet, people can also hold

complex emotions together, such as how compassion needs suffering (Sermeno, 2015). This

insight sheds light on researching systems via storied systems design because the ideals and

constraints need each other to coexist. Complex emotions happen in a broken world.

In modern times, organizational compassion can function to love others (see Sprecher,

2005). Leading with love, forgiveness, and trust frees people to share power (Caldwell & Dixon,

2010; Kahane, 2010). For instance, the practices of humane leadership demonstrate love,

forgiveness, and trust. Leaders who practice these virtues can maximize performance, such as by

obligatory social contracts for valuing others, covenantal stewardship, relinquishing personal

power or control, acceptance of others' limitations, and treating others as ends instead of means

(Caldwell & Dixon, 2010). This ethos resonates with E. Brown's (2013) insight that

vulnerability functions as a basis for organizational ethics, and so organizations need to develop

people as a managerial imperative (P. T. Brown, 2010).

Interestingly, a person may not need empathy to show compassion, but compassionate

action. Lim, Condon, and DeSteno (2015) suggested that mindful compassionate behavior does

not depend on people’s ability to understand the emotional experiences of others. Therefore,

empathy may not be as necessary for people to respond with compassion as previously thought

(see Kanov et al., 2004; Seppälä, 2013). Emotions show people what matters to them (see

Pugmire, 1994). Compassionate action can increase with learning and practice. For instance,

participants who completed mindfulness meditation training responded with compassion more

frequently than did the control group, but not with increased empathic accuracy (Lim et al.,

2015). This implication allows for possibilities for training compassion in organizations.

Compassion amid suffering. Researchers can consider suffering as the context for

organizational compassion because of the emphasis on a collective response to suffering (Dutton

et al., 2014; Kanov et al., 2004). In liminal thought, suffering involves movement away from

ostracism and towards wholeness (V. W. Turner, 1987), or complex community (Fernandez,

1986). For faith-based CSSPs, this suffering can come from structures for socioeconomics and

organizing that depend on for-profit norms and disparities that ostracize people from access to

resources, and from the burnout of few workers for many needs. These norms arguably

perpetuate the suffering that human and social services work hard to alleviate.

Research and practice about compassion relates to how faith-based CSSPs deliver

services. Previous researchers found that compassion may correlate with resilience amid

adversity because strong social relationships predict long-term psychological well-being

(DeSteno, 2015b; Lim & DeSteno, 2016). However, DeSteno (2015b) wrote that adversity can

make people both more and less compassionate. Making it through adversity can soften and

warm hearts because suffering heightens people’s compassion for others, except when the

suffering feels too familiar or triggers memories of painful events (DeSteno, 2015b; Lim &

DeSteno, 2016; Ruttan, McDonnell, & Nordgren, 2015). For instance, faith-based CSSPs that

rely on donation appeals may limit compassionate responding.

People’s physiological response to donation appeals can predict their charitable giving

with fade and affect or when people feel overwhelmed or depleted by too much need being put

before them (Barrazaa, Alexandera, Beavina, Terrisa, & Zaka, 2015). Compassion fatigue can

lead to apathy and inaction when people repeatedly respond to large-scale human and

environmental catastrophes (Västfjäll, Slovic, Mayorga, & Peters, 2014). People give to the first

life in need, yet they burn out with scenarios of multiple lives lost (Västfjäll et al., 2014). People

oriented to avoidant attachment may need to engage in less emotional cost, or they might help

less, and so may respond better to donation requests less targeted to their emotions (Richman,

DeWall, & Wolff, 2016). Leaders can transform adversity of suffering into an opportunity by

engaging others and demonstrating care, which can sustain organizations and reduce turnover

(Kouzes & Posner, 2014), but that seems to risk burnout for individuals to accomplish to fix

large scale human and social service needs. However, Kouzes and Posner's (2003) suffering with

others does not feel as good as the hope that compassionate action can bring.

These nuances suggest that faith-based CSSPs need research and practice better suited to

nuanced needs. Leadership does not provide the only way to care for people through adversity.

Another way to care people through suffering can involve designing health systems that create

flow for people to support each other and their own basic needs with love. Otherwise, Meadows

and Wright (1993/2008) warned that social systems return to status quo with intervention

burnout, which limits the change that an individual can do because the system wants to return to

prior norms. This pull towards homeostasis can pressure people. Emotional action seems

nuanced, and the study of it tied to modern organizing because research depends on critique

(Boland, 2013). Study of compassion needs sensitivity because of the suffering implied. A

humanistic approach can emphasize compassion as a research lens to consider (Patti, 2013).

Patti (2013), as Stelter and Law (2010), called researchers to develop diverse approaches that

centralize personal stories and work involving marginalized experiences. A storied approach to

idealized systems design allows for a positive vulnerability as people envision their ideals and

rewind to the constraints of present day to design their organizations to create solutions that

touch their daily lives so that they can perform well (see Banathy, 1996a, 1996b).

Theme Two: Liminality of Communitas

Faith-based CSSPs often work with clients marginalized by society based on structures

that separate, such as wealth. Ostracism inflicts suffering because it separates people from

loving and safe connection and resources to meet their basic needs, which threatens their survival

or at least thriving. This ostracism requires a person to change identity and group to survive and

thrive. However, the ostracism limits the opportunity to do so. From anthropology, limen means

"threshold" in Latin, or that in-between time and experience when people on the margins interact

with other people on the margins, and so forge a communal identity after being ostracized from

structures or roles (V. W. Turner, 1967, 1969; van Gennep, 1909/1960). For example, faith-

based CSSPs by design suggest that previous organizational models did not work for them. One

could argue CSSPs are an organizational model, but I do not see them that way. CSSPs function

as liminal systems with fluid boundaries because people are crossing over into other

organizations to address a need not met by their individual organization. Communitas needs

compassion to move through the marginalization because of suffering.

People move toward wholeness in-between these rites, and find themselves on the

margins crafting sense of what has happened. This "in-between" becomes a sacred space, an

anti-structure, or the incapacity of any place or institution to fully hold the holy, or set apart

(Lane, 1986). In this sacred space, transformed persons identify with other such transformed

persons to forge communitas (V. W. Turner, 1987). This process describes the movement

toward complex wholeness (V. W. Turner, 1987). For instance, people on the margins might

include those without homes or employment, or mothers with children living in their cars

because they fled intimate partner violence, or those lacking health or educational resources due

to poverty. These persons who seek assistance from faith-based CSSPs might need more than

resources, such as systems change, to move towards a healthier society that won’t marginalize.

Van Gennep (1909/1960) and V. W. Turner (1967, 1969, 1995) referred to this

transformative process as the rites of marginalization or separation, transition, and incorporation

that follow a sequence called pre-, liminal, and post- liminal. V. W. Turner (1995) expanded van

Gennep's (1909/1960) rites to describe personae, or how persons transform their identity by

ritual beyond roles assigned by law, custom, convention, or ceremony. For example, baptism

often identifies people as part of a family of faith instead of being isolated from other groups

because an individual does not "fit in" to a wealth or other statuses. Persons need compassion to

endure the rites because of the likelihood of suffering involved from ostracism.

Faith-based CSSPs as a health system care for those separated by society due to lack of

resources. However, this care may or may not change the system that marginalizes people with

structures that separate. Some may question the assumption that organizations function as sites

of suffering as suggested by Dutton et al. (2014) and Frost (1999). The catalyst for the rites

occurs when a structure marginalizes an individual or group. Marginalization functions as a type

of ostracism. Liminality suggests that social systems can and do inflict suffering by using

structures, roles, customs, and conventions to include some people and to exclude others. It’s

not ideal to experience suffering or to be required to transform personal and communal identity

even though those two efforts remain noble, engaging, and beneficial. That people need a

process to recover from ostracism seems a symptom of an unhealthy system.

Faith-based CSSPs encounter this ostracism from structures that separate, such as norms

for organizing that result in health or economic disparities. Modern society replaces rituals of

personae and communitas that temper self-interest with economics of individualism, critique

(Boland, 2013), and economics among others (see Thomassen, 2014). L. Russell (2004)

connected compassion with the need for researchers to participate with ritual to suffer with

participants, and so better understand a topic. L. Russell (2004) went through participants’ ritual

to understand how they suffered and changed together. These suggestions point to

compassionate communitas to offset norms of organizing of modern times.

The liminal turn. The limen provides the pause for people to integrate new learning and

identity as they leave one group structure to integrate with a new community. This movement

towards wholeness and away from ostracism lends a new socioeconomic framework (see

Thomassen, 2014; V. W. Turner, 1987). Thomassen (2014) proposed liminality as a framework

for social sciences to address modern economic concerns. Szakolczai's (2000, 2009) permanent

liminality means that critique can ostracize other voices, and Boland (2013) named critique as

evidence of modern society itself. Yet, sholarship about liminality needs to define communitas

beyond seminal concepts or esoteric terms, apply terms to empirical research, and relate liminal

concerns in practical ways that can help systems (Rosko, 2015b). DeHart (2008) justified

studying liminality as now being the right time because of how organizational scholarship has

progressed. The turn to modernism has left a lot of integrative social systems behind, especially

the use of rituals in regular life (Thomassen, 2014). Now seems a time of unlearning that turn

and moving back towards liminal concerns that matter to society.

Liminality has challenged modern organizations to construct new ways to organize by

transcending norms and valuing learning and relationships to drive vision, purpose, and change

amid contingencies (see Bass, 2003; Bradbury & Lichtenstein, 2000; DeHart, 2008; Garsten,

1999; Rost, 1995; Tempest & Starkey, 2004). Liminal organizations perform (a) multiple rituals

and systems, (b) life phases or transitions in-between positional structures, and (c) from people

marginalized who unify under shared conditions to become communitas (V. W. Turner, 1969).

Some of these efforts benefit the bottom line. For example, participants saved a strategic

alliance from bankruptcy with liminal activities (Postula & Postula, 2011). However, research

about liminality needs to go beyond modern for-profit discourse because those structures

separate. The challenge to faith-based CSSPs involves a system that pressures them to organize

with norms that perpetuate the suffering that they work to alleviate. This study’s focus on the

ideal partnership of the future and the synthesis of compassionate communitas differs from such

modern norms for organizing and better supports those involved with faith-based CSSPs.

Empirical findings of liminal organizations. Few studies have empirically

demonstrated liminality. Lindsay (2010) explained a liminal organization as self-presentation of

public persona or identity and culture, such as the formal structure of a board of directors and

501c3 status, but without clear distinctions to members, for example, rank, ideology, theology,

politics, or goals. This resistance to structure, or anti-structure, results in an "organization like"

(p. 165) state of being. This liminal state sits at odds with formal structuring, such as fiduciary

and non-profit statuses for faith-based CSSPs. Essential to liminal research involves movement

toward or away wholeness. However, research has yet to express a way to study movement

instead of a text or archive (V. W. Turner, 1987). Organizations can perform liminally by

articulating vision, experiencing a meaning void, engaging experiential contrasts, converging a

consensual identity, negotiating identity claims, attaining optimal distinctiveness, performing

liminal actions, and synthesizing legitimizing feedback. At least two of these stages forge

organizational identity (Gioia, Price, Hamilton, & Thomas, 2010). Storied systems design

resonates with this liminal process, and so suits research about liminal concerns.

Practice of communitas as complex wholeness. Fernandez (1986) described

communitas as complex wholeness, or experiencing wellness with varying degrees of complexity

and simplicity. Fernandez further suggested that communitas involves the essential human bond

when people come together to react to how society separates them through complex status

systems. This movement toward or away wholeness triggers resistance between human and

natural laws. Communitas seems the implied wholeness for V. W. Turner (1987). Holism as

health and holy originates from the root word whole (Wheatley, 2009), which needs a caring turn

toward each other amid suffering instead of away (Wheatley, 2000, 2009). DeHart (2008)

assumed that a stage of development exists where people operate between the extremes of being

and not being in a situation that they want, or a transitional phase. V. W. Turner (1995) called

this phase a sphere betwixt and between, which approaches social identity beyond what other

theories that have found, or that people ostracize or conflict with each other based on threats to

worldview, resources, group norms, or mortality (Abrams & Hogg, 1990; Greenberg et al., 1986;

Greenberg et al., 1990; Solomon et al., 1991; Tajfel & Turner, 1979). Whereas, liminality

involves a process for people to move towards/away wholeness (V. W. Turner, 1987).

Practically, communitas counters modern norms for organizing because it differs from

previous models that emphasized structure, teamwork, or process to explain organizational

performance. For instance, Tuckman (1965) and Tuckman and Jensen's (1977) form, storm, and

norm stages suggest a modern temporal element of urgency and hurry; whereas, liminality

emphasizes identity, ritual, and power, which slows the pace. This slower pace suggests a

slower work of becoming when transitioning from social ostracism to communitas. A slow-work

approach can engage and integrate contributors to develop quality relationships with each other

by using approaches that engage their identity, life direction, values, and network (Gelardin,

Muscat, & Whitty, 2010). Storied systems design engages and integrates participants to craft

strategy around their shared ideals. The current speedy organizational climate does not seem to

allow this pace. A liminal mindset for storied systems design slows the pace.

The contribution of spirituality to communitas. Spirituality adds to the systems

context of this study because of the faith-based leanings of the CSSP. Limen meshes with

spirituality because of anti-structure or the incapacity of a fixed place or institution to fully hold

the holy (Lane, 1986). Communitas as a Second Life goes beyond the passage of events when

people see themselves in their ancestors, yet choose to live toward a celebration of unity

(Dilthey, 1910/1961; Meyerhoff, 1986). Here, spirituality integrates ways of being. Individuals

do not claim communitas as their esoteric own, but a spiritual relationship dependent on faith.

An integrative way transcends the Westernized individual singular disposition for

community (Dewsbury & Cloke, 2009). For instance, Ault (2013) observed how people have

separated religion and theology from spirituality and affect in recent centuries. Consequently,

this rift reduces the body and emotions as marginal to spiritual concerns, and so separates people

from the experience of suffering as beings with bodies and feelings. Yet, spirituality can assist

with recognizing and naming emotions to explore theological questions and reflection, and holds

theology and spirituality together instead of as separate enterprises. Also, the possibility for

playful and creative openness to reflect allows people to encounter the unexpected, and so can

support the transformative learning that theological endeavors desire (Ault, 2013). This study’s

storied systems design allows for creative and transformative learning.

Idealizing systems of compassionate communitas. This section explains my ideal for

compassionate communitas to support faith-based CSSPs, or make them less needed.

Compassionate communitas suggests how systems can coordinate so that contributors turn to

each other for a common good during ostracism and make ostracism unnecessary. The systems

drama involves how people move toward or away wholeness. This movement means that

research needs to query more than a text or archive. The solution needs more than matching

research to a unit of study, but approaching the themes with a design that can find dramatic

performances that manifest movement toward wholeness (V. W. Turner, 1987).

Research benefits from a liminal way to approach storied systems design. V. W. Turner

(1987) explained a metaphor of shared flow that senses the holism of when people move together

until they become aware of that movement because then, and paradoxically, awareness stops

flow. To illustrate, V. W. Turner (1987) used the analogy of a river needing a bed to flow, where

the bed comprises the structural rules and framing, and the river performs the human drama. The

bed can be the for-profit modern norms for organizing and wealth disparities or the cultural bent

towards narcissism, which arguably drive the need for human and social services or lack of

compassion. The river can be the people as they partner together to move towards or away the

ideal. Constraints to flow occur when people impose their cognitive schematics on each other,

and so resist the natural law of communitas (V. W. Turner, 1987). Storied systems design can

help people to be open to flow because of the future visioning involved.

Faith-based CSSPs can benefit from storied systems design because of their mismatch to

for-profit norms. Modernism constitutes one such cognitive schematic that translates to

socioeconomic disparities, which arguably distributes wealth in unequitable or inhumane ways.

A partnership can expose such systems problems, and still function as an artifact of that

environment while organizing as an anti-structure. This combination ensues tension between

constraint and ideal. People try to create a sacred space for communitas to resist structures that

seem incomplete and to come alive with a human desire to be whole. People strive and work

hard for seeming short-lived gains. Partnerships stand in the gap in-between margins. Health

systems’ work involves providing a way for people to create sacred space to move toward their

future vision and changing the system to be more holistic to better sustain an ideal partnership.

Let love in. Researching compassionate communitas benefits from a conversation about

love, especially for faith-based CSSPs whose core value may involve love of neighbor and

community engagement of faith. Related to compassion, V. W. Turner (1987) said to hold the

"liminal heart" (p. 128), which he described as the theatrical mask of stimulation and vertigo.

Organizational structures can limit the deep sense of community felt by individuals, which goes

beyond one united narrative or many narratives because we tell the story of We: Communitas

happens when the faithful love in truth (see Mabee, 2013) after the crucible of compassion

(Bowering, 1999; Gude, 1996). Compassionate communitas expresses spiritual truth.

Compassion as crucible resonates with rites of passage because a crucible involves suffering

through a rite of passage. In faith-based terms, a loving communitas sounds familiar to the

compassionate gaze of Christ upon the wandering crowds (Benedict XVI, 2005; Mabee, 2013;

Matt. 9:36, 14:14; Mk. 6:34). This love rises above separating people based on wealth, and

moves people towards the abundant life and well-being of another, and then we become whole (1

Cor. 5:17; 1 John 3:16; John 15:13; Rom. 5:8) and wholly alive (John 10:10).

Developing compassionate communitas for social systems might open possibilities for

how to contribute to a whole society because compassionate communitas responds to human

vulnerability as recognized by Nussbaum (1996), yet it does not rely on triggered defenses, toxic

behaviors, or counterproductive results as found by previous social theories (see Abrams &

Hogg, 1990; Greenberg et al., 1986; Greenberg et al., 1990; Hogg & Abrams, 1988; Solomon et

al., 1991; Rosko, 2010; Tajfel & Turner, 1979). Creatively idealizing compassionate

communitas expresss other possibilities to respond to suffering in social life (Rosko, 2010). This

study will envision other possibilities for ideal partnerships, rekey research conversations, and

show how stories provide a human ritual and sacred space to support faith-based CSSPs.

Story as a liminal act. This study applies stories to idealized systems design because

stories provide an ancient human ritual as people move through events and time as a plot and

often in a non-linear way. Stories can tell of how people integrate suffering, love, change, life,

and loss. Stories show a collectiveness as people interact with each other, and the texts interact,

too, as people revisit them (see Chvasta, 2003; Cohen, 1998; Czarniawska, 2000; Phillips, 1995).

Related, Stelter (2014) suggested that the next generation of coaching needs narrative and

collaboration to identify markers of dialogue in people’s interactions to better understand group

life (Stelter, Nielsen, & Wikman, 2011); yet, research that overemphasizes the speech act can

lose a sense of feeling. The drama manifests when people adapt and create texts, but these

efforts only describe how people symbolize what has happened. Hansen’s (2006) work with

ethnonarrative implied that research needs to focus on the interplay between text and context.

What V. W. Turner (1987) described goes beyond the interaction of framing symbols because it

involves the human movement toward/away communitas. Describing this movement as a drama

(V. W. Turner, 1987) needs performance approaches and language. Storycrafting constitutes its

own ritual that allows people passage together. Storycrafting opens possibilities to a core part of

people and their behaviors that would otherwise remain unseen by others (Altman & Taylor,

1973). This study’s systems synthesis of stories, photographs, and conversations can express

movement, such as if the synthesis expressed compassionate communitas.

Boyatzis, Smith, and Beveridge (2013) suggested the coaching of narrative to benefit

organizational health, well-being, and development. Narrative offers a pause in-between

structures for people to craft their visions and ideals for what health, well-being, and

development mean to them. Narrative expresses the self as suspended liminally, or in-between,

life experiences and therapeutic plots, such as how people navigate broken expectations and

painful experiences, and still express ways to creatively and virtuously cope and live amid loss

(Mattingly, 1998; Rosko, 2010). Stories, as with metaphors, give the brain a break from

rationalization because they visualize other possibilities than muscle memory. A tree is a tree,

and no one told it to not be a tree. The tree grows around a lampstand, and one passerby might

call it ugly, but the tree is doing what it does: Grow. An obstacle is in the way, it grows around

it, not commenting to itself that it should or should not behave that way. It is being a tree. Same

with ideals like love. We need them to thrive, but people find other ways to grow around

obstacles. Stories allow a pause before synthesis to contemplate other possibilities by

suspending judgment, and the shaming or fear that judgment can raise.

As with liminality, narrative performs a coherent (Polkinghorne, 1988) and discontinuous

(Anzaldúa, 1987; Mattingly, 1998) self to a culture formerly out of touch (rite of separation) by

mediating affective symbolic texts (rite of transition) shared with others (rite of incorporation)

(Rosko, 2010). Narrative lends this process a safe space that carries people through sharing

(Kahn, 2001, 2005). A storied approach to idealized systems design provides that safe place

because stories decenter power if stories allow other voices (Stelter, 2010). Collective

performance that integrates story and idealized systems design can engage a transformative

process well-suited to studying compassionate communitas of faith-based CSSPs because

performing stories find passage in-between painful life experiences (Rosko, 2010, 2015a).

A storied systems design can support health systems, such as faith-based CSSPs.

Organizational narratives enact social life and assume collectiveness (Cohen, 1998;

Czarniawska, 2000; MacIntyre, 1981/1990; Phillips, 1995). Consulting provides a liminal space

to invite other voices (Czarniawska & Mazza, 2003). Narrative can benefit organizational

studies when a consultant-researcher collects stories, observes how people create stories, invokes

storycrafting and sharing, interprets the stories, analyzes the narratives, deconstructs or creates

one's own story, and finally stages the stories together with other stories (Czarniawska, 1998,

2000; Czarniawska & Mazza, 2003). Interpretive research needs such criteria. A central task in

story research involves constructing characters, plot of events and their function, and

interpretating theme(s) beyond the dominance of scientific and analytic answers prevalent in

research (Czarniawska, 2000; Holstein & Gubrium, 1997). People make choices that shape the

interactions of the narratives with other narratives and characters in the organization

(Czarniawska, 2000; O'Connor, 1997). These decisions show possibilities to change a system.

Systems designers can craft the story of the ideal vision of the future and offer an

alternative to mainstream scientific discourse, especially by emphasizing transformation as its

own logic (see Todorov, 1978/1990). Resonating with liminal themes, Todorov (1971/1977)

emphasized the passage from one equilibrium to another, such as a stable situation that changes

when disturbed by an outside force that catalyzes disequilibrium until the action swings in the

opposite direction to re-establish the equilibrium (Czarniawska, 2000). The second equilibrium

may resemble the first or reverse it (Czarniawska, 2000; Todorov, 1971/1977). The goal

involves finding the minimal missing element (Czarniawska, 2000), which may function as the

integrative pause after suffering that will propel the person(s) toward wholeness (C. H. Colwell-

Lipson, personal communication, August 26, 2016). This study will not belabor the

deconstructionist or conversation-analytic approaches that call for a rigorous emergence or purity

of genre because, to add to Czarniawska (2000), story-crafting and sharing remain ancient

human rituals that need compassionate communitas to pass through the rite of story safely and

well. Runyan's (1984) internal criteria for a quality narrative as compelling and engendering

empathy comes closest to compassionate communitas. The decisions for systems synthesis of

compassionate communitas honor heart of this study.

Theme Three: Faith-Based CSSPs

Faith and compassionate communitas connect because compassion arises as a common

theme across monotheistic religions (Armstrong, 1994), and faith-based CSSPs work to provide

human and social services. The union of love and knowledge with compassion comes when

humans relate with each other, and compassion provides insight to suffering so that people can

communicate (Day, 1975). Burke (2011) discussed suffering as God with us (Isaiah 7:14), and

only a suffering God can comfort those who suffer when serving God (Bonhoeffer, 1937/1959;

"Only the suffering God can help," 2010; Kearney, 2009; Whitehead, 1978). A co-suffering God

cares about those ostracized, disenfranchised, and marginalized (Burke, 2011; Heb. 2:18, 4:15;

Kearney, 2009). Faith-based CSSPs can bring compassionate communitas to health systems for

people marginalized and ostracized. The following sections will apply Rasmussen’s (2008)

human systems to describe the complexity of faith-based CSSPs from a systems perspective.

Faith-based CSSPs provide human and social solutions. Rasmussen’s (2008) work updated

Banathy’s (1973, 1991, 1996a) with human and social service systems.

The complexity of partnerships. Social systems as faith-based CSSPs express tensions

with organizing complexity. Strategic alliances, such as faith-based CSSPs, allow organizations

to collaborate. Different types of partnerships include public-private partnership (PPP or P3),

cross-sector partnership (XSP), and cross-sector social partnership (CSSP). CSSPs make it an

official goal to address social and ecological problems too complex for one organization to solve

(Clarke & Fuller, 2010; Shirey, 2013). Researchers can account and design for strategic alliance

complexity (Hua & Morgan, 2012), such as for liminality as a community component of

distributed leadership (Edwards, 2011). Writers have alluded to organizing complex systems

from a community development perspective. Complexity and wholeness become essential for

community (Walter, 2008). Complex wholeness goes beyond community as a group or structure

because complex wholeness needs movement toward communitas (V. W. Turner, 1969, 1987).

Faith-based CSSPs provide a complex liminal anti-structure to engage community.

A systems understanding of partnerships. It helps to understand faith-based CSSPs as

a system. Faith-based CSSPs express in practice the interconnections that systems writers talk

about (see Meadows & Wright, 1993/2008; Senge, 1990, 2006). Compassionate communitas

puts heart into K. Boulding's (1956) skeleton of science because knowledge comes from social

organizing and from humans who communicate across complex systems. Compassionate

communitas means that people respond instinctively and intentionally to organize a healthier

system than before. Storied systems design can facilitate these efforts as CSSPs move from

reality towards ideal. A critical power perspective counterpoints compassion as an ideal, but not

to maintain the system that normalizes suffering because idealistic discourse can do little to

change the unequal distribution of power in society (Tomlinson, 2005). For instance, the

intervener may burn out from vulnerability and loss of control or resources over the long-term

leaving the problem that triggered the intervention at status quo (Meadows & Wright,

1993/2008). The organization risks disenchantment and disengagement (Cha & Edmondson,

2006) while expending massive recovery efforts (Beelitz & Merkl-Davies, 2012). Faith-based

CSSPs likely experience this tension between interventions and distribution, such as wealth

disparities that ostracize people, or constrict them to utilize for-profit norms.

Power players: Sociopolitics for faith-based CSSPs. Those practicing faith-based

CSSPs likely experience the constraints and possibilities associated with power players.

Nationally in the United States, organizations of faith have provided a safety net for human

needs by alleviating the strain on federal and state services, and they have been an ongoing focus

of the past few U.S. administrations' domestic agenda. Government relies on non-profits to fill

the service gap, often with ideological language. At the February 4, 2010 National Prayer

Breakfast, President Obama said that "Progress comes when we open our hearts, when we extend

our hands, when we recognize our common humanity," and "Progress comes when we look into

the eyes of another and see the face of God" (The White House, n.d.c). However, the reliance on

faith-based efforts seems strained because of political tensions of party lines, people may

question the use of public funds for faith-based organizations, and tensions around extremism.

Past initiatives for compassion by a political party have polarized the context of faith-based

CSSPs. For instance, the existence of the Christian Right in the late 1990s resulted in the trope

of compassionate conservatism accompanied by efforts to reform the welfare state by providing

government funding for faith-based organizations (Harrison, 2013), yet the ideals do not

necessarily show up in funding or translate to compassionate communitas.

Previously, President Clinton signed "Charitable Choice" laws during 1996-2000 with the

intent to give people with needs choices among the charities that offer them services (The White

House, n.d.a). Next, President George W. Bush created the Faith-Based and Community

Initiative to restore a sense of hope, purpose, and compassion in how people experienced human

and social services (The White House, n.d.a). The Faith-Based and Community Initiative

resulted in discretionary and formula or block grants (The White House, n.d.a). When active, the

Compassion Capital Fund (CCF) grant program aimed to provide effective social services to

low-income individuals (Kramer, Finegold, De Vita, & Wherry, 2005; U.S. Department of

Health & Human Services, n.d.a, n.d.b). In 2001 the Department of Health and Human Services

awarded $25 billion directly to grant applicants, and gave $160 billion to states and localities,

which then made funds available to non-governmental organizations, but not for extensive

proselytizing or religious marketing (The White House, n.d.a). The federal climate seemed

favorable for organizations of faith providing services to the public.

Each of these executive efforts seemed to maintain a continuity of good faith. It seems

unclear if current political reactivity has changed the system to pressure or support human and

social services, or in a way that values compassionate communitas, or supports or removes the

need for faith-based CSSPs to provide services. Policy concerns about government partnerships

of faith-based organizations seemed to entangle policy and legality of providing grant money to

organization of faiths, such as loss of autonomy of the religious group, lack of reporting

requirements if any, government bias against or towards rewarding funds to religious groups (M.

Brown, 2013), and, unmentioned in M. Brown's (2013) article, the reason(s) that human and

social needs have become larger than government alone can address.

To add to the lack of clarity, few studies have considered connections with the idealized

practice of faith-based CSSPs, such as compassionate communitas. One 2004 study included

compassion and community-building for a government agency. The National Organization for

Research and Computing (NORC) at the University of Chicago has produced the General Social

Survey (GSS) since 1972 to monitor societal change and growing complexity of American

society (NORC, n.d.). NORC (2004) studied the physical redevelopment and community

building efforts of the Chicago Housing Authority due to the "Homeownership and Opportunity

for People Everywhere" (HOPE) act from Congress in 1990. This study found that three-

quarters of leaseholders said they felt that CHA staff treated them fairly and with compassion

with subgroups presenting differences on these measures. When asked to relocate, leaseholders

with special needs presented satisfaction rates that dropped to less than half because they

perceived less fair and compassionate treatment by staff (NORC, 2004). The follow-up NORC

(2005) study found that nearly 79% (n=253 of 321) of leaseholders said that the CHA showed

compassion, and 21% (n=68) said that the CHA did not show compassion. This improvement

suggests that research may support compassionate human and social services.

One year later, 246 leaseholders answered whether their receiving CHA showed them

compassion resulting in 265 coded responses (NORC, 2005). Leaseholders indicated that CHA

showed compassion during the relocation via availability to answer questions and give help

(27%, n=67), nice or helpful staff (18%, n=45) who paid for help with the move (13%, n=31),

helped find places to live and offered choices (11%, n=28), kept leaseholder informed (10%,

n=24), provided resources for food, utilities, and furniture (5%, n=12), and other (16%, n=40).

Residents indicated that CHA did not show compassion by perceiving CHA as not caring about

residents (28%, n=19), not proffering enough information (10%, n=7), not giving a leaseholder a

choice when or where to move (7%, n=5), rushing leaseholders through relocation (7%, n=5),

not telling the truth (1%, n=1), and other (46%, n=32) (NORC, 2005).

The "other" for the "did not show compassion" responses suggested that the lease-holders

perceived ways that government failed to show compassion amid an agency mandated change.

The responses about the CHA showing compassion included helping and communication

behaviors; whereas, responses about the CHA not showing compassion included perceptions of a

lack of care, information, choice, or truth-telling, and of being hurried through a difficult change.

The common themes included helping, communication, autonomy, and caring. This study

showed a rare glimpse into constituent perceptions of government performance of compassion

during a mandated change. Compassionate communitas can express tensions and possibilities

between caring and policy for faith-based CSSPs who often partner with government agencies.

There seems no indication at the time of writing this dissertation of a federally

administered policy to support partnerships of faith that offer human and social services, which

arguably reduce the burden to municipal, state, and federal budgets with the work that they do.

Under the current administration, no searches resulted from "faith," "church," or "partnership" as

had previous administrations at The White House website (n.d.b). Instead, the Issues section

focused on "America first" policies around trade, jobs, and law enforcement (n.d.b). The We the

People Petitions remained one possible channel of influence (The White House, n.d.d).

Systems functions and processes: Compassionate communitas of faith-based CSSPs.

There exist no known studies for storied systems design of compassionate communitas of faith-

based CSSPs. Compassionate communitas expresses faith. However, this emphasis seems lost if

structures of separation, such as modern norms, environmental constraints, or political ideology

replace compassionate communitas. Writers of faith have addressed compassion, love, and

community before. The appeal for compassion has arisen throughout church history.

The Psalmist poetically described faithful leadership as crowning people with

compassion after God redeems their lives (Psa. 103:4). The "crown" matters for compassionate

"soft power" of community engagement of faith. In Revelation of Divine Love, Julian of

Norwich, a mystic anchoress who lived in the fourteenth century from 1342 until 1416 at

Norfolk, England, wrote about loving compassion as a wound. She wished that she could co-

suffer with Christ because Christ suffered for people as compassion and love (Holloway, 1993;

Reynolds, n.d.). After 15 years of contemplation, Julian said that she understood why God

expressed the revelations, Showings, to her: "God's love was his meaning, God's love expressed

spiritual understanding for love's sake, so remain in love, and she will know more of the same,

and she would not know differently without end" (Holloway, 1993; Reynolds, n.d.).

This love becomes present during suffering. If we did not suffer, then we would not need

compassion. Ideals as a paradox to reality fall short of alleviating pain and need something

outside the system to change the reality of suffering. In Christianity, this change agent was Jesus

(1 John 3:16; Heb. 4:14-16; Isaiah 7:14, 9:1-6; Matt. 9:36, 28:18-20). Mabee (2013) referred to

Pope Benedict’s XVI mention of the loving gaze of Christ upon the crowds. St. Francis of Assisi

served lepers with personal concern and compassion after he discovered the crucified Christ

(Burke, 2011). Burke (2011) listed accounts of others who served "the rejected of society with

whom they found Christ in solidarity" with love and justice to move from misery to care, and

hostility to hospitality (p. 71). This solidarity with Christ moved people to suffer with others

until they found togetherness. For example, Dorothy Day understood through practice that

Christ emptied himself out of love for those whom society and religious leaders had ostracized as

the "least" of humans (Burke, 2011). Other writers encouraged theological ethics that respond to

suffering by challenging inequitable patterns in the system, or systemic sin (Wilson & Letsosa,

2014), such as for human dignity, full humanity, democracy, human rights, equality, solidarity,

and equal opportunity (Burke, 2011; Rerum Novarum, 1891, para. 57). Such caring practices

identify the church (Craig, 2010; John 13:35). Notably, the prophet Isaiah referring to Jesus

spoke of a coming kingdom of basic needs, peace, and appropriate worship because Jesus would

serve as an empathetic high priest (Heb. 4:15), in contrast to the oppressive leaders and

mediators at the time (Isaiah 9:1-7). These writings imply a different way to do church as

building a future kingdom with solidarity of compassionate communitas under Christ.

Fewer writers have directly connected liminality with church practice. For instance,

Nichols (1985) called worship anti-structure, or a rite of passage during which worshipers realize

that they cannot contain God. Taylor (1986) explained that Christians' liminal existence means

that they affirm cultural others and all who experience fear do so because of marginalization by

the structures that oppress them. Taylor (1986) prescribed limen for social justice work when he

referred to Christians as living within and at the margins of cultural and linguistic worlds. Using

agricultural terms, Hosea (10:12) described fallow ground as a place for seekers to break up

unplowed ground for a time to seek God and to wait until God rains down righteousness so that

seekers can reap unfailing love. Throughout, liminal themes express a God of love who co-

suffers with those on the margins (1 John 4:8). Jesus died on a cross in-between two others also

so suffered (John 19; Luke 23:26-43; Matt. 27:32-56). Belief in such a God ideally results in

loving behavior (1 John 4:8), which contrasts, and "casts out," fear because fear has to do with

ostracism (1 John 4:18-19). People move from ostracism from God and each other toward love

as wholeness with God, each other, and themselves (see Mark 12:28-31; Matt. 22:36-40). People

experience ostracism as judgement and love as safety (1 John 4:18-19). Compassion from this

perspective involves emulating the suffering one who led by example, but did not retaliate (1

John 4:7-21; Heb. 4:14-16). Compassionate communitas becomes an imperative: "I desire

compassion, and not sacrifice" (Hos. 6:6; Matt. 9:13). Compassionate communitas provides this

ideal to explore a heart-centered approach for faith-based CSSPs that partner for love.

However, this ideal for compassionate communitas does not necessarily translate to

practice or systems change. Churches need to strengthen a culture that improves the human

quality of affection, friendship, and partnership (House, 2013). Churches can partner to

demonstrate the love for God and neighbor, and how faithfulness to this love becomes all that

matters for human affection and friendship (House, 2013). Compassionate communitas provides

a way to influence health systems with spiritual and affective values to transcend constraints.

Functions of human systems: Socioeconomics for faith-based CSSPs. Faith-based

CSSPs can experience tension if their efforts inadvertently perpetuate structural norms that

influence constraints. The unstated issue involves how money aligns with practice for a model

that often ostracizes. Budgetary tensions might invite suspicion about idealizing a systems

design for faith-based CSSPs engaged with public concerns, especially in a volatile climate.

Agencies need to build and sustain networks with faith-based organizations, especially in the

socioeconomic environment (Yoon & Nickel, 2008). Locally, city leaders scrap together

budgets to meet human and social service needs for those on the margins. For example, the

economic index and race function as a disparity with many unhealthy outcomes (Braveman,

Cubbin, Egerter, Williams, & Pamuk, 2010). Also, 31 states fiscally have suffered from the

2008 recession (Oliff, Mai, & Palacios, 2012). Municipalities with diversity need to improve

service delivery because of language or cultural barriers (e.g., Law, 2014; Shridhar, 2014). The

need for partnerships emerges from this context to provide human and social solutions.

Add to that the tensions of organizing churches and volunteers. As of 2011, about

350,000 religious congregations existed in the United States with an average size of 100-400

members (Hodgkinson & Weitzman, 1993; Saxon-Harrold, Kirsch, Heffron, McCormack, &

Weitzman, 2001; Saxon-Harrold, Wiener, McCormack, & Weber, 2000; U.S. Department of

Justice, 2011; Wiener, Saxon-Harrold, McCormack, & Kirsch, 2001). U.S. congregations have

generated an estimated $81 billion annually in revenue, most of which supports programs that

address social needs. Faith-based institutions engage 45 million volunteers, or nearly half of the

total number of American volunteers (U.S. Department of Justice, 2011). However, by the early

1990s, data from some of the data sources that contributed to information about nonprofits, such

as the Nonprofit Almanac, lacked clarity about methods and procedures, which raised questions

about how to effectively evaluate and implement data about faith-based organizations (Salamon,

1993). There lacks reliable information about the scale and scope of faith-based interventions on

human and social services, and what they need or do amid modern society.

Faith CSSPs can experience tensions when socioeconomic and modern norms for

organizing drive disparity and mismatch spiritual or affective values, especially if churches

organize as modern organizations based on a model for production and consumption (House,

2013). Corporate philanthropy practices do not address the systemic causes of social concerns

(Einstein, 2012), and sometimes these practices spill into development efforts for nonprofits. For

instance, identified as "non-," nonprofits have needed to recruit corporate partners, to establish

alliances, and to acquire new data sources of capital amid increasing economic concerns because

of the market environment (Rabade, 2012). Fundraising and galas can raise tensions of

pandering to wealthier people, and moving funds around with grants from various agencies that

may transfer and not change the problem. Funding practices might perpetuate the disparities that

contributed to the human and social service challenges in the first place. The consumer approach

to buying fixes to social problems may run out of money, and may not alleviate human suffering.

Workers for "a plentiful harvest" seem in short supply (Luke 10:2; Matt. 9:37). The realities

driving the system do not change. The concern involves how faith CSSPs live out their ideals,

and not as a structure dependent on, or pressured by, a mismatched environment.

To point, researchers have spoken of partnership success in terms of competitive

advantage, such as to better serve customers, acquire resources, and compete for customers or

raw materials (Devlin & Bleackley, 1988; Kanter, 1988; Pfeffer & Salancik, 1978; Thongkhong-

Park, 2001). However, scholar-practitioners can consider concerns beyond competitive

advantage (Ployhart & Hale, 2014) because the spiritual values of faith-based CSSPs transcend

profit or competition. Megachurches experience tension when they match moral ambition and

religious convictions with serving the poor (Harrison, 2013). These practices lack attention to a

reasoning faith that includes creative thinking and inquiry to maintain theological integrity

(House, 2013). The structure of separation, the socioeconomic and modern norms for

organizing, can stymie faithful practice. Disparity as systemic sin can inhibit churches from

providing justice and care to the disadvantaged, or those who have been sinned against by

systemic norms (Wilson & Letsosa, 2014). Churches can partner for community not competitors

even if doing so reduces numbers and resists norms that franchise churches (House, 2013).

Beyond that, the post-welfare era has made it difficult for humanitarianism despite a

growing phenomenon of altruistic faith-based activism. Modernism and religion awkwardly

crossed paths in post-World War II America when U.S. Evangelicalism entrenched with

suburbanization and commercial sprawl. For example, conservative evangelical Protestants

experienced ethical dilemmas when engaging with activism and social outreach when they

perceived a theological paradox between compassion and accountability (Elisha, 2008). Trends

have moved toward evangelical re-urbanization, which restructures American religion and

changes dynamics in cities (Bielo, 2011), such as by displacing poorer populations (McGee, n.d.,

2007-2008). Evangelical re-urbanization negatively critiques suburban mega-churches and aims

to reconcile urban life with the kingdom of God (Bielo, 2011). The strain of serving seems at the

mercy of a merciless economic system that ostracizes people in various ways.

Beginning in 1990, the rising culture of Nones, or one-fifth of the U.S. public and one-

third of American adults under 30, who don't identify with organized religion, yet as a

demographic are spiritual, atheistic, or agnostic and socially liberal, and often Democratic voters,

translate to an unprecedented trend of young people distancing itself from community

institutions and from institutions in general (National Public Radio, 2013; Pew Research Center,

2012). These Nones value tolerance, service, and economic justice as vital to healthy and stable

societies, but disaffiliate with religion even in places where religious affiliation remains high

(Center for Religion and Civic Culture, n.d.). The Nones by disaffiliation do not seem to trust

institutions, such as religion, to bring those changes about, and one wonders about the tension

with the rise of Nones as a rebellion towards greater individualism, and how that translates to

systems change that integrates the values to support a healthy and stable society. The CSSP risks

losing the faith-based to increased secularization, and people to sustain it due to a global shift in

major religions projected by 2035 for various reasons (see Pew Research Center, 2015, 2017).

These trends do not bode well for faith-based CSSPs and the regions that need them. Gill

(2011) wrote that modernity and its emblems have fostered an increasing coldness in a lethal

world, which clashes with the human condition by suggesting that modernity paradoxically

symbolizes freedom and life. A cultural heart that becomes cold and hard seems at odds with

matters of faith, hope, and love. Churches that organize as modern structures lose the fluidity

and communal kinship of the ancient church (see Ascough, 2002; Land, 2008; Longenecker,

2002). For instance, early Christian language promoted a strong communal bond as though the

structure was that of surrogate family members (Ascough, 2002; Land, 2008) and not a number

or building. Kin of faith met each other’s needs so that they were free to worship God (Acts 4-

6). Faith-based organizations can value proactively loving all people instead of over-talking

about beliefs because the opposite of love amounts to indifference (Chandler, 2008). These

distinctions set faith-based CSSPs apart from other cultural or political organizations because

they value communion with God and with each other (2 Cor. 13:13; Volf, 2002) to meet basic

needs and engage loving community as a health system. These spiritual and affective human

behaviors go beyond modern emphases on organizing and structure. Compassionate communitas

needs a design better suited to faith-based CSSPs than modern structural norms.

Compassionate communitas allows for higher-level concerns: It may not be enough to

serve or advocate for sufferers, but asks to dissolve the problem causing disparity and do so in a

healing loving manner. Einstein (2012) appealed to compassion and social justice because of

such shortcomings of philanthropy. The systemic implications include concerns with social

justice, human services, the relevance of faith in urban development, and the need to adjust

discourse and practice to respond to the current era (Bielo, 2011). The problem becomes one of

ostracizing people because of resources or a misplaced treasure of the heart (Luke 12:34; Matt.

6:21). The ideal moves towards a future where a healthy system can thrive. Systems change

needs to occur for the ideals of faith-based CSSPs to succeed. A storied systems design allows

for envisioning how to dissolve the realities that require faith-based CSSPs by expressing future

visions of ideal partnerships to help them to enact upon and normalize their ideals instead of

preventing healing from norms that limit opportunities to transform people’s lives.

Consciousness: Socioculture for faith-based CSSPs. Cultural norms also contribute to

the health system of faith-based CSSPs. The extent to which faith-based CSSPs can support

health services seems strained if American attitudes toward religious affiliation continue to

decline. A 2014 NORC study found that Americans in almost every demographic more likely

reported "no religion" in 2014 than in the past. Participants reported less frequent time with

prayer and attending religious services than 20 years prior although people who stated a religious

preference did not significantly change attendance of services weekly or more than in the past.

While 97% of Americans still believe in [a] God, they do not necessarily affiliate that belief, or

identity, with a religion, which raises concerns for associating with churches for civic purposes

(Hout & Smith, 2015, March 10). Future generations may affiliate less also, such as emerging

adults who did not attend college who demonstrated the most decline in religious participation

(Uecker, Regnerus, & Vaaler, 2007). U.S. faith-based CSSPs may experience less capacity to

sustain partnership. However, it remains to be seen if the current climate increases attendance,

such as with progressives concerned about social justice and theology (Green, 2016).

Plus, aspiring to create lasting change from a system that ostracizes to one that loves

seems a lofty ideal. One religious organization used collective action framing of relationships

and project goals to create lasting social change (Kragt Bakker, 2011), but these local changes

may not transform a system long-term. Also, faith-based social workers need awareness for how

to act out of a professional obligation to a code of ethics to challenge injustice and pursue social

change for ostracized persons, and to do so with sensitivity and knowledge about structural

oppression and cultural and ethnic diversity (National Association of Social Workers, 1999).

These cultural concerns add to the capacity needs for contributors to a faith-based CSSP.

Holos: Primary driver for compassionate communitas of faith-based CSSPs.

Beyond modernism, organizations need wholeness as a chief concern to succeed (Lencioni,

2012). Compassionate communitas means moving toward complex wholeness and away from

structures that separate to alleviate suffering, and to develop communitas instead of ostracizing

people (Dutton et al., 2014; Kanov et al., 2004; V. W. Turner, 1987). Complex wholeness

depends on building a foundation of shared beliefs, interests, and commitments to unite or

stabilize diverse groups and activities so that people can connect with each other with a common

faith or fate, a personal identity, a sense of belonging, and supportive activities and relationships

(Selznick, 2008; Walter, 2008). Fernandez (1986) described communitas as complex wholeness.

For systems, holism, one of eight tenets of systems thinking, integrates all of the

properties of a system to function as the whole, and not part of the whole, because the whole

determines how the parts behave (von Bertalanffy, 1950a, 1950b, 1971). The language for part

and whole limits this understanding because of the mechanics of separation. Emergence makes

wholeness credible because living things grow towards a whole, and because reductionism and

bottom-up descriptions of nature often fail to predict complex higher-level patterns (Flake,

1998). Wholeness allows people to engage in learning, empowerment, democracy, partnership,

and to bridge gaps of culture, class, race, gender, and hierarchy (Banathy, 1996a; Weisbord,

1992). This purview invites a whole picture of the connections that people experience between

systems. For a healthy system, faith-based CSSPs need an environment that normalizes the

ideals of partnership to match their values and to bridge the gaps that they address in society.

For faith organizations, compassionate communitas often shows up in how they treat

those on the margins. One study told the story of a pastor’s role in preparing a church to serve

homeless persons with compassion (Moxley, Washington, & McElhaney, 2012). Faith-based

social workers can respond to sufferers as a way to share God's love for all people (Raymond,

2011). The call to love and compassion at the heart sounds as a call to heal. The Holos

imperative involves healing human life as an autonomous and interconnected whole centered on

roles that embrace values and identity (Cooper, 1998; Laszlo, 2001; Naisbitt, 1984; Solomon,

1992, 1993, cited in Bolman & Deal, 2008, p. 401; Wheatley, 2006, 2009). Holism does not

reduce people to objects because it allows for the intangibles of spirit, intuition, and mystery

(Goldberg, 1983; Rosko, 2009). Healing reflects the root meaning for holism and health as

turning toward a flourishing whole (Katongole & Rice, 2008; Wheatley, 2009). Wheatley (2000)

described this turning toward as compassion; others described communitas as complex

wholeness (Fernandez, 1986; V. W. Turner, 1987). Compassionate communitas reflects a real-

life way to experience wholeness. Organizations that engage healing as a living system can

orient towards holism (Davies, 1983; Laszlo, 2001; Naisbitt, 1984). A Holistic civilization

seems yet realized; however, people can envision their holistic hopes to make a Holos

civilization a reality (Laszlo, 2001). The challenge involves bringing wholeness to systems

norms that create sectorial organizations, such as faith-based CSSPs.

Latin for integrate means to make whole (B. Brown, 2015). Therefore, research of systems can

better express synthesis of wholeness into the design. Designing for compassionate communitas

needs qualities for a whole future, which influences the choices that systems designers make

(Banathy, 1996a). Liminal writers spoke of a complex wholeness that happens after

marginalized persons come together with a new identity as a person and community (Fernandez,

1986; V. W. Turner, 1987). This study allows for a design that yearns for wholeness through

creative collaboration so that people can feel safe and cared for so that they can perform well as

an integrated whole. Whole systems, such as the health system of faith-based CSSPs, value

human qualities. Therefore, I synthesized the stories, photographs, and conversations, and

stories value creativity, aesthetics, affectivity, and spirituality (Banathy, 1996a). Such design

thinking empowers people to be open to systems thinking by designing their ideals for everyday

realities that impact their quality of life, to weigh ethics, to design communication and

conversation, and to include creativity as essential to design (Banathy, 1996a; Linstone, 1984,

1985; Linstone & Mitroff, 1994). This study is a storied systems design of a faith-based CSSP.


This chapter (a) connected organizational compassion and anthropological communitas

as alleviating suffering of ostracism imposed by modern structures, (b) explained faith-based

CSSPs as a health system, and (c) justified study of faith-based CSSPs with storied idealized

systems design. Compassionate communitas as an affective and spiritual experience implies a

caring response for how people collectively move towards a whole system (Dutton et al., 2014;

Kanov et al., 2004; V. W. Turner, 1987). This literature review's connections of organizational

compassion and anthropological communitas of faith-based CSSPs expressed these themes.


This chapter describes the research design. The literature review expressed a need to

connect compassionate communitas of faith-based CSSPs as movement towards complex

wholeness and away from structures that separate. Significantly, I searched for the dimensions

of compassionate communitas from my stories and photographs and the participants’ ideal

visions to answer V. W. Turner’s (1987) call for researchers of liminality to express the

movement toward or away from complex wholeness. Together, finding integrated stories,

photographs, and conversations to express compassionate communitas as complex wholeness.


This study contributed a storied version of idealized systems design (Rosko, 2015a), and

overlapped language from organizational compassion and anthropological communitas for a

theoretical lens to synthesize the stories, photographs, and visions. The phenomena involved

moving from a current reality of marginalization towards an ideal partnership, and if the faith-

based CSSP supported this ideal vision of partnership, or not. This study shared an ideal image

of partnership by synthesizing visions by participants of a faith-based CSSP via idealized

systems interviews about the ideal partnership of the future with my reflective short stories and

photographs of volunteer experience with the same faith-based CSSP.

The stories, photographs, and visions emerged from my process overlapping what I

learned with my volunteer consulting storywork with the local faith-based CSSP. I wrote the

short stories in April 2016, and placed the photographs within the stories at that time (Appendix

D). Later, I interviewed participants with questions about the ideal vision of the partnership of

the future, the ideal environment to support this partnership of the future, and what needs to

change now to implement this vision (Appendix E). The questions did not include prompts

about compassionate communitas or my stories or photographs because I wanted to hear their

ideal vision in their own words (Appendix E). The study participants were affiliated with this

same local faith-based CSSP, and so some of us knew each other. This study offers a unique

glimpse into how research emerged from my sense-crafting process of volunteering.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study involved applying the lens of compassionate communitas to

synthesize the stories, photographs, and interviews in a meaningful way as I volunteered my

storycrafting consulting with a faith-based CSSP that emerged during doctoral study.

Research Questions

This study asked two research questions:

(RQ1): What is the ideal vision of a faith-based cross-sector social partnership (CSSP)

for people who support this type of health system?

(RQ2): What do the stories, photographs, and visions express about compassionate

communitas of a faith-based cross-sector social partnership (CSSP)?


This study's procedures went as follows:

1. Wrote short stories via Denning's (2005) story typology for organizations.

2. Included my photographs salient to the short stories.

3. Recruited potential participants. These participants were those interested in

visioning work and who carried roles of board president, executive director,

pastor, regional partner, and volunteer affiliated with a regional health system.

4. Interviewed five adult participants (ages 18-65) of this purposive sample who

supported the work of a local faith-based CSSP for their ideal vision of

partnership. Each participant served on the board of the faith-based CSSP.

5. Interpreted the participants' ideal vision of partnership with my stories and

photographs by applying the dimensions of compassionate communitas, and by

describing the ideal image of partnership to answer the research questions.

6. Expressed if synthesis indicated movement toward or away the dimensions of

compassionate communitas. This step applied a compassionate communitas

based on the definitions of the terms to interpret the data sources together.

7. Discussed the synthesis in terms of wholeness of loving and communal systems.

8. Concluded with limitations, reflections, and suggestions for future research.

Limen and this study’s procedures for synthesizing participant visions, my reflective

short stories, and photographs via compassionate communitas allowed for the fluid boundaries

needed to support the contributors to a local faith-based CSSP.


I interviewed five adult participants who carried roles of board president, executive

director, pastor, regional partner, and volunteer affiliated with a regional health system. I wrote

seven short stories using Denning (2005) as a prompt and placed the 27 photographs from an

archive of 93 in April 2016. I created the dimensions of compassionate communitas from the

definitions in the literature of the term in January 2017. I interviewed the five adult participants

of a local faith-based CSSP on-site Spring 2017 with a site permission letter December 6, 2016.

Participant Selection

Internal Review Board (IRB) approved procedures to protect participants who signed

permission for informed consent and audio-recording. I recruited five adult participants via

email and a board meeting who support the work of a local faith-based CSSP. I found

participants locally. Participants included myself for the stories and photographs, and five adults

to describe their ideal partnership of the future. This purposive selection came from the board of

the faith-based CSSP, or the executive director, board president, a volunteer affiliated with a

regional health system, a regional partner affiliated with a non-profit organization, and a pastor.


Stories provide an arc to understand movement in a system. Including participant voices

offset the author’s bent for compassionate communitas. This study operationalized

compassionate communitas of faith-based CSSPs by synthesizing my stories and photographs of

experience volunteering in a faith-based CSSP during 2012-2016 with participant visions of their

ideal partnership: Does compassionate communitas show up in either? My reflective short

stories included seven short stories via Denning’s (2005) Me, We, Organization, Knowledge-

sharing, Values, Springboard, and Future story types for organizations. The stories showed what

the experience felt like for me and what the volunteering called to mind. The story typology

provided a systematic writing prompt to offset my bent towards the topic.

Denning (2005) described story types as follows:

 The Me story expresses authenticity to build trust, shares a turning point in the

narrator's life, and uses a positive tone with details about context.

 The We story can generate high-performing teams and groups and tells how people

work together collaboratively to succeed.

 The Organization story tells about the company's identity and brand for stakeholders.

The Organization story sounds as a pitch, but not as direct.

 Knowledge-sharing stories establish the setting to explain a problem or challenge in

light of context, and so uses scene setting, and express how knowledge transmits

through an organization.

 The Values story integrates vignettes of different types of values important to the

narrator, sounds as parables, and applies a minimalist style.

 The Springboard story, short and sweet, can inspire ideas, action, and innovation, and

uses a minimalist and positive tone about change.

 The Future story employs an evocative and compelling style and positive tone about

an exemplary future state with poetic language and simplicity, but not cliché, so that

people can remember the story, and differs from operational strategies. Future stories

can jump from Springboard stories.

In practice, people often intertwine the terms story and narrative, and switch the terms broadly

and for various story types. To simplify, people can treat the terms as synonyms (Denning,

2005; Polkinghorne, 1988). Applying story and narrative with purposeful themes can guide

organizations to apply synthesis, and telling a story well can improve effectiveness (Denning,

2005). Narrative can support health themes because people can reconcile intent with experience

(Mattingly, 1998) or a liminal story arc in-between reality and ideal. This study’s purposeful

themes of compassionate communitas provided the emergence lens.


I included 27 photographs from my archives of 93 to visualize the faith-based CSSP. I

attempted to include at least two to three photographs per story or at least one per page for

aesthetic quality, and the total of 27 just came about. I photographed these images for personal

and non-commercial use during 2012-2016 and did not intend to use them for study, but as a way

of being and doing the work of volunteering, and promoting the opportunities to support the

faith-based CSSP in social media. I embedded establishing and detail photographs in the short

stories around April 2016 to proffer a sense of plot, and to visualize themes. The photographs

set the scene, and suggested if the environment supported the movement toward or away

wholeness for faith-based CSSPs, or not. The photographs showed Banathy’s (1996a) human

affect and aesthetic quality although they carry their own perks and limitations.


I shared with participants the context so that they understood the point of the interview


Sometimes people come together to meet a need in society. Faith organizations often
meet that need. Churches, laypersons, neighbors, and everyday people come together to
meet a need. Often that need is from a gap that society doesn't meet on its own.
Sometimes these faith organizations partner with other agencies and organizations who
share similar concerns. These organizations have technical names, but are for all intents
and purposes partnerships. The different agencies and organizations can come from other
sectors, such as business, government, education, and neighbors. These partnerships are
called cross-sector partnerships. If the partnership meets a human or social need, such as
food, employment, housing, education, or health, they are called cross-sector social
partnerships, or CSSP for short. If the CSSP came about by visionary folks at a faith
organization, then the organization is called a faith-based CSSP. Mostly though, people
know the organization by their story about it, and what they want to accomplish with
their time and efforts there.

This study is about how people such as yourself envision the ideal partnership of the
future. The study wants to know the ideal partnership of the future because maybe what
we learn can help improve the way that partnerships or society meets human and social
service needs. Are you ready to begin?

This context set the background for participants.


I then set the scene by providing a scenario before asking questions. I shared a scenario

of a partnership that has revolutionized human and social service systems:

In the future, a human and social service partnership has almost worked itself out of a
job. You are their new executive director. What would the design allow you to do that
hasn't been done today? Look around you in this future. You have no constraints. You
have all the resources that you need to maintain this organization. If you could wave a
magic wand and create the perfect partnership, what would that partnership look like?

I recorded the conversation with participant permission using a mp3 recorder and wrote down the

participant’s responses in the interview guide. I sent the files to an online transcription service to

transcribe the interviews (Appendix D), and shared excerpts of interviews to explain synthesis

(Chapters 4-5). To protect participants, the transcription service signed a non-disclosure, and

IRB approved the use of this transcription service.

Questions for Participants

I asked the following questions adapted from Banathy (1996a). These questions served

as a guide. Questions excluded compassionate communitas or faith as prompts for the

participants to offset bias of the topic. A goal involved asking design questions about what

matters and helping organizations to become ideal by giving them a guiding vision instead of

staying entrenched in problems (Metcalf, 2003). This study focused on the exploration, image

creation, and design information and knowledge spaces of Banathy's (1996a) design architecture.

The remaining spaces for evaluation, experimentation, and modeling can occur post-study.

Questions for participants emphasized the ideal image, and environment rewound to the current

reality to understand how participants envisioned movement toward or away their ideal.

Question categories included the image of the ideal partnership system, the ideal for future

society, environmental view, and rewind to present day.

Image of the Ideal Partnership System

These questions asked the image of the ideal future partnership system:

 What is your ideal vision of a partnership?

 What is the purpose of this partnership?

 What values support this partnership?

 What are the characteristics shared by people in the partnership?

The Ideal for Future Society

These questions returned to the ideal of the future society to support the image of the

ideal partnership system:

 What ideal society supports this partnership?

 What values do people identify in this ideal society?

 What emotional qualities do people show each other, if any?

 What spiritual qualities do people demonstrate, if any?

 How do people care for each other?

Environmental View

These questions described the environment of the partnership:

 What environment does this partnership need to support this ideal vision?

 What is the ideal state of the world from an economic, spiritual, and/or emotional


 Who helps to make this environment possible?

Rewind to Present Day

These questions asked about beginning the design now:

 How do we create the conditions for this ideal partnership to exist?

 How do we create the conditions for this ideal society to exist?

 Who can design it?

 What needs to change now for this design to be possible?

Systems Synthesis

The following two sections describe how I applied the dimensions of compassionate

communitas to the stories, photographs, and visions as my synthesis of this study. I synthesized

my reflective short stories and photographs with participants’ visions of ideal partnerships via

the dimensions from literature for compassionate communitas (Chapter 2):

 collective responding

 noticing suffering

 feelings of empathy

 action to alleviate suffering

 communicating concern

 sensecrafting meaning of the above (Dutton et al., 2014; Kanov et al., 2004);

 how people prepare through a transitional event or experience

 how people help each other through marginalized experience and

 how people transform their suffering into a personal or communal identity

(Fernandez, 1986; V. W. Turner, 1987).

This approach gave a systematic, and so doable, way to synthesize my stories and photographs

with participant visions via compassionate communitas. Put another way, the emergence

involved synthesizing the three data sources of stories, photographs, and conversations, through

the lens of compassionate communitas based on the definitions of the term. This approach

simplified the dimensions of the topic in a systematic and repeatable way.

Rationale for Storied Systems Design

This section justifies this methodology as well-suited for faith-based CSSPs. A storied

systems design interpreted by the dimensions of compassionate communitas provides a creative

way to envision and illumine the work of a local faith-based CSSP. Story, though mentioned by

Banathy (1996a), seems underutilized in idealized systems design. Idealized systems design

expresses a kaleidoscope due to the interdisciplinarity and history of the approach (Metcalf,

2003; Weisbord & Janoff, 2010). Practically, research lacks a way to examine the effectiveness

of delivering faith-based social services (Ferguson, Wu, Spruijt, & Dyrness, 2007). Quantitative

studies have supported the connection between religion and helping via religious behaviors, such

as congregational membership and attendance at services, which correlated with helping more

than did measures of subjective religiosity (Becker & Dhingra, 2001; Cnaan, Kasternakis, &

Wineburg, 1993; Musick & Wilson, 2008; Park & Smith, 2000; Regnerus, Smith, & Sikkink,

1998; Wuthnow, 2004). However, people also helped to defend against negative religious

stereotypes so that they could preserve a positive religious identity (Palasinski & Seol, 2015).

This finding echoes social identity theories that have long suggested that groups interact

toxically based on threat triggers and fears of differences over culture or worldviews, especially

amid resource constraints or reminders of mortality (Greenberg et al., 1986; Greenberg et al.,

1990; Solomon et al., 1991). These studies often used single-item measures or hypothetical lab-

based college settings, such as how important the respondents' religion mattered to them, which

oversimplified a multifaceted, deeply felt, and structural experience (see Becker & Dhingra,

2001; Burke, Martens, & Fauscher, 2010; Park & Smith, 2000; Regnerus et al., 1998; Wilson,

2000). Instead, researchers can utilize creative qualitative methods to explore the connections

between religiosity and helping, but such studies seem rare (Einolf, 2011; Rosko, 2010). A

storied idealized systems design of faith-based CSSPs moves toward that direction.

Instead of starting research with a problem, idealized systems design starts with ideals,

and then creates strategy based on those ideals. To do so, design needs purposeful and creative

action to build relationships with people and their environment (Jantsch, 1975). It matters to

select people who care about the visioning work. Design functions as integral to life and human

activity (Papanek, 1972) and transcends modern concerns that designers meet performance

characteristics for a problem (Luckman, 1984). Idealized systems design occurs in three phases:

discovery, design, and action (Christakis & Bausch, 2006). An idealized systems design marks

what can be better than what happens now (Metcalf, 2003). As with Rosko’s (2010)

performance impressionism, systems design paints the brush stroke to which designers add

details until new genesis begins the process again (Ackoff, 1981; Banathy, 1996a).

However, systems thinking still needs a systemic view of design situations (Glegg, 1971),

which needs approaches conducive to creative visioning of the future as a continuous process to

express solutions. A democratic search needs a more flexible approach than scientific,

professional, or humanities inquiries often allow (Banathy, 1991, 1996a). Design proceeds as a

continuum of thought and communication (Churchman, 1971) to consider how things ought to be

(Simon, 1969). How things ought to be focuses on the image of a future system (Mathur, 1978)

for a way to resolve conflict by guiding safe passage to a desirable future (Weisbord, 1992).

This safe passage resonates with how people engage a liminal rite of passage as they depart from

structures that ostracize them, and come together as a new community system.

The sectorial structure of CSSPs reacts to constraints in society with holistic ideals.

Transcending constraints needs an ideal so that people can integrate solutions to move towards

the future system (Banathy, 1996a). This logic sounds as V. W. Turner’s (1987) movement

toward wholeness and away from marginalization. Storied systems design can support liminal

experiences of people marginalized or supporting those disenfranchised, such as faith-based

CSSPs. Idealized systems design can also prevent crises of the future (Ackoff, Magidson, &

Addison, 2006). Stories can provide safe passage by sharing value with idealized systems design

for democratic contribution of each participant, and the requisites needed for successful design,

such as saliency, meaning, authenticity, autonomy, variety, and evolution of observations (see

Ashby, 1958; Boulding, 1966; Clemson, 1984; Christakis & Bausch, 2006; Dye & Conaway,

1999; Hester & Adams, 2014; Peirce, 1885; Stelter, 2014; Stelter & Law, 2010; Tsivacou, 1997;

Turrisi, 1997; Warfield, 1988, 1990). Faith-based CSSPs functions this way: the ideal moves

towards compassionate communitas as people suffer; whereas, the reality moves away from

compassionate communitas as the environment that inflicts the suffering.

This movement functions as liminal space beneath the story arc in-between reality and

ideal. Stories express liminal synthesis. Compassionate communitas as my ideal vision of my

experience values authenticity and learning. However, participants may converge or diverge

from this ideal for other possibilities. The environment may or may not support this ideal, and

here sprout possibilities for systems change. The movement becomes the epistemology of the

research design. This movement can seem challenging to explain. Intuition, story, vision, and

photography will visualize how the data sources expressed compassionate communitas. I

applied storied idealized systems design by synthesizing my stories, photographs, and visions via

the dimensions of compassionate communitas. The extent to which compassionate communitas

or other terminology expresses in synthesis will inform Chapters 4 and 5.


This chapter explained the methodology to synthesize my reflective short stories and

photographs from volunteering with a faith-based CSSP with conversations from participants

about their vision of the ideal of partnership of the future. I applied the lens of compassionate

communitas to synthesize the stories, photographs, and interviews in a creative and meaningful

way as I volunteered my storycrafting consulting with a faith-based CSSP. The data sources

emerged during doctoral study. Chapters 4-5 will share synthesis, conclusions, and reflections.


This chapter will synthesize the stories, photographs, and participant visions with

compassionate communitas. I applied storied systems design to paint the picture of an ideal

image of a partnership at a local level by synthesizing my reflective short stories and

photographs from when I volunteered with a local faith-based CSSP with participant visions of

the ideal partnership of the future through the lens of compassionate communitas. I wrote the

short stories in April 2016 and placed the photographs within the stories at that time (Appendix

D). I created the dimensions of compassionate communitas to synthesize the data sources in

January 2017. In Spring 2017, I interviewed participants with questions about the ideal vision of

the partnership of the future, the ideal environment to support this partnership of the future, and

what needs to change now to implement this vision (Appendix E). The participants did not see

the stories or photographs and the interview questions did not bias participants to compassionate

communitas because I wanted to hear their ideal vision in their own words (Appendix E).

This study offers a unique glimpse into how research emerged from my sense-crafting

process as I volunteered with a faith-based CSSP as I developed research foci doctoral study.

The participants held roles of board members for a local faith-based CSSP, and consisted of the

organization president, board director, a pastor, a regional leader of a para-church organization,

and an employee of a regional health organization. I photographed the images during her

volunteer experience, and wrote the reflective short stories after volunteering 2012-2016 with

this same local faith-based CSSP. Please see Appendices D and E for stories and photographs

and transcripts. This chapter integrated my reflective short stories and photographs with

participants’ visions of ideal partnerships by synthesizing compassionate communitas per the

dimensions of compassionate communitas articulated in Chapters 1 and 2 as

 collective responding,

 noticing suffering,

 feelings of empathy,

 action to alleviate suffering,

 communicating concern,

 sensecrafting of the above (Dutton et al., 2014; Kanov et al., 2004),

 transition,

 marginalized experience, and

 transform suffering to complex wholeness (Fernandez, 1986; V. W. Turner, 1987).

The following sections will synthesize the conversations, stories, and photographs with

compassionate communitas as defined above for those who support a local faith-based CSSP.

Systems Synthesis

The following sections synthesized the stories, photographs, and participant

conversations for each dimension of compassionate communitas to synthesize compassionate

communitas. The sections organized the data sources of this study by setting the stage with the

photographs, bringing in quotes from participant conversations, and examples from the stories

that support these ideal visions of participants. See Table 1 for themes from synthesis, which

also notes where I interpreted themes from each data source for some clarity.

Systems Synthesis: Collective Responding

How do the stories, photographs, and conversations express collective responding? I

interpreted themes for collective responding as companionship, relationship, hospitality, and

partnership. For instance, the photographs set the scene for collective responding by

symbolizing the me and we that contribute to our future story

Table 1

Compassionate Communitas Dimensions and Themes in the Synthesis

Dimension Theme Data Source (V, S, P)

Collective responding Companionship V, S
Relationship V, S
Hospitality V, S, P
Partnership V, S, P

Noticing suffering Need thriving V, S
Need supportive relationships V, S
Need resources V, S, P
Need shared values V, S
Need love and stability V, S
Need as a situational spectrum V, S, P

Empathy Give self fully to the work V, S
Boundaries V, S, P
Emotions as a spectrum (vs. good or V, S
Emotions prove heart in engagement V, S
Imagining the suffering of others V, S, P

Action to alleviate Community leadership V, S, P
suffering Local partnering V, S, P
Funding V, S
Cross-sector collaboration V, S, P
Healthy regional environments V, S, P
Shared space to come together V, S, P
Sharing stories V, S
Affectionate gestures V, S, P
Give/receive gifts V, S, P
Events/Rituals V, S, P
Publicity/Celebration of successes V, S, P

Communicating Speak truth in love V, S
concern Storycrafting V, S, P
Humility to listen V
Communicate to understand V, S, P
Prayer to discern V, S
Heed vocational call V, S, P
Trust in partners V, S, P
Include sufferers in conversations V, S

Sensecrafting Love via relationship with God and V, S
each other
Spirituality of embodied beings V, S
Outside traditional walls V, S, P
Nature S, P
Storycrafting V, S, P

Transitional From me to we V, S
experience Just start V, S
Local action V, S, P
Leaders who listen V
Leaders who visualize the vision V, S, P
Value partnering V, S, P
Respect sacrifice of liberty V
Empower sufferers V, S, P

Marginalized Include sufferers in conversations V, S
experience Love/affection V, S
Accept others’ vulnerability V, S, P
Affirm giftedness V, S, P
Share stories V, S, P
Restore hope with spirituality/faith V, S, P

Transforming to From fear and shame to love in action V, S
complex wholeness Do the work with lightness and joy V, S, P
Curiosity about civic possibilities V, P
Engage youth V
Start with me V, S, P
Give/receive gifts V, S, P
Friendship with shared successes V, S
Safe relationship how we heal V, S
Relief from safe passage V, S
Public celebration of successes V, S, P

Note. V, S, and P refer to visions, stories, or photographs to indicate the source

as written in printed and cursive ink by a human hand (Figure 1) and the Last Supper quilt

depicting Jesus interacting with his disciples in the upper room (Figure 2). Two of three of these

photographs did not show collective responding of people because they do not show people’s

faces in focus save Jesus interacting with the disciples in the Last Supper quilt (Figure 2). Even

here, the collective responding arrived by artful and iconic framing passed down through

tradition, Scriptural account, and a craft that someone handmade. The photograph of the ribbon

cutting ceremony for the day center at City Hall showed a crowd of people blurred in the

background on the patio under the blue tent framed by pink flowers (Figure 3).

Figure 1. Leadership workshops: Story.

Figure 2. Fundraising gala: The Last Supper quilt.

Figure 3. First celebration of the day center at City Hall.

I interpreted the collective responding dimension of compassionate communitas from the

conversations in a few ways. All participants used metaphors of hospitality and faith, which

describe a type of collective responding. For example, Participant 1 spoke of a companionship

model to collective responding:

This is not a place where we do to others in a way to keep our power, but that we
understand that we're safe when we let those that need something tell us what it is they
need, and then that we come alongside them to give it, so it's a companionship model
where we're honoring each other.

This companionship model needs to include those affected by decisions of the partnership, "The

work has to really belong to the group, and not to one person. It really takes collaborators and

just people who are radically open to each other" (Participant 1). Participant 3 also raised

relationship to collectively respond:

Relationships that involve an appropriate level of intimacy that allows for meeting of the
heart as well as of the mind, but in ways that there's freedom for people to be able to act
and to behave according to who they are, according to the values that they hold and so
that they're not constrained in a violent way, I guess, or a forceful way by someone
else....It's having a shared or at least compatible set of reasons for being, and probably in
terms of that shared partnership, I'm thinking about the image within Corinthians, for
example, Paul's idea of the body and it's many different parts and how each part has a
different function.

Participant 4 also suggested a relationship model to collective responding:

What we would say the solution was never resources although those are definitely needed
but the solution is healthy relationships because it's often unhealthy relating that causes
these problems and so it's healthy relating that brings us into the solution to these

Each participant used the metaphor of table or theme for hospitality for people to relate

together for collective responding in the ideal partnership. The purpose of this partnering

involved reaching Maslow's (1943, 1954) hierarchy of needs and holism, or the goal of thriving

(Participants 2, 3, & 4). Maslow's (1943, 1954) hierarchy of needs goes as physiological, safety,

love/belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. People need to eat, drink, have access to basic

sanitation and shelter to rest and stay relatively sane and healthy. People need a safe

environment without abuse or violence to not need an adrenal response to survive, and so leave

room to learn, play, grow, and move. People starve literally and figuratively without basic needs

and safety, and education seems out of reach. As Participant 2 said:

there are these higher up capabilities that people aspire to as you do better in the world,
that help you be much more actualized, and you're fully self-actualized at the top of the
pyramid. Those are people who are achieving great things in the world, who are artists,
and scientists, and recognized, and fully self-actualized because they're doing more than
just sustaining themselves. In an ideal partnership, people come together with this, in
seeking to self-actualize, and offer their gifts to help others self-actualize.

Participant 3 mentioned a devaluation of certain types of work over others that prevents a

thriving society: "There are lots of really important things that are undervalued from an

economic perspective, and so that there would be a little bit of a rebalancing." For example, the

workshop story (Appendix D) expressed an awkward tension between professional and volunteer

experience because of assumptions that professional life seemed incompatible with faith-based

compassionate communitas due to the for-profit, or self-interest, involved. The assumptions to

split roles seems a way to compartmentalize, or a symptom of a dysfunctional environment that

makes synthesis harder than it needs to be. I wrote, "My job was to…help them to preserve their

organizational core values and identity in line with their official goals and personal motivation,

which for them often connected to their faith and social justice." The workshop story (Appendix

D) suggests how the faith-based CSSP provided hospitality to help me to thrive. This story also

illustrated how the hosting environment could support the work that faith-based CSSPs do.

Distinct from other participants, Participant 4 offered practical and modern ways to

organize a collective response. Participant 4 emphasized shared collaboration for holistic

solutions as the effort and goal for collectively responding to suffering. Participant 4 described

the purpose of the ideal partnership as a collaborative effort for holistic solutions to a shared

problem. For instance, the ribbon cutting ceremony story showed collective responding as

people coming cross-sector together to create a service for women and children, and as the

director helping me by offering a conversation about my goals.

Systems Synthesis: Noticing Suffering

How do the stories, photographs, and conversations express noticing suffering? The

photographs set the scene for noticing suffering by the imperative to "Eat" sign in red set on a

white wall at the food distribution (Figure 4). The plainness of this image begged hunger pangs,

and almost seems upsetting if cross-referencing the story for the 42 seniors who came needing

access to food. Yet, the ironic imperative to "Eat" reminded me to survive over the hopelessness

of hunger that the stark plainness of the image begat.

Figure 4. Food distribution: Sign in waiting room.

The photographs did not show noticing suffering without the context of the story,

participant visions, or Chapter 1. Photographs need captions or context and do not represent

reality contrary to the popular adage of a picture’s worth. Photographs often reframe or

recontextualize reality (Phelan, 1993). For example, a reader may not know the paradoxical

implications of the sign because the image does not show hungry people (Figure 4), and the

many nature images do not show suffering per se or as expected for people on the margins. The

photographs offer another way to visualize a faith-based CSSP not as a safety net, to use a

common term, but as tied to and growing around the stark impositions of suffering.

I interpreted the noticing suffering dimension of compassionate communitas from the

conversations in a few ways. The conversations demonstrated noticing suffering because

participants acknowledged that partnerships exist to triage such suffering in society. Participants

described suffering as an economic and cultural value for spending, consuming, and production

that excluded supporting human and social services and the thriving and dignity of all people.

Participants each pointed out that "the partnership is there to try and rectify things that are wrong

with society, but [need] space for that kind of work to happen" (Participant 1). Participant 4 put

bluntly concerns as, "Your [the mayor of a large metropolitan city] solution has not kept them off

the street." Participant 2 said that the ideal partnership finds a way to "Not just care for people's

basic needs, or help people to independence, but help people thrive." Participant 5 noticed

suffering as a lack of communal identity of shared values as inflicting fear and flux:

I think what's at war right now is that values, the values I think values being it's not
political parties. It's not even who's president. It's what are the values that you believe
this nation or this society should live by. There are opposing views now as to what those
values are which is very core to who... If those values are challenged or are no longer
seen as valid, then some people's world is shook to the core. I think that's why our nation
is in a bit of a flux, and I think any community, any society who's questioning the very
heart of their humanity, what are our values, how do we live with one another and for
each other, when that's being challenged, I think it's very scary.

Mostly, participants noticed suffering as a lack of supportive relationships and

marginalization or being treated as though a person doesn’t exist, as inflicting suffering.

Participant 2 remarked, "You can be independent, but people are still hurting, in pain, and in

suffering. The ideal is not to be in loneliness, pain, abuse, or suffering." This reality of suffering

happens even as people have their basic needs or independence met. For instance, the food

distribution story illustrated noticing suffering of a friend and the older residents, and by

considering their perspective and what the food line and my volunteering and education meant to

them, and myself, in terms of access to their basic human needs for survival.

All participants addressed how partnerships and society could better provide a healing

instead of wounded response. For instance, the food distribution story showed noticing suffering

as the disparity of age and access to food contrasted to my volunteering and means to afford

doctoral education. Noticing suffering seemed a tuning fork for participants to respond with a

healing instead of wounded response for redressing human and social service needs. For

example, Participant 3 spoke of the need for safe companionship that respects people’s

boundaries, Participant 5 mentioned concerns about the unsettling fears that people can

experience, or being "shook to the core," when society lacks a common value system to motivate

people’s partnering and collaboration. Participants 1 and 2 said that partnerships exist because

of the difficulties and disparities that reduce people’s quality of life. Sectors including

government need to "make space" for conversations about the suffering that exists because

"everyone needs to feel safe and whole, protected, like they have a place" (Participant 1), where,

"There's a kind of a duality that is there between the non-profit world which is what I work in

and the for-profit world, so some trust that if we can enter into those competitions together we'll

get where we need to go (Participant 1)." Partnerships remind society to notice suffering.

Systems Synthesis: Feelings of Empathy

How do the stories, photographs, and conversations express feelings of empathy? The

photographs set the scene for feelings of empathy by cultural use of flowers to express sentiment

for a celebratory ritual, such as the ribbon cutting and ordination ceremonies (Figures 6-7).

Figure 1. Leadership workshops: Story.

Figure 5. Food distribution: A volunteer hands a resident produce.

Figure 6. Bouquet at celebration of the day center.

Figure 7. Ordination: Reception table in foyer.

I interpreted the empathy dimension of compassionate communitas from the conversations as

showing people’s heart in their efforts. Participants described a spectrum of emotions in

responding to suffering and redressing wounds in society. Participant 5 described emotional

qualities as values based on humanity, and emphasized vulnerability. For instance, the Easter

sunrise story (Appendix D) expressed someone who acted on empathy as I volunteered:

I've since stopped wondering if such behavior is professional. It was a holiday, after all,
and not a board meeting. A community celebration, and one about an empty tomb. An
empty tomb starts as a tomb. You can't rejoice in the celebration and service of the
empty tomb without suffering the messy garbage that went before it.

We need both experiences for compassionate community.
Silly, shelter was not a house.
It was a hug at the beach.

Important to empathy conversations involve boundaries to avoid a wounded response

(Participants 2 & 4). Significantly, Participant 4 described "seeing through emotion," or proving

"that a person's heart is in the game." Emotions show commitment toward or away the health of

each other. Participants 1 and 2 named empathy for people to understand the seriousness of the

work, and the need for society to evolve with "a willingness to really give yourself to it.

Empathy, and then empathy" (Participant 1). Participant 5 mentioned a need for emotion to

motivate "peacemakers, but in a stronger definition" because they allow themselves to feel

agitated or even angry at the injustice in the world, and then act to change until they experience

"Joy when things work out" (Participants 1 & 5).

Participant 5 relied on faith to describe the essence of love as modeled by Jesus, and the

"strongest spiritual essence and quality" with and for which people connect. Participant 1

described the emotional qualities that people show each other in this ideal future society that

supports ideal partnerships as friendship, an ability to laugh and cry together, or relate and

empathize, anger at injustice, "fear that things are bad and need to be fixed," and joy when things

work out from a shared sense of accomplishment. This companionship model for everyday

feeling goes beyond the imagining suggested by Nussbaum (1996) as indicating empathy. For

example, the Easter sunrise story’s hug at the beach seemed a perfect way to experience an

empathetic response for my yearning for a family of faith and future. This story suggested a

vulnerability of yearning, of being alone in a tomb of sorts, of missing a family experience of my

own, of wanting to be part of a spiritual family. For example, the stories expressed empathy as a

hug, and then the brief conversation with other women about family.

Participant 2 described empathy as core to building a civic society by putting "people in

other people's shoes" and encouraging youth to feel concerned about the thriving of others.

Participant 4's insight for emotions as a capacity to engage to prove the quality of commitment

suggests the need to learn how to respond to feelings to engage holistic solutions. For instance,

the food distribution story preserved empathy for each participant including myself because the

magnitude of suffering needs "many kinds of people" to make community. The empathy reached

out to a friend after noticing her suffering and loneliness comforted me in the end to the

difficulties experienced as disconnect during post-graduate study, and witnessed in the residents.

The empathy also included the residents’ spectrum of emotions demonstrated that day from the

lady’s upsettness over the choice of food, to another lady’s kind words about her mom and her

cheerfulness, to the two men on wheelchairs sense of humor. This story humanized residents by

showing their spectrum of response to their situation; otherwise, the story would have

steamrolled them with my ruminations and worry over privilege. As Runyan (1984) noted, a

compelling narrative needs to include empathy perhaps to humanize participants. Ideal

partnerships need to discern and respond to a spectrum of emotion to humanize people.

Systems Synthesis: Action to Alleviate Suffering

How do the stories, photographs, and conversations express action to alleviate suffering?

The photographs set the scene for action to alleviate suffering by almost cheerful "can do"

affirmations, such as the "I can do all things through Christ" hand painted poster at a monthly

meeting (Figure 8) and selected to visualize the Leadership workshops story, the "Big News!"

poster at the welcome table at the gala (Figure 10), and the Bible and glasses image of the

Scripture about overcoming the world through faith (1 John 5:4; Figure 11). Nature pitched in

with the delightful action of the bumblebee, small and blending in, but launching from a lavender

after a regional church event with partners (Figure 9). The helping hands of Figures 1 and 5

illustrated the work of the faith-based CSSP as basic needs for food and vocation.

The images of nature showed a surprising and unexpected result that framed my

experience with the faith-based CSSP in an ecosystem that needs synthesis of various lessons

learned by observing nature, such as adaptation, sharing space, surviving, growing, and

reproduction down to plants and fauna. These images suggest a slower pace than the speed of

hurry up to fix a social problem may allow. These images, such as the flow and reflection from

water, and the rising and setting sun, within the context of the other data sources, suggest a

graceful rhythm unfettered, though affected by, the chaos and pain that suffering can inflict. The

images suggest another way to portray and understand ideal partnering as interconnected with

the rhythm and flow of natural systems. These interpretations need the context of other data

sources, and yet also resonate with liminal themes for fluid boundaries and anti-structure, or the

incapacity of any institution to fully hold the holy (Lane, 1986). This incapacity means that

faith-based CSSP provide an imperfect yet value-driving response to an inhospitable

environment. The themes for coming to the table suggest an invitation and a slower pace of

getting to know each other’s gifts and offerings along with the needs. The imagery suggests a

softer approach to being present in the work that faith-based CSSPs do. These images, as framed

by me, could differ from how another photographer may experience partnering. Yet, they add

value to this study to remind us that human and social needs themselves come from nature.

Figure 5. Food distribution: A volunteer hands a resident produce.

Figure 8. Leadership workshops: Hand painted poster at partner church.

Figure 9. Bee lifts off from lavender at a regional church event with partners.

Figure 10. Fundraising gala: Welcome table.

Figure 11. Bible with glasses.

I interpreted the action to alleviate suffering dimension of compassionate communitas

from the conversations as a collective responding. Participants 1 to 3 described action as giving

and receiving and that we already have the yearning, gift, or resources to meet a need. These

participants emphasized that we have "enough" to alleviate suffering. Participant 2 said, "There

will always be a way for people to contribute their gifts." Participants spoke of individuals

coming together to give and receive gifts: "this goes back to offering your gifts, bringing your

gifts to the table, and respecting and encouraging, and welcoming the gifts of others. That's from

all the productive elements in society, education, work." (Participant 2)

Participants drew on their faith to justify action to alleviate suffering. Participant 4

named charisms (Gal. 5:22-23) as people having differing beliefs within the Christian faith that

contribute to sharing gifts for a "kingdom" purpose and that these charisms connect to roles

needing integrity for proper action. Participant 4 gave a faith-based example of the Genesis story

for how God assigns spiritual value to meaningful work, and so each sector can assign value to

its focus, such as business assigning value to the world by paying people or producing a product,

which for Participant Four meant not defining profit as ends instead of means. The leadership

workshop, day in the life, and food distribution stories hint at this tension between synthesizing

faith and vocation. Participants’ descriptions sounded familiar to vocational living in the classic

sense (see 1 Tim. 4:14-16; Parker, 2000), not in modern reduction to go out there into the real

world and get a job to pay bills (only) and have your own house in order (only).

With that hospitality, Participant 3 included "practices that are nurturing, that teach and

learn. Sharing of events and rituals." This publicity encouraged others to act to alleviate

suffering via partnering (Participant 5). This action needed forward movement to succeed:

"there needs to be an environment of moving forward and progressing. There has to be a sense

that the partnership is doing something" (Participant 4). Participant 4 described this forward

movement as ascribing value to those devalued by society.

Participants 3 and 4 offered a philosophical or situational way to approach action.

Participants 2 and 3 answered the question of who can design this ideal society simply as "Only

us." Participants 1 and 5 described who helps to make the ideal environment possible as all the

people, including leaders who can with authenticity and boldness name the vision, pursue it with

other people support, champion the vision at a local level, and make the partnering a socially

accepted convention by celebrating the successes so that others can follow.

Distinct from other participants, Participant 3 described inaction or that the conditions

that people need for this ideal partnership to exist as, "We don't." We don't "because the reality

has not been," yet humans consistently "give ourselves" to it. Participant 3 differentiated

between "strive" and give supporting the discourse of giving and receiving, instead of forcing,

change as described by Participants 1, 2, and 4. This giving presence means showing up with

oneself and others amid suffering. For instance, the director’s ordination story illustrated action

to alleviate suffering via the example of the director’s passage, which took eight years, and my

attendance, amid my vocational process still ongoing. The collective action also showed up as

only one seat left in the sanctuary because many others attended to support the minister, and

most of all, the usher who kindly led me to that last seat.

The companionship model for partnering means acting in each person’s role and showing

up to support one another. Scaling that action means people needing to be proximally located

near each other in a county or region so that they can offer gifts and receive the gifts of others,

that the region needs economic capacity to support the institutions so that the region can thrive

(Participant 2). Participant 4 cautioned that rules and regulations will not change peoples' hearts,

but that "people's hearts change when they see love in action." The action to alleviate suffering

involved walking with each other to lighten the load that people carry.

Systems Synthesis: Communicating Concern

How do the stories, photographs, and conversations express communicating concern?

The photographs set the scene for communicating concern by the black and white imperative to

"speak" enlarged and in focus through a clear marble with the caption for dialogue from a unity

service (Figure 12), and the Rev. Martin Luther King quote to crowd out evil tacked to a cork

bulletin board (Figure 13). These black and white images with their captions implied concerns

over a lack of dialogue with each other, and a call to action to speak up for social justice.

Figure 12. Dialogue: Unity service at partner church.

Figure 13. Food distribution: Quote pinned on bulletin board.

The conversations expressed the communicating concern dimension for compassionate

communitas. Participant 1 said that "we keep asking" for the conditions to create ideal

partnerships and society. All participants shared themes for listening or humility to listen to

partners and those who suffer or experience marginalization. We need a "willingness to

remember that we don't know everything, that there's always more to learn" (Participant 1):

This learning comes from stories about being human: Compassion. I understand that our
ability to feel for each other sets at the core of being human, and so when you have a
partnership that emerges out of that and keeps it at the center of it, and tells stories about
it and honors it, doesn't manipulate from it but honors it, then people will identify it. I
just think that that's absolutely core that we feel together, and that means that there's a
huge responsibility because people can be manipulated. That's why religion can
manipulate so easily because it speaks from that space. (Participant 1)

All participants brought up spirituality or faith to support ideal communication. Participant 4

added prayer to communicate concern so that people decide what to do, "I think prayer is a big

deal because that's how we communicate with God, that's how we help discern." Participant 4

explained love, where partners need to speak the truth in love "a big deal" because

sometimes people can point out a problem but point it out in such a way that is shaming
or judgmental or talking down to someone. If you say the truth in love, I think it can
resonate with people like, ‘You're right, this is a problem,’ instead of feeling terrible.

Participant 5 defined love as accepting each other's "innate potential to fulfill the mission

of everyone's divine essence," or that God has sent people to earth for a mission or call.

Answering the call means listening to the echo of what love calls healthy thriving for all. This

"call" or vocation means that people offer gifts to support each other being made in God’s image

to build up the coming kingdom similar to what Participant 5 described.

Participant 2 described how we create the conditions for this ideal society to exist through

the listening civic leaders. Participant 2 described how people need to ask questions for thriving

for all. Participants 2 and 5 said that the we need to include people in their solutions. For

instance, the Ribbon cutting ceremony story shared about how the director helped me by simply

asking a question, "How can I help you?" The "how can I help you" continued throughout the

story to the end as a question that "alone changed me, and inspired me to be a better person with

how I help others." This inspiration for "What can I/We do to help You?" becomes the

"provocative question" to ask of ourselves and each other. Participant 3 added that we need a

readiness to accept unexpected and unwelcomed answers, to listen and engage amidst change or

turmoil, humility, and shared ownership, each of which can contribute to our ability to adapt to

what we learn to scale that empathetic communication to society.

Systems Synthesis: Sensecrafting

How do the stories, photographs, and conversations express sensecrafting? The

photographs set the scene for sensecrafting by the ecology of nature as a hosting environment for

the events of faith-based CSSPs. These photographs framed alternative views of reality, such as

the reflection of sky in the rain puddle noticeable by the bubbled grain of the concrete (Figure

14), the white clouds in the blue-black water that almost appeared as an oil spill if the reflection

of sky were absent (Figure 15), and the black and white upside-down bridge reflected in the

water (Figure 16). These images supported the environment of the Easter sunrise story and gave

context by showing the environment as a nest for faith-based CSSPs.

They also, with the stories, suggested that sensecrafting occurred at this event through

framing and reflection, which expresses how the research unfolded as an emergent process. The

photographs did not show sensecrafting because they do not show humans interacting with

themselves or others or necessarily in a human-to-human speech act normalized in culture.

However, the strength of these images lies in their abstractness, especially because these images

unexpectedly suggest a liminal experience of faith-based CSSPs framed by fluid and organic

boundaries in-between the structures built and fashioned by people. Plus, these photographs

invited another way to sensecraft a process of suffering: the seasons of nature.

Figure 14. Reflection of sky in puddle after a sunrise service.

Figure 15. Reflection of sky in lake after a sunrise service.

Figure 16. Reflection of bridge inverted in lake after sunrise service.

One possible explanation for this unexpected result involves the nature of photographs.

Photographs do not represent, but frame and reframe, reality (Phelan, 1993; Rosko, 2010).

These photographs framed an ecosystem of nature as a limen to sensecraft volunteering. The

images suggest another way to portray and understand ideal partnering as interconnected with

the rhythm and flow of natural systems. These interpretations need the context of other data

sources, and yet also resonate with liminal themes for fluid boundaries and anti-structure or the

incapacity of any institution to fully hold the holy (Lane, 1986). This incapacity means that

faith-based CSSP provide an imperfect yet value-driving response to an inhospitable

environment. The themes for coming to the table suggest an invitation and a slower pace of

getting to know each other’s gifts and offerings along with the needs. The imagery suggests a

softer approach to being present in the work that faith-based CSSPs do. These images, as framed

by me, could differ from how another photographer may experience partnering. Yet, they add

value to this study to remind us that human and social needs themselves come from nature.

I interpreted the spirituality dimension of compassionate communitas from the

conversations as all participants relied on their faith or spirituality to sensecraft this process of

ideal partnering and so included embodied spirituality in their frame of knowing (see Carey,

1999). Participant 3 brought in spirituality and relationship to sensecraft mystery:

In terms of the purpose, it's about the fullness of health and life within this biome. That's
fullness of life, and then the other part of that is faith, which means that we're not just
embodied creatures but we're embodied beings, we're spirited beings, too. That's about
being wired, but being more than wired for relationship and for wonder and for, I think, a
deep, deep connection to peer relationships, the humans to relationships within this
biologically diverse existence, but also to this other ness, to this holiness, to this mystery
that we know and don't know at the same time.

Participant 5 described sensecrafting as driven by the divine, "I believe God has put that in all of

us and so I say it's kingdom-minded. It's outside of earthly limitations. You're driven by

something bigger than yourself" and coming together with other such individuals "permeating

outside of traditional walls and influencing, impacting, others that would not classify themselves

as religious and maybe even faith-based, but they are impacted by it" (Participant 5). Participant

1 described spiritual qualities as trust in something bigger than an individual that each person

belongs to and knowing that people want good and this bigger something beyond themselves.

Participant 1 also described spiritual qualities as people's ability to self-reflect and change, such

as through confession and repentance, but this self-work can occur in other ways, such as prayer

or a hope. Participant 4 described sensecrafting as belief in God, or "Someone out there can

come in here and help us," which for Participant 4 needs spiritual practices for discernment, such

as praying, relying on many counselors, reading scripture, and a willingness to seek out non-

obvious answers through God's guidance. This divine help can yield rising hope (Participant 4).

Participants alluded to hope as a yearning for something better as the catalyst for

sensecrafting, or spiritual seeking for holistic solutions (Participant 4). The yearnings hint at a

hope that faith-based CSSPs can address. Participant 3 described purpose as a "big existential

question," and accepting mystery with a "sense of wonderment." The stories brought down these

visions from a "big existential question" to a practical level. For instance, the fundraising gala

story (Appendix D) used humor and levity to convey concerns. The gala story expressed a

seeking for something better than profit-based solutions to human and social suffering. The

Easter sunrise, food distribution, and ordination stories expressed a yearning for a family of faith

and future, for friendship and companionship, and for relief from the rites of passage through

school. The day in the life story expressed a yearning for hope and thriving.

Participants suggested the need for freedom to practice faith so that people’s "dash of

life" impacts society (Participant 5), where spirituality "should be welcomed and encouraged"

(Participant 2). For Participant 5, sensecrafting meant connecting identity to the divine and to

shared age-old values, which sounds similar to a process of personae and communitas.

Participant 1 offered storycrafting to make sensecrafting accessible and honest:

Not telling them everything's gonna be okay because it won't, sometimes you offer love
and you get hurt, but reminding them about why it's worth it, and what they stand to gain
which is love...reminding them kind of those old stories, things that we learn about why

The sensecrafting of all participants relied on spirituality or faith to grapple with the mystery of a

life of meaning and fullness.

Systems Synthesis: Transition

How do the stories, photographs, and conversations express ritual and rites of passage via

transitional experience? The photographs set the scene with transitional events in nature: the

bright and glory of Easter sunrise over the trees (Figure 17), the serene sunset over the spansive

lake (Figure 18), and the path protected by young green trees and brush invites curiosity and

calm to discover what beckons around the bend (Figure 19).

Figure 17. Easter sunrise service over trees.

Figure 18. Sunset over lake where held sunrise service.

Figure 19. Last meeting of the year: Path at a partner church.

I interpreted the transitional dimension of compassionate communitas from the

conversations as a key challenge for participants, which differed from other dimensions.

Participants answered the transitional questions or how to rewind to present day and implement

the visions with some difficulty, save the practical replies of Participants 1, 4, and 5 to

collaborate for action and values for holistic solutions to the local level. The challenge involved

how to bring a big vision, what Participant 2 called "big existential questions," down to everyday

life. For instance, Participant 3 described values that support this ideal partnership as a sense of

sacredness for all beings with a fundamental right to life. Participant 4 described how people can

create the conditions for this ideal society to exist as publicly celebrating healthy and good

successes to encourage others to join in and accelerate the work by celebrating the wins and

telling the story of the wins, to use faith-based terms again, "bearing witness to what God has

done." Participant 4 offered an agricultural metaphor of a kingdom of God as seeds planted to

bear fruit over time as Jesus' sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7). Participant 5 said that people

need to shine light to see the good that happens when partnering to repeat the good and come

alongside other "kingdom-minded" people to propel good forward.

Participant 4 described this process as Mother Teresa who inspired compassion.

Participant 5 named compassion as one way to empower people through transition: "I think the

value that together we can do more and the values of commonality, compassion, justice, love, all

of those wonderful terms in community is happening and needs to be encouraged and

empowered." Participants described processes that sounded as transitioning from identities of

personae to communitas. For example, Participant 5, connecting over shared values starts the

transition. However, to share the transition, we also need to

celebrate more when we are doing community well, when we're doing partnerships well.
We need to celebrate that more than what's not going well. I think the more we shed light

on it, the more people see it, I think the more people will be drawn to it and want to
emulate it. (Participant 5)

Participants’ mentions of love, relationship, and companionship promoted connection as

the way to transition. Participant 5 described that what needs to change now involves returning

to the stabilizing influence of people's shared and basic common values of being humans

"desperately desiring divine connection" to connect with each other." Participants 1, 3, and 5

described transitioning to ideal partnership in terms of self-actualization, but with faith-based

language. Participant 5 used another metaphor of nature, or unearthing the "root" of the best

values. This metaphor overlaps with the earth, agriculture, and connects to healthy survival

because of the growth and nourishment that nature and growing in season can provide.

Participant 5 contrasted this root by describing what can happen when people feel uprooted from

their strong sense of their divine and human identity. For instance, the day in the life story

illustrated transitional experience by philosophizing the cycle of life as the story arc of time, or

time as a story arc, to reframe the "paper-like shell a person" of faith in daily life.

All participants again employed the metaphor of a table for hospitality. For instance, the

stories illustrated transition from internal disconnect to reconnection with faith of my past and

future, and hope for a spiritual family and family of my own. The transition involved validating

the personae with the communitas or that the vocation I offered served as a ministry that came

from the healing process of unifying all that life offered as relayed in the Easter sunrise story:

"We live, and not force, that life to serve from the inside to the outside." The leadership

workshop story showed transitional experience of compassionate communitas as my awareness

of the value of her vocational contribution. The Easter sunrise service story expressed

transitional experience of compassionate communitas as my yearning for a spiritual and future

family. The professional transition involved the workshops and the rites of passage as I sought

to integrate my academic and professional skillsets to serve in ministry, but with renewed

intention fueled by an affirmation that my joy remained, and that I was loved and belonged.

To bring it home, Participant 1 reiterated that we just start "because the gap between here

and there as huge" and that "it's a spiritual practice of a vision that of something bigger and

better, but we can start at the local level…here and now." Participant 1 said that "We paint the

picture of what we want, remind people that they exist, and these things that we need are already

there" by "reminding people of the old stories that teach us...why it's important to love... and that

it's worth it" (Participant 1). The photographs painted a picture of being involved outside of

church interacting with nature, human hands, and symbols. The director’s ordination story

illustrated transition by the imagery of an oval of chairs and elements of the ritual of ordination

to symbolize the rite of passage that the director went through to become a minister. The

ordination story implied an ongoing transition of church experience as a child stuck in the

baptismal tank, which as a rectangle contrasted the oval of chairs. The transition of geometry

invoked feelings of strangeness of being stuck in a baptismal tank as a child, yet invited and

choosing a seat on the periphery of an oval to a newfound family at the event of a faith-based

CSSP. This transition evoked a sense of movement and change in visualizing families of faith.

The vision becomes a picture, and as Participant 5 described, the public celebration of the

director’s success inspired the way. The stories and photographs share local action to celebrate

and publicize the success of localizing large visions into everyday life.

Systems Synthesis: Marginalized Experience

How do the stories, photographs, and conversations express ritual and rites of passage via

helping through marginalized experience? The photographs set the scene for marginalized

experience by an abstract framing of separation of light, structure, and icons of faith.

Photographs sketched this line in-between the focused foreground and blurred background: the

open door with blurred sunlight gleaming through in the background and the cross and vine in

focus in the foreground (Figure 20), and the Jesus mural blurred in the background with the

candlelight in focus in the foreground (Figure 21). The grainy and black and white quality of

Figure 20 added to the invitation to welcome transition from icon and structure inside in

darkness to walk through the ajar door that beckons to come outside to soak in the sun.

The colors of Figure 21 moved the eye from the clearly lit candle to the tangible materials

with linear shapes, the pile of papers spread out as a fan, the shelf, and the cans lined up and

spaced apart on the shelf, to the blurred painting of Jesus in the background. The reality of

separation in this photograph seemed more comforting with the colors, yet awkward with the

array of modern items cluttering the scene. The work of the faith-based CSSP involved tidying

messes, triaging wounds of society, not filling gaps, but putting pieces of a puzzle together

gathered around tabletops, juxtaposed amid fluid boundaries of spiritual ideals to live out Jesus

with how people care for others when doing the work of love.

Figure 20. Cross and vine via sunlit doorway at partner church.

Figure 21. Candle with painting at a partner church for a meeting on hunger.

The photographs did not show marginalized experience because they did not show

humans explicitly, obviously, or directly going through a marginalized experience in the

moment. This exclusion, while honoring photographic ethics of a need for model release at the

time of capture, arguably, interfered with the research by not editorializing the marginalized

experience. The marginalization as suggested leaves room for interpretation. By now a reader

might want to see editorial photography that included more human interaction of the grit and

pain that marginalized experience can bring. This, too, beckoned ethical consideration if the

photographs failed to depict the marginalized instead of beautify an experience of suffering. Yet

Participants 1 and 3 named beauty, and Participants 1 and 2 the arts, to comfort us out of

marginalized experience. I opted not to appear to take advantage of those suffering, and to err on

the safe side to protect identity. This choice allowed for an aesthetic of beauty and an abstract

iconic mess to convey marginalization. However, either choice engenders tension for

beautifying or identifying suffering, and so merited careful consideration.

I interpreted the marginalized experience dimension of compassionate communitas from

the conversations with themes for empowering those who suffer by including them at the table.

Participants mentioned how to cope and succeed with supporting others' marginalized experience

by balancing the weight of the work with lightness and love. The stories and photographs

supported this theme of a spectrum of light and love. As Participant 1 said:

Compassion, love, justice, justice not equity. Justice isn't always equal. Some people
need more of a help. Better quality in that everyone is treated with the same level of
dignity and worth. Faith, a lightness that good will have out, and I think that's faith…
Humor, not taking ourselves so seriously... [that] good will have its way always no matter
how long it takes, it will have its way.

For Participants 3 and 4, the economics needs to better support those marginalized as a way to

include them at the table, or suffering lack of basic needs and love:

There are lots of really important things that are undervalued from an economic
perspective, and so that there would be a little bit of a rebalancing. One of the things that
I've seen a lot is the way that we pass on either an emotional poverty or an emotional
abundance from one generation to the next, and so to me there's that sense of willing to
one another and to the succeeding generations, both in abundance. (Participant 4)

Participant 1 described the purpose of the ideal partnership as relieving individual and local

suffering and changing the system so that it no longer inflicts suffering on others. Participants 2

and 4 focused on a spectrum of need as how to situationally triage suffering of marginalization

instead of all-or-nothing thinking or unilateral solutions. Participant 4 said this ideal state of the

world, then, includes and responds to those people who need extra special care and attention to

remind individuals in the community that they also value. By this logic, devaluing those

marginalized, or overlooked, devalues everyone.

Participants emphasized healthy and safe relating as how and why to engage those

suffering marginalization. Participants’ ongoing mention of a companionship or relational model

of partnering counterpointed concerns about norms because rules or laws can’t govern people’s

hearts (Participants 4 & 5). Participant 5 promoted a companionship model, or a coaching

model, of "coming alongside" to encourage empowerment by guiding community in decisions

about what can improve their situation, but not to control or dictate what that community should

need, value, or how they should spend their resources. For instance, the food distribution story

illustrated marginalized experience of compassionate communitas by my contrasting the validity

of my other roles of academic student and consulting professional to basic needs because of an

environment that split those efforts instead of integrated them. This splitting marginalized me

from the goodwill efforts and even cheerfulness of the Spring day and residents because of a

seeming pervasive guilt and unworthiness to serve because of privilege. This splitting seemed a

distraction from the real-time events at hand of those marginalized by society because of their

age, ethnicity, and lack of access to nutritious food. The food distribution story expressed

friendship, and cheerfulness, and brought a spectrum of emotions and relationship that began as

an attempt to feed hungry seniors as the need. The details and differences of marginalization

mattered less, and the need for connection more, because we can only control so much.

Throughout, faith-based beliefs contributed to participants’ visions for synthesizing and

caring for each person instead of marginalizing them. For Participant 4, the faith-based notion of

shared value because of God shone through as the light to shine on people whom society has

marginalized: "That's the faith community's part of their message is that you're an image bearer

and you've been fearfully and wonderfully made." For Participant 5, loving acceptance amid

vulnerability can empower people through marginalized experience:

I've used the word humanity, but I'm going to use the word vulnerability...I used the love
but acceptance probably is. Acceptance not of anything that is untoward and evil. Not a
carte blanche but acceptance of every human being and their innate potential to fulfill
whatever they have been sent on the earth. That kind of acceptance of everyone's divine

essence. That comes out of love. Just acceptance, compassion but also…I'm going to
say passion for life.

Participant 3 mentioned the faith-based fruits of the Holy Spirit in expressing the values, or the

love, joy, peace, long suffering, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:23-

24) to care for those experiencing suffering of marginalization. No rule or law of structure or

society can force these values on the heart of a person or society (Participants 2, 4, & 5). As

Participant 4said, people cannot force change of the heart because only "love in action" can do

that (1 John 4:18-19; Gal. 5:23-24). People experiencing ostracism, or marginalized experience,

need solutions done with love (1 Cor. 13). The ideal society involves non-abuse and violence

(Participants 1 & 3) of strength and confidence of identity as connected to the divine, and

coming together over shared values (Participant 5). Importantly, participants emphasized a need

to include those who suffer in conversations about the decisions and solutions that impact them,

and not with "heavy governance" (Participant 5), but government being more open to including a

variety of people in these conversations about ideal partnering. This inclusion satisfies a need to

empower sufferers by forcing outsider solutions onto them. Otherwise, solutions risk further

marginalizing people (Participant 5). This theme for including people at the table emerged as

consistent throughout the visions, photographs, and stories, which suggests the possibility that

the faith-based CSSP influenced me with this value of hospitality.

Systems Synthesis: Transforming Suffering to Complex Wholeness

How do the stories, photographs, and conversations express ritual and rites of passage via

transforming suffering to complex wholeness? The photographs set the scene for transforming

suffering to complex wholeness by synthesizing images of nature with structural glimpses of

spiritual icons. For instance, the cross framed by plum blossoms after partner church meeting

(Figure 22), the Easter sunrise service over the lake with log booms lined tidily in the water, the

area where I grew up in the background (Figure 23), the opening, flanked by two green metal

lampposts, between the trees bright green from a new Spring and fresh grass near site of service

(Figure 24), each of these show the nature of Spring, a new hope, peacefully in residence with

the structural artifacts of modern organizing of religious and city life. Modern organizing met

nature with the food distribution image that framed a yellow iris in the foreground at a

government housing building and a car blurred in the background (Figure 25), and the red and

blue playground at partner church at last monthly meeting in late Spring, just before Summer

(Figure 26). The suggestion of play from Figure 26 seemed out-of-place at first glance, but play

suggested the possibility of thriving with the unpopulated, at that moment, playground to be used

by children of the partner church, and clients of the faith-based CSSP.

The stain glass window (Figure 27) suggested an older, timely, aesthetic, and colorful

depiction of faith: The movement of curved panes of glass swirling color around the cross, with

nature as the brown hill on which the cross stands, leaning to the side, the blue sky behind and

above, and the swirl of color seemingly upholding the cross, keeping it alive and in motion

(Figure 27). This image connected the cross to its environment, the church, and the outdoors.

Nature won again to depict the faith as a moment of torment that we now see beautifully encased

in swirls of sky and solid ground made in the past, yet shone through with current natural light.

This image showed the passage of time more than the others. This image connected with nature,

history, and culture, not necessarily modern, especially in the design of the stained glass, artifact

of assembling together under or for a shared faith in a church building currently in use today.

These interpretations suggest a wholeness already existing yet in motion and needing

passage as with the seasons with the stories a renewal of faith, vocation, family, serene feelings,

and a desire to begin again. Three stories supported this sense of hopeful yearning set in

springtime. Spring repeats a memory of ending the darkness, cold, and illness of winter, and the

birthing of buds wound tight unfurling into many petals. The change of seasons suggested a

cultural symbolizing of pain of going through ongoing death and rebirth for the continuation of

the species. The aesthetics of images beautified suffering, which made the transformation to

wholeness complex because suffering does not seem beautiful, but we can still thrive. In Figure

24, the vista between trees suggests a new way ahead after him who hung on a tree as

symbolized by the repetition of a cross in Figures 20, 22, and 27. Overall, the major influence of

nature as the hosting environment of the faith-based CSSP showed a picture, ironically, about the

speed of healing as a rhythm and pace of spiritual beings who rise from death to abundant life in

nature by someone who first so suffered, and then rose again, to adopt us into love (Eph. 1:5).

Figure 22. Cross framed by blossoms after partner church meeting.

Figure 23. Easter sunrise service over lake.

Figure 24. Opening between trees near site of service.

Figure 25. Food distribution: Iris at housing building.

Figure 26. Playground at partner church at last meeting of a year.

Figure 27. Stained glass window at a partner church.

The photographs did not show transforming suffering to complex wholeness because they

did not show humans explicitly, obviously, or directly moving toward complex wholeness save

the symbolism of Figure 27 of the suffering of Christ on the cross for salvation to all. However,

this series did not need obvious human portraiture to suggest a complex wholeness because of

the interaction with nature and modern or religious structures. In this surprising way, this

interaction allowed for a cheerful respite from the suffering described in the stories, and the

weighty writing of a dissertation, a serene lift in the hecticness and gravity of caring for others

transitioning through marginalized experiences. Perhaps not quite the complex wholeness that

V. W. Turner (1987) alluded to as communitas, these photographs illustrated a complex

wholeness closer to Fernandez (1986) or that of an interaction of people with the complex status

structures that provide the environment for assembling. The images provide visual anthropology

of a faith-based CSSP by synthesizing traditional icons, expected images of Jesus and church

structures with unexpected nature. The images showed the landscape of spiritual limen.

I interpreted the transformation to a complex wholeness dimension of compassionate

communitas from the conversations by emphasizing advice on visioning at the local level

(Participant 1). Participant 1used the metaphor of painting to illustrate ideal visions:

Paint that picture for people, and make it be the thing that you believe with all your
being, or as much of it as you can give. Give yourself to it because then people will
follow, and then do the best you can to work towards that goal...that we know about why
it's important to love. What there is to be gained from that, right, you might lose your life
but for my sake, but you'll gain it in the process that one, because fear begets fear, and
love begets love.

This painting, a locally actionable picture, seems a main task for community leaders (Participant

1). Participant 4 advised how to act on that vision in small steps because "a major pitfall people

have is they have a big vision and then they do a big action and that really hurts partnerships"

and so do small achievable steps instead. Participant 1 described this as leaders painting a vision

and people coming together at the local level to act on that vision.

All participants painted visions for healthy relationships, flourishing, thriving, and the

need for peace, love, safety, basic needs, and collaboration and empowerment instead of non-

violence to transform suffering to complex wholeness. As Participant 3 said:

That's really a description of relationships... be a sense of sufficiency. There needs to be
enough. There needs to be enough and there needs to be a sense that there's enough
because sometimes those are two different things. Along with that, there needs to be a
shared value of sharing, that when it comes to questions about ownership, that ownership
is less defined in terms of an I and more in terms of a we.

Contributors to this faith-based CSSP, not in this study, echoed a grappling with the

identity of We in my previous consulting storywork with this faith-based CSSP. Participant 3

defined a healthy society as access to what people need to support their fullness of life for their

bodies and spirits, including basic needs such as food, shelter, and water, and spiritual needs

such as meaningful relationships, trust, and appropriate levels of intimacy. This intimacy needs

people to connect with hearts and minds in a free and noncoercive way so that they can act and

behave based on their values and not be held or constrained forcefully (Participants 3 & 5).

Participant 5 described how people care for each other as doing so "under the umbrella of love"

for "healthy survival" as a priority because "we are born to connect... belong... and relate."

Participant 2 brought up love, "Truly, if you're coming from that place of love of neighbor, you

thrive on loving your neighbor. And when you see them thrive, you are self-actualized. You are

in that positive place we all want to be, which some people call heaven on Earth."

Participant 4 described a friendship model, but with a twist: "Building trust just by
building friendship, but then I also think friendship only go so far, and you have to build
trust by getting a win together. It's like you and I could have a great friendship but until
we actually accomplish something together, it's hard to know if I can really rely on you
other than I just enjoy hanging out with you.

Transforming to complex wholeness needs the partnership relationship to succeed at something.

For Participant 4, this win comes by love in action:

we see excellence or love or compassion, they cause movements. They cause people to
come alongside and I think that's how you build out society. I actually don't think it
works to start from the top and sort of press down. Everyone has to be compassionate
now… I think sometimes with some of our current, even political climate, it's like we just
have to get government to do something so that everyone's heart will be different and it's
kind of like, ‘That's not how it works.’ We can set some rules so that things are fair, but
that doesn't change people's hearts. People's hearts are changed when they see love in

Participant 5 also raised a relationship model for transforming suffering:

I think relationships building... I'm going to rephrase. Not underestimating the power of
relationships whether it's with your neighbor, whether it's your church community. We
are born to connect. We are born to belong. We are born to relate. I think whenever
we're disconnected in relationships or we're not relating or connecting well, I think we
suffer. I think research has shown that we get quite addicted to other things we're
because not connected in healthy community.

Therefore, the purpose of this ideal partnership involved helping people to reach their fullness of

life and health and faith with love and community.

Throughout, participants described hospitality of gifts and companionship because of

shared humanity or kinship. Participant 5 described values that people identify with as a "deep

sense of" honor, respect, compassion, and love; a deep sense of identity, authenticity, and truth; a

deep sense of "kinship to humanity." The transforming suffering to complex wholeness means

healthy thriving for all because we are a spiritual family. Participant 1 noted that "fear begets

fear. Love begets love." This means helping people to "be brave and courageous and remember

that it's worth it," or that "this [work] takes creativity, resilience, and persistence" because "we

forget how good it felt" to give ourselves to love because of love requires vulnerability and

discomfort (Participant 1). Through love society can be whole again, but we need to encourage

each other that our "little action impacts a big picture" (Participant 1).

Overall, the stories illustrated transformation from suffering to complex wholeness by

bringing the visions down to everyday experience. The stories shared an ongoing theme for a

desire for healing via family, companionship, relief, vocational service, and joy (Appendix D).

"My friend and I laughed together as we often did, and her presence made the afternoon feel --

accessible," I wrote in the food distribution story. The leadership workshop story illustrated

transforming as restoring for my sense of joy and passionate spark that I had missed "when

nurtured gives a little more confidence each day." This story described the transformation to

congruence: "The tragedy is not whether or not people agree with your value, but realizing that

you're already contributing value…With and beyond a paycheck." The transformation to

wholeness, then, involved restoring what had once been there, but bringing it to light, or back to

life, and that in a communal setting. The Easter sunrise story illustrated transforming suffering

to complex wholeness by showing a hug and shared tears about mothering differing as women

sharing tearful expressions of emptiness and rejection over the human yearning for family and

meaningful connection. The call to action to come to life to leave the empty tomb to find an

alive Jesus working, and to work with him, or to be alive, brings faith forward to transform to

wholeness. The work, while satisfying, needs us alive to do:

Sometimes that pain of empty confuses the joy of what is needed to be emptied in the
first place. Perhaps making room for other possibilities sits the angel on the stone rolled

"Why are you crying? He is not here."
Return to your Galilee, and serve. (Appendix D)

This loving and faith-energized life seemed the meaning of "church without walls." The stories

with participant conversations and the symbolism of photographs supported the importance of

faith in conveying the values and motivation for partnering (Appendices D-E). The ordination

story involved answering a call with the affirmative, "I will with God’s help."

The complexity of this wholeness involved a now and not yet of yearning for relief of my

finishing a vocational rite of passage, and joyful service afterward, but only with a commitment

to answer the call with reliance on God’s help. Of course, this desire reflects an expectation that

the "not yet" be better than now. The stories and photographs center and frame how I

experienced the faith-based CSSP, and the interpretation and contemplation continues lending a

live quality to texts (see Chvasta, 2003). Perhaps this liveness alludes to V. W. Turner’s (1987)

focus on the movement toward/away complex wholeness. The publicity of the ritual in the

ordination story publicized and celebrated success (Participant 5), the shared tears and laughter

the spectrum of emotions (Participants 1, 3, & 4), and validated isolating years of study, personal

turmoil, and weekly hours of public service. The tension between the idealized visions and

reflections from story, and complimented with the framing of the photographs, together gives a

picture of how I experienced the in-between of reality and ideal during my volunteering with the

local faith-based CSSP. The exhaled relief meant returning to simplicity of what we need more

than complexity of how we think life ought to be: We need to breathe to live, hugs to thrive, and

the love of spiritual kin to walk with us along the way.


This study illustrated how the synthesis of stories, photographs, and visions expressed

each dimension of compassionate communitas to the extent of faith-based CSSPs meeting basic

needs with love so that all people can flourish, and society can thrive. The stories provided

examples to how I experienced the visions and suggested how I healed from personae to

communitas by experiencing compassion from the faith-based CSSP, especially the validating of

my vocation as ministry and yearning for spiritual and future family. The photographs gifted an

interlude of a unique and unexpected way to frame compassionate communitas as ecosystem of

nature, faith, and people as abstract, detail, and establishing images due to the ethical

considerations of this study. The ethical considerations unexpectedly benefited the synthesis by

showing an aesthetic, minimalist, and hands-on approach to partnering without infringing on the

plight of sufferers for an image. The photographs offer potential for approaching health systems

with themes observed in nature for the rhythm and pace of life. I interpreted themes from the

conversations for hospitality of giving and receiving gifts in love to support each person’s

connection to God and each other to thrive. This work needs a society that rewards and supports

compassionate communitas instead of ostracizing or marginalizing people. The synthesis

sketched possibilities to approach health systems with actionable creative and interpretive

research and practice. In all, faith-based beliefs support the values of love of neighbor and

community engagement. Next, Chapter 5 will share conclusions and reflections.


This chapter will answer the research questions, describe an image of ideal partnership,

and explain future directions, limitations, and ethics, and review this storied idealized systems

design for compassionate communitas of faith-based CSSPs (Appendices C-E).

Answering the Research Questions

This study asked two research questions:

(RQ1): What is the ideal vision of a faith-based cross-sector social partnership (CSSP)

for people who support this type of health system?

(RQ2): What do the stories, photographs, and visions express about compassionate

communitas of a faith-based cross-sector social partnership (CSSP)?

The answers (AQ) to the above research questions go as follows:

(AQ1): The ideal vision of faith-based CSSP for people who support this type of health

system involved themes for partnering as safe and loving collaborative relationships with each

other and with other sectors to support the fullness of faith and life and of thriving and

flourishing of all people. This thriving serves as the holistic solution for a faith-based CSSP

where all people in society meet the needs of each other through their hospitality of gifts and safe

companionship. In that way, the participant conversations expressed compassionate communitas

to the extent of emphasizing healthy relating and flourishing for all. My stories provided

examples of how they actualized their vision with me, and the photographs showed the nest

where I encountered these activities with the faith-based CSSP.

Each participant offered visual analogies or metaphors for coming together to meet

human needs with love via human offering of gifts as the resource—not only money or

structure—such as puzzle pieces on the table (Participants 1 and 5), a mobile for differentiating

boundaries (Participant 3), and a handcrafted quilt (Gala story). Each participant visualized the

work that they do and what the faith-based CSSP offers to society. Most analogies visualized

disconnected pieces, except for the quilt sewn together. The coming together in this soft way

alludes to how people can show compassionate communitas around the problems of society that

ail us. All participants said that society and partnerships need to better include and listen to those

that society tends to marginalize because of their vulnerable station.

All participants offered the analogy of table as hospitality of gifts. The hospitality of

gifts refers to gifting my skillset or talent to contribute to a program in the faith-based CSSP,

such as the leadership workshops and coaching, and to receive the gifts of others, such as the

board president's offer to help me. The giftedness resonated with Scriptures that described the

church as a body to suffer with each other or compassion of "equal concern" for unity or

wholeness without division (1 Cor. 12:12-31), where the "greater gift" or "more excellent way"

means love (1 Cor. 13). This faith-based language resonates with compassionate communitas.

As expected, the tensions of the modern for-profit environment limited the extent to

which I and Participants 1 to 3 described ideal partnering because as participants pointed out the

CSSP existed because of an imperfect and dysfunctional system that marginalizes people as a

norm. This system, if abusive, seems so when it requires helping organizations to operate under

its terms to survive, but those terms still involve ostracizing people or compartmentalizing

sectors so there lacks synthesis. The gala story (Appendix D) showed a classic example of the

tensions that workers experienced in excluding some from the table due to the expense of tickets,

and the conversation afterwards to come up with other more creative and inclusive options. In

the least, the system stays at status quo because the dominant system does not change to correct

the way that it marginalizes people. At worst, the system inflicts more suffering and, to add

insult to injury, places the burden of change on those already overextended. I’m reminded of

Meadows and Wright’s (1993/2008) caution of how burnout of individual champions services

the status quo. Of course, wealth or modernism in themselves as a thing do not do anything.

People suffer and can inflict suffering on others, and so the framing of this study did not fully

come to bear in the synthesis. Only Participant 4 described modern organizing as supportive of

the work of partnering expressing a possibility for research to inform and support faith-based

CSSPs. Participants supported, to some extent, current structures and norms. Participants 4 and

5 supported cross-sector collaboration, and Participant 1 suggested partnering via community

leadership, spirituality, and people's giftedness at the local level to make the ideals of love and

fullness of life and faith, or thriving for all, come alive. The key to liveness involves synthesis

that still honors personhood with life-giving practices. Compassionate communitas provides one

way to love and empower other on each person’s healing journey in a broken system as a

communion of breaking bread and sharing wine at the last supper before loss and change

motivates a need for new understanding, recovery, healing, and renewal (see Figure 2).

The liveness matters to understand how participants contributed to an ideal vision, and if

their suggestions resonated with compassionate communitas to implement or at least act upon

this ideal vision. This liveness matters to appreciate how important and transitory human life is

because it is vulnerable to a system that needs resilience, support, and guidance. Other writers

may describe liveness as thrivability. For instance, Russell (2015) envisioned thrivability as a

next step from survival, sustainability, and resilience by showing how the world improves when

disturbed by change and diversity that motivates people to create new ways of thriving.

However, perhaps the new ways come from the old ways, or the meeting of basic needs with

love not just for one’s self or family, but for extended family of neighbor, church, city, and

world. Inspire people to act on their ideals by painting a picture that they can follow at the local

level with their unique talents, leadership, and skills (Participant 1). As Participant 2 said, to

teach youth to value civic society, and to engage civically means caring for your neighbor’s

thriving, too, and not just your own house or bank account. As Participant 5 said, find overlap

with shared values and act upon them instead of feeding the fear that a void of values can inflict.

This study did not inquire for the design phases of idealized systems design.

Ethical considerations influenced the selection of photographs, which influenced

synthesis that connected images of nature with the liminal existence of faith-based CSSPs. The

photographs expressed an unexpected way to frame faith-based CSSPs as a liminal organization,

although not directly and traditionally as portraiture. Instead, photographs expressed an

ecosystem of nature, abstract, detail, and establishing images of the environment in which the

faith-based CSSP served. This finding came about in part due to the ethical considerations of

this study to exclude names and faces of people or organizations from the images or captions.

This significant finding suggests ways to visualize service work in (a) a way that does not exploit

those marginalized and (b) to research partnership that moves outside of the limits of operational

and structural discourse of the past and into more fluid boundary work needed now.

A liminal organization has fluid boundaries and does not fit in tidy columns and rows

because it moves along as people go through their transformation from marginalized to personae

to communitas, or complex wholeness. The two-dimensional framing of photographs would

give a flat rendition of this movement if not for the organic shapes and forms illustrated in

nature. Nature as an ecosystem better reflects the work of the faith-based CSSP as tied to its

environment, and yet trying to "grow around" obstacles to survive and continue the species. The

ethics involved not publishing personally identifiable faces or names of people or organization.

Therefore, we do not actually see expected portraits or editorial images of people helping people

save the two images of helping hands (Figures 1 & 5). The helping hands resonates with doing

the work by aligning head, heart, and hands (Nizer, 1948); however, we need a backbone to

stand up to or rectify suffering, and a spirit to make the work last beyond ourselves.

However, the synthesis also expressed another image. The photographs did not express

compassionate communitas in expected human visuals again because of ethical considerations.

The detail and establishing images offered a flowery sunset view of partnership work in contrast,

or growing with, a more structured environment, such as the iris in front of the section housing

building. The photographs expressed limen as the recurring water images afford an amorphous

fluidity that imparts hope for partnerships to be less sectorial, and more about life-giving

connections that respond to the cycle of life. Future studies can utilize editorial photography to

show the interactions in the moment with people who support the work of faith-based CSSP.

It may seem a stretch to see compassionate communitas in nature photographs. Yet it

may be compelling for future researchers to visualize the extent to which nature collectively

notices, acknowledges, shares, and expresses empathy and concern when witnessing suffering.

Compassionate communitas has much to offer to visualize systems more broadly within the nest

of nature, and that beyond survival, competition, adaptability, and even sustainability and

resiliency. Compassionate communitas implies an ethic of care more closely connected to

stewardship, responsibility, and wholeness. The nature in images reminds of a slower pace and

rhythm to systems change beyond tidy linear phases of life cycle of organizations. Perhaps the

disparity seems more an illusion of time; the pace and slowness of life needed for health, sanity,

and quality may be the mismatch of our modern times because slowness needs patient

contemplation and graceful action that benefits a situation. The reflections of water, the sun

rising and setting, the ray of light through the door, the cross and crown (Figures 14-19, 21, 24,),

reflect a slowness and suffering not pictured. Life moves at the speed of its bookends, or the

infants and elderly, or differently abled in-between, and diverse populations called such to sweep

out of the picture altogether. Care of these populations moves outside to a less visible space,

outside of a cultural norm, and so needing grand efforts of dedicated souls for partnering,

fiduciary structure, galas, and everyday street time. The nature in the images does not show

these scenes save the helping hands and "Eat" sign, and the welcoming tables at the gala and

ordination (Figures 1, 4, 6, 7,10). The celebration at city hall framed the event with nature

suggesting that synthesis had taken place (Figure 3). The images of nature gifted a surprising

and refreshing way to soften the tone of a heavy topic, and more than that, a way to reflect on

how to act upon ideal visions of health systems moving forward.

Herein suggests the movement that V. W. Turner (1987) spoke about. The stories

supported the themes of compassionate communitas of a faith-based CSSP about thriving for all

by meeting basic and vocational needs with love. Remember that V. W. Turner (1987)

suggested study of movement toward/away complex wholeness. The movement from

marginalization to personae to communitas, or complex wholeness, seems a dance in and out of

ostracism, and so does not seem linear or one-fast-stop at a drive-through. The dance needs

rhythm and grace of slower pace and movement. The movement, surprisingly, in the stopped

frame of two-dimensional imagery suggested a slower way to design health systems. The fast-

pace of modern times overruns the life out of this slower speed, and seems counterintuitive for

assisting people in desperate, disparate, or distressing situations. Even the sign to "Eat," speak,

and engage social justice stand still in the images’ frame (Figures 4, 12, 13). Therein lies the

turmoil: The mismatch of what is needed goes at the speed of safe companionship that meets

basic needs with love so that people can in turn do the same for others (Participants 2 & 3).

The stories and unexpected nature photographs showed more a circuitous route, whether

the gnarled tree limbs, or the ebb and flow of reflections, or passage of time as sunsets. The

stories expressed compassionate communitas to the extent of the movement away from

loneliness and isolation amid a liminal pause of questioning and in-between the faith of my past

and the faith of my future, especially regarding a desire to feel connected with a family of my

own and spiritual family, for people to receive the gifts that I offered, and to integrate instead of

split feminine roles as woman, mother-to-be, scholar, writer, photographer, consultant, and

friend to serve as a vocational expression of faith. A tree grows around a lampstand; neither told

the other that they had no right to be there. The tree grew, and the lampstand stayed. I sought

out what I knew I needed and did not know I needed from a faith-based CSSP while contributing

to their needs, they embraced me as a person and minister, and we let the work finish over what

took a longer timeframe than expected. The personae needed the communitas of the faith-based

CSSP and friendship to bring the personae to life with love and joy amid pain and privilege.

(AQ2) (Refer to p. 125): The stories, photographs, and visions expressed compassionate

communitas of faith-based CSSP to the extent that the faith-based CSSP provided a human and

relational way to respond to the suffering that I encountered in-between post-graduate study and

my transition to family in tandem with the realities at tension with the ideals expressed in the

interviews. Participant visions emphasized healthy relating via boundaries, meeting of basic

human needs to self-actualize, for peace, and love for flourishing for all. Researcher stories

functioned as a veil that allowed a thin purview from the work and background that led to their

inspiration. The photographs suggested my presence, and visualized themes, but did not stand

alone because the photographs more than anything supported the ecology of faith-based CSSPs

as a liminal organization with fluid boundaries and connections to nature, people, structures in

society, need, and unexpectedly, beauty. The stories and photographs supported compassionate

communitas through illustrating how I experienced transition from personae to communitas

while contributing to a faith-based CSSP. I experienced validation of my vocational

contribution, tension to reconcile service and love, encouragement or words of comfort during

personal isolation or adversity, belonging as companionship, a place to go where people knew

and cared about my welfare, and yet saw me as a partner.

Surprisingly, the photographs expressed a much softer environmental view of faith-based

CSSPs than did all else and did not fully support my framing of this study that emphasized an

environment of modern for-profit norms for organizing and socioeconomic disparity for health

and human service realities. Surprisingly, the photographs expressed a much softer

environmental view of faith-based CSSPs than did all else and did not fully support my framing

of this study that emphasized an environment of modern for-profit norms for organizing and

socioeconomic disparity for health and human service realities, except for the images of the

helping hands, the welcome table, and the social justice and eat signs (Figures 1, 4, 5, 10). We

need a nest to do the work and a quilt to cover us at end of day for a safe and warm night’s rest.

This glimpse of nature reminded me of basic human needs that exist with and without

marginalization. This soft-spot supported the compassionate communitas experience of working

with this faith-based CSSP and the visions from participants, as a natural, organic,

interconnected, quiet, and serene environment that nested the painful realities that this

organization dealt with daily. Rosko’s (2010) interpretation resonates with this synthesis as

performing intermedia paints a brushstroke of a phenomena, and suggested that the storycrafting

itself became a ritual to ease difficult transitions in a consoling and creative way. This soft-spot

leaned into the image of an ideal partnership as a handcrafted quilt as an image of partnering.

Image of an Ideal Partnership

As a patch work handcrafted quilt fit for home, compassionate communitas can integrate

the visions and experiences of those who support faith-based CSSPs to connect beyond sectorial

interests and to manage diverse partners in a society that pressures them to design for separation.

The systems synthesis showed convergence with the stories, photographs, and participant visions

and compassionate communitas, but by emphasizing meeting basic needs with safe love so that

people can thrive. Synthesis paints the image of an ideal partnership by showing if the stories,

photographs, or visions expressed compassionate communitas. The systems synthesis expresses

what participants experienced as an ideal partnership of the future, and that experience came

from their reality. For Participant 1, the synthesis painted a picture of the work of an ideal

partnership at a local level. The systems synthesis painted a picture of human connection and

companionship that passed people safely through structures that ostracize them in society.

I and participants expressed a desire for family and friendship or a relational model of

organizing an ideal partnership, a stewardship of shared humanity via vocation, and a yearning to

bridge basic needs with safe companionship and love. The stories expressed themes for

connection with spiritual kin to offset the sense of isolation that I experienced during post-

graduate work and in-between her own transition to family. Participant visions expressed an

image of safe and loving relating and sharing of holistic solutions to benefit people’s fullness of

life, faith, and personhood. The direction of influence seemed that the faith-based CSSP

influenced me, and vice-versa. This influence showed possibilities of how an ideal partnership

can function as a health system of spiritual connection and love instead of ostracism (Tables 2 &

3). The photographs set the scene, surprisingly, in the context of nature as an ecosystem that

moves at a slower pace and rhythm contrasted to modern speed.

Story highlights included a return to joy from the encouragement and affirmations of the

executive director and board president while co-facilitating the workshop. The stories showed

the yearning for affection and family of faith and future over motherhood via a beach-side

conversation, hug, and invitation to share the holiday with other families. The stories showed the

need to transition from empty to committed faith as the sermon that day or to live faith outside of

isolation of individual achievement and going through difficulties alone by continuing to

contribute gifts in my locale with others who did the same. The stories expressed tension over

splitting of roles to integrate the affection, disparity of privilege as distributed, but not resolved,

and friendship. The stories showed a need for relief of completing the rite of passage to

graduation and conferral with celebration, lightness, and joy. The stories and photographs

supported the participant visions of how a faith-based CSSP might be the perfect place for

someone seeking personae and communitas when experiencing the pain of in-between roles and

structures that ostracize and withhold validation of human worth even when people work hard.

Table 3 reminds the connections with the story prompts: Usage of Denning's (2005) typology for

organizational storycrafting. The me story told of tensions with professional skills and leader

coaching and self-doubt; the we sunrise story showed the need for a motherhood hug and

conversation; the organization day in the life story showed the gray void of experience of faith

suggesting that the faith-based CSSP provided a liminal space to craft sense of that season;

Table 2
Compassionate Communitas Dimensions and Implications by Source
Dimension Conversations Stories Photographs Implications

Collective Companionship Leadership Figures 1, 2, 3 Collaborate to
responding Relationship workshop story helping hands give/receive
Hospitality validation of crafting a story, gifts
others sharing the Last Shared or
reminded a Supper, and intentional
need to validate flowers staging a space
the vocational success Vocational
contribution of purpose
self without pay Desire to share
or title feelings of

Noticing Lack of thriving Food Figure 4 red sign Systems change
suffering Lack of distribution imperative to eat Include sufferers
supportive spectrum of ironic to the need in conversations
relationships need of food, of food Change model of
Lack of resources friendship, and distribution economics
Lack of shared community; residents Communal
values Day in the life identity over
Fear/flux story a need to shared values
continue living

Empathy Give self fully to Easter sunrise Figures 6-7 Emotions prove
the work story hug at the Bouquets to heart in the
Boundaries beach for signify public engagement
Feel a spectrum family of faith celebration of Imagining a core
of emotions and future ordination of civic society
Imagining the Going outside
suffering of to serve
others Nature as
Set in Spring

Action to Funding Ribbon cutting Figures 5, 9, 11, Holistic solutions
alleviate Cross-sector ceremony story 12, 19, do the of partners
suffering collaboration visualized work with Give/receive
Healthy regional cross-sector strength of gifts
environments collaboration Christ, bee Public
Hospitality Set in Spring launching from celebration of
Events/Rituals Ask how can we lavender, successes
help of those volunteer and Forward
impacted resident hands at movement
versus food distribution, Include sufferers
assuming know fundraising gala in decisions that
solutions to welcome table, impact them
their suffering Bible with Economic value
glasses of helping

Communicating Speak truth in Ribbon cutting Figures 13, 14 Value of
concern love ceremony the imperative to relationship and
Humility to listen board president speak enlarged caring
to our stories to asked how to by a clear marble Synthesis of
learn help me as a from a unity faith/spirituality
Communicate to volunteer service, and Communicate to
understand not quote to crowd understand, ask
manipulate out evil pinned for help, and
Prayer to discern on a bulletin make decisions
decisions board Share solutions
Heed vocational
call of God
Trust in partners
Include sufferers
in conversations

Sensecrafting Love/relationship Day in the life Figures 15-17 Faith offers
Spirituality of story showed reflections of sky ways to grapple
embodied beings faith lacked and bridge in the with meaning of
Outside tangible lake after the pain and
traditional walls activities and Easter sunrise mystery of
Driven for bigger relationships to service human purpose
than self express faith as and connection
a type of Go outside to
suffering interact with the
CSSP provided needs of others
a family of faith in love

Transitional Just start Ordination Figures 18-20, Public
experience Local action story yearning sunrise over celebration of
Leaders who for relief as trees at Easter how transition
listen and exhale a basic sunrise service, well by
visualize the need to breathe sunset over lake community and
vision for completion at location of love in action
Value partnering and safe sunrise service,
together passage path at partner
Empowering through church after last
sufferers education minute of year
An usher
guided the way
to a seat
included me

Marginalized Include sufferers Fundraising Figures 21, 22 Accept and
experience in conversations story used cross and crown empower each
Do the work with humor/levity to backlit by open other because of

lightness and joy show door at partner divine identity
Love and accept heavy/serious church, mural of and human
each the concern about Jesus fore-lit by potential
vulnerability of sustainability candle at partner
each other and economics church as
Share stories of the work that separation from
Spirituality/faith CSSPs do and outside and
to restore hope how they need inside the
to ask for help church, and as
in the current symbols and
modern person who also
economic suffered
environment marginalization

Transforming to Fear and shame Ordination Figures 23-28, Symptoms of
complex to love in action story a public cross framed by surrogate to
wholeness Curiosity about celebrated cherry blossoms, love include
civic possibilities relief of shared Easter sunrise marginalizing
Change passage and over lake, tree others
perception about emotions over opening near Why we need a
who responsible the director’s service location, companionship
(start with me) completion of iris framed model to CSSPs
Friendship with training government We need a
successes The space to be location of food health model to
because and breathe distribution, society to better
relationship or together flowers framed guide and
connection the playground at reward human
place to heal partner church, thriving
and stained glass
window at
partner church

Note. Conversations compiled February to March 2017; Stories written April 2016;
Photographs produced 2012-2016 during volunteer work at local faith-based CSSP

the knowledge-sharing food distribution story resonated with the meeting basic needs with

friendship and love at tension with education as a pursuit of abstract knowledge and the search to

share that knowledge by serving; the values fundraising gala story told of concerns with the

survivability of the faith-based CSSP's values in a modern environment that led to excluding

people from the gala based on affordability; the springboard Ribbon cutting ceremony

highlighted a success with a city partnering with this faith-based CSSP; and, the future, or the

director's ordination story, showed a desire for simple relief and joy amid a circle of supporters,

spiritual family, and friends in the future. The choice of typology prompted the stories that came

to mind, which influenced the synthesis; and yet, the stories recounted my experience with the

faith-based CSSP. The prompts organized the narrative, but future studies may find useful trying

other story typologies as prompts to see what comes up.

Table 3

Usage of Denning's (2005) Typology for Organizational Storycrafting

Typology Story

Me Leadership workshops

We Easter sunrise service

Organization Day in the life of faith

Knowledge- Food distribution

Values Fundraising gala

Springboard Ribbon cutting ceremony

Future The director's ordination

Note. Stories written April 2016 about volunteering at the faith-based CSSP since 2012.

The photographs framed the faith-based CSSP as a liminal organization with its work in-

between the ecosystems of nature, government, and other structures to support quality of life and

the advent of hope. The photographs depicted the faith-based CSSP as a liminal organization

amid an ecosystem of nature, and less depicted as a symptom of modern organizing. The image

of the quilt (Figure 2) more than any other sketched an image of the ideal partnership. The Last

Supper quilt displayed the disciples coming together around a table as a last time of gathering

together, and the quilt, as a rectangle, yet soft, and sewn together with salvaged and procured

materials, suggests an unexpected model of partnering. This quilt would not exist if not

punctured by needles and attached with a thread by an experienced hand. Interwoven from

history and memory to warm, comfort, and aid people's rest and survival. The divine

interweaving resonates with faith-based language around individual salvation by faith and grace

to offer gifts and works prepared before time because "we are God’s workmanship" (Eph. 2:8-

10). The terrible moment of crucifixion preempted something new, a "veil" torn that separated

people from God, themselves, and each other (2 Cor. 3:16; Matt. 27:51). The use of fabric

brings the ideal visions down to earth to handcrafted with care for everyday use more than the

visuals or metaphors of this study because nature seems too complex, and bodies too limited to

the individual. The quilt as a metaphor integrates pain and suffering with faith and history, yet

visualizes a coming together of pieces in a soft and handcrafted manner fit for everyday care.

Directions for Future Research

The following sections suggest future directions for research of storied systems design for

partnerships, collective performance for storied systems design, synthesis of faith and vocation,

love and structures that connect, compassionate communitas for health systems, and a health

systems model to guide conversations about these themes.

Storied Systems Design

Storied systems design research can better integrate creative arts beyond a piecemeal

approach towards a patchwork quilt. For example, future studies can do design phases for

compassionate communitas of faith-based CSSPs, and ask a group of participants to do the

stories of their experiences, and compare that with a group of participants' ideal visions, and

express synthesis via the dimensions of compassionate communitas. Future research can

develop pathways for practice where convergence occurs. For instance, I benefited from a

companionship model to which participants referred that demonstrated safe and appropriate

affection. This convergence suggests a possibility for future research to inquire how a health

system can function as a companionship model to support secondary concerns.

In this example, a place to apply my professional consulting became secondary to an

unmet need for relationship, as Participant 4 said, where a lack of safe relationships can create

social and resource problems, such as homelessness. The context matters, and relationships

provide that context. Maslow's hierarchy did not include a bottom tier of basic needs only

because you can have a room full of infants whose basic needs for shelter, food, and clothing are

not met but also these babies could be depressed and stunted for a lack of humans who answer

their cries for help with comfort and affection. In other words, as Participant 4 observed, ideal

visions need to lead to holistic and not unilateral or "golden hammer," solutions. Parlance for

this may be consensus or collaboration; however, systems synthesis of ideal visions and stories

provides another way to discourse or describe faith-based CSSPs.

Each person stories the ideal, and that story arc can illumine the movement in-between

reality and ideal. That movement plots, to use modern terms, the action plan or strategy. The

story arcs over the liminal space, which allows a pause to reflect on and integrate the learning

and to contemplate the future. Story as a liminal act means attuning to the liminal pauses that

people encounter as they struggle to learn and grow and affect change. The spheres of

knowledge interact as the heart integrates the suffering and wholeness (Figure 28). This use of

story to plot movement can support V. W. Turner’s (1987) admonition to study movement

toward or away complex wholeness as the point of liminal research.

Figure 28 emerged not to tell future researchers how to organize study of ideal

partnerships per se, but to visualize connecting the work to the heart of the matter as a health

system. Figure 28 matters only to suggest the heart of the matter for research about topics

involving suffering and vulnerability, such as compassionate communitas. We already know the

different sectors of society, but if we conceive them as an ecosystem, then that reminds us of

needs for survival, health, and thriving. This figure visualizes the heart of the matter as a need to

integrate systems to include how to story topics involving suffering and vulnerability, such as

compassionate communitas. The synthesis of people’s stories and ideal visions seems key to

discern the movement toward/away complex wholeness. Therefore, the figure shows synthesis

of communitas and personae as circles and patterns in nature imprinted by living creatures

instead of only a flat-linear space or columns and rows to manage void of human affection.

Figure 28. Storied systems design as collective performance for faith-based CSSPs.

Synthesis of Faith and Vocation

Future research can explore how faith informs participants' ideal vision of partnerships

and with more participants in other locales such as for more requisite variety than this study's

design allowed. Future research can study other faith organizations in other locales that meet

human and social needs, and what the synthesis of faith means for them. Future research can

explore how faith can bring these efforts to life without phobic treatment of practitioners and

scholars of faith, but by synthesizing spirituality.

Love & Structures That Connect

Some participants answered the values questions with some difficulty, and each described

the transition piece with nuance as though the puzzle pieces sit on the table. Participant 1 offered

a clear way to transition the ideal to everyday work by bringing the vision of ideal partnering via

people's giftedness to the local level. The giving/receiving of one another's giftedness resonates

with Scriptures that describe the church as a body with each an important part to suffer with each

other with "equal concern" for unity or wholeness without division (1 Cor. 12:12-31), where the

"greater gift" or "more excellent way" is love (1 Cor. 13). Faith-based CSSPs need models that

allow for flow connection to meet basic needs with love.

A kinship, companionship, or relationship model reflected in nature needs attention by

future studies that design by circle work. These themes matter to address the participants’

struggle to answer the transitional questions or how to rewind to present day to actualize their

ideal visions, or, more simply, a we story. Future research can explore how to design loving

structures that support flow for people wanting to connect to meet basic needs in love.

Practically, future research can support the transitional needs of the work that local faith-based

CSSPs do, such as transitioning their ideal visions to daily practice, and what they need for

systems change from people and norms of an environment to support their ideal visions.

Health Systems Model

Future studies can envision a health systems model (HSM) for doing partnership work,

where partnerships in many ways function as a peer-to-peer health system because they address

the health needs of a population displaced largely due to systems norms for separation, whether

that be via modernism, wealth disparity, dual model for profit (for-/non-), or other. A HSM

offers different foci, such as attachment, affection, friendship, kinship, caring, compassion,

community, and belonging in the limen. However, we need an HSM to guide the conversation

by using attraction to promote change instead of resistance (see Plsek & Kilo, 1999). This HSM

can inform the socioeconomic framework to be one where health and quality of life rise to the

forefront of concern for how we organize society and the structures that build our daily lives.

Future studies can apply themes in this study for compassionate communitas, kinship,

health systems, faith, feminine language and wisdom, liminal transition, and love to envision an

HSM that our society can story for guidance to design for a natural instead of modern structure

with a mentality of planting seeds with seasons instead of linear models (see Plsek, 1999, 2001).

Liminality describes an in-between allows a pause to integrate systems change: People can step

towards or away a complex wholeness instead of changing too much too soon resulting in

threshold backlash (see Walker & Salt, 2006), or what Plsek (1999, 2001) referred to as

resistance when designing health systems. This backlash, as a pendulum swinging towards and

away results in homeostasis, and people exert energy to cope and recover from personae to

communitas to validate themselves and similarly ostracized others as a renewed whole, or risk

oppressing others when becoming the new majority. Participant Four referred to this challenge

as adding to problems because a house divided cannot stand (Mark 3:25; Matt. 12:22-28). Other

writers have written about risks of changing oppressive systems, and encouraged a healthful

instead of wounded response (see Freire, 1970, 1994; Katongole & Rice, 2008; Tutu, 1999).

A HSM with themes for compassionate communitas addresses this reality in a caring

manner geared for healthy connection. Health systems, such as faith-based CSSPs, need to

integrate with the environment and connect with the affections and beliefs of their beginnings,

rather than function as a separate entity. Future research needs a health systems model with

attention to ritual through transitions that do not separate, but connect, people as the natal

affective and vulnerable beginnings of humanity, and the yearning to live and thrive through

contributing in kind with kin. This HSM can reflect the innate, instinctive, and emotional natal

images and origins of family and life, and this HSM can apply to cross-sector work in

community engagement for public health, education, and the public commons.


This study respected the limitations due to capacity for complexity and saliency that these

requisite laws seek to protect (see Christakis & Bausch, 2006) by focusing on the envisioning of

idea and by laying the foundation for future studies to bring wider engagement of contributors to

design and implement a plan of action based on their shared vision of partnership. This study

heeds the laws of requisite saliency (Boulding, 1966) and of requisite meaning (Turrisi, 1997) of

participants who relate to storied systems design of faith-based CSSPs. This study respected

capacity limitations by keeping the themes to compassionate communitas and ideal partnership

for people who support the work of faith-based CSSPs. This study supported the meaning of

contributors of faith-based CSSPs by listening to their ideal visions that inform their mission and

by empowering them to speak up in a time of uncertainty about the concerns and ideals that

matter to them for authenticity and learning. I desired to suggest possibilities for future studies

to include story and vision crafting to support the work that health systems, such as faith-based

CSSPs, do to envision their ideal partnership, and included participants of a faith-based CSSP in

the design process. The stories and photographs served as symbols for how I found a degree of

healing and valued service, and to see the faith-based CSSP. They inspired me with their visions

and service as I learned and served. A storied approach to idealized systems design embraced

and increased the value of commitment to those whom scholars research, which seems the

mainstay for hermeneutic participatory approaches (see Herda, 1999).

I developed my choice of the topic of faith-based CSSPs through the lens of

compassionate communitas. This choice seems to interfere with democratic participation upheld

by idealized systems design (see Banathy, 1996a; Christakis & Bausch, 2006), and the

synthesizing of data risks losing clarity about who said what, or projecting my values onto the

participants. However, synthesizing the data sources allowed me to tell the story of what I

experienced in this faith-based CSSP supported by people whose visions propelled their

contribution. The challenge was one of language in keeping the discourse in the spirit of an

interpretive study while maintaining enough clarity to distinguish where the information came

from to satisfy the report style of a dissertation. The stories, photographs, and transcripts of this

study (Appendices D-E) can help future researchers with transparency. This study also

addressed this limitation by recruiting participants with pre-existing experience or knowledge of

compassionate communitas or faith-based CSSPs, applying a compassionate communitas lens to

synthesize the stories, photographs, and visions, designing open-ended questions that allow

contributors to share their ideal visions, showing transparency in my reflective short stories and

photographs, and allowing synthesis to correct/support my assumptions. Also, the study did the

first phases of idealized systems design, but it lacked the action phases to implement the design.

With that, including the "self as participant" went against the grain of research norms, but

as with any research, researchers facilitate, interpret, and write the narrative, and so maintains

authority over the text (see Chase, 1996). This study will account for this disparity of researcher

power, transparency, and vulnerability (Behar, 1996; Chase, 1996) by including participant

vision conversations to voice their ideals, and by including my reflective short stories and

photographs for creative transparency. These inclusions appeal to compassionate communitas,

but do not generalize an idealized and interpretive study.

On the surface this study may seem a non-purist approach to idealized systems design

because of the interdisciplinary approach of synthesizing narrative and because data sources

include what has happened (stories and photographs) and what can be (participant visions). It

may seem that the self lacks a collective visioning needed for idealized systems design. Dyer

(2002) explored how individuals can emerge using metaphors from conversations in context and

internal contemplation because these experiences engage the learner and can sustain the learning.

Readers can draw their own conclusions of the data sources of this interpretive study. The

systems synthesis provided a systematic way to express compassionate communitas.

This process can lead to collective emergence (Dyer, 2002) because people do not

compartmentalize tidily as individual and collective, but learn together in a system as the

interaction changes. The modern drive to compartmentalize seems a symptom of a broken

system. Stories can show whole centering and movement. The self reflects and evaluates to

purposefully articulate and coordinate thinking, emotions, motives, and actions, and engages in

an ongoing story to voice values, interpret experience, and guide future development as the

narrator, audience, and main character. A system view means that the self connects with others

and learns from others through the experience (Lombardo, 2014).

Integrating my reflective short stories and photographs with participant visions adds to

anecdotal data sources and does not account for a full story of movement toward or away

wholeness. "Past, present, and future" perceives, but does not factually represent, time. The

photographs display a systems’ view to visualize the story, but frame, and so do not represent,

reality (Phelan, 1993). The texts interact with each other and readers over time, and so change

(Chvasta, 2003). The photographs lack a full frame of the compassionate communitas to protect

the identities of people and organizations. This study applies story to sensecraft passage of time

in a liminal sense: The photographs serve as a ritual to frame the experience. Ideal and reality

frame expectation and experience as participants share their visions of social systems. Idealized

systems design can benefit from discerning the convergence and divergence of movement in-

between reality and ideal as a liminal space. There’s a current desire to develop idealized

systems design so that communities can apply it to meet significant challenges and co-create

their futures (Dyer, Jones, Rowland, & Zweifel, 2015). Short stories, photographs, and

conversations creatively perform the gaps in-between what was and what can be.

Put another way, this study valued the passage of time in a non-linear and storied sense to

indicate movement towards/away compassionate communitas because research can benefit from

this way of thinking in liminal terms. It matters to start somewhere and to be transparent about

my values and approach to systems as liminal akin as in flux because the synthesis emerges as

the story comes nearer to coherence. Thinking liminally about research can help other

researchers with studying and synthesizing other sectors. The theme for compassionate

communitas provides the author's ideal for what the practice of partnership can mean for

wholeness of organizational systems. However, we need to know what other voices say

regarding the ideal nature of partnership, and where these two expressions fall on the plot

toward/away a healthier society. Selection of data sources limited checks and balances because

data sources included scholars and practitioners versed in the topic.

Limitations also included the awkwardness of overdetailing wholeness as a complex

system of partnering via compassionate communitas. Ironically, underconceptualization happens

if the large-scale system focuses too much on beliefs and values of the design community

(Banathy, 1996a; Warfield, 1990). Compassionate communitas of faith-based CSSPs served as a

values-based model to change or dissolve the need for human and social service delivery. Lofty

ideals do not comprise the whole system but show an impression of how to move toward what

the system can become. Another risk juxtaposed: piecemealing the stories, photographs, and

visions as a system of subsystems, which can sub-optimize the larger system (see Banathy,

1996a). The trade-off: we know boundaries (Banathy, 1996a), but we still need to move towards

improving health systems in a society that supports the health system.

Limitations also included requisite variety and one organization/locale. The call for

storied systems design differed from traditional research because it invited people who desired to

do the visioning work, and this study did not do a horizontal flat view of the organization, but

interviewed the board. The stories, photographs, and conversations provided rich creative

insights to offset this lack of diversity. There seemed a lack of other similar organizations in

other cities. Two possible outcomes can be that future studies can study other faith-based CSSPs

in other locales, or that this study can inspire others to create faith-based CSSPs in other locales.

Future studies need to research more partnership organizations with more participants at

other locales to heed the law of requisite variety and whole systems (see Weisbord, 1987, 2012;

Weisbord & Janoff, 2010). The recently discovered law of requisite action asserts that a plan of

action needs engagement of the contributors who can design and implement the plan

successfully; otherwise, the action plan will likely fail (Christakis & Laouris, 2007; Institute for

21st Century Agoras, 2015). This engagement needs participants to enact their vision in their

organization (Özbekhan, 1969, 1970) by authentically dialoguing and learning from each other to

ethically and successfully implement action plans (Institute for 21st Century Agoras, 2015;

Warfield & Teigen, 1993). The first six laws need to occur to satisfy this seventh law of

requisite action (Institute for 21st Century Agoras, 2015; Laouris, Laouri, & Christakis, 2008).

The 39 "pieces" of data sources, or the 27 photographs, seven stories, and five interviews,

as sewn together by the two disciplinary concepts of compassionate communitas, made this study

weighty and long. The transition element seemed the most difficult to grasp for each source save

the photos, and save Participant 1's call to "just start" at the local level. Participants and

photographs shared visuals or metaphors of nature; however, that, too, with the pressure to

design ideals via compassionate communitas, seems too lofty to bring down from the clouds.

Meanwhile, the topic for compassionate communitas seemed too big an idea that needs more

practicality. The design seemed too elaborate because of the interdisciplinary perspectives and

procedures, too big because of the topic, and/or too vague because of the storied and liminal

emergence and openness. The literature review too dense and long. The introduction too

editorialized or unclear. People may feel suspicious of, or resist, storycrafting for research. The

concepts seemed new and difficult to integrate. The benefits included providing a storied way to

express movement toward/away wholeness of liminal systems, and connecting compassion with

communitas as an ideal vision for wholeness of partnerships. These benefits may sound

compelling and countercultural to modern ears, and so merit study despite limitations. It matters

to find a way to weave the pieces together to create a comforting whole and useful picture.

Finally, I experienced tensions and delays as I overlapped academic study with

volunteering to sensecraft the experience in meaningful terms. Compassionate communitas

provided a meaningful outlet for me to express the ideals and realities that I experienced during

post-graduate study and in-between my transition to family while I volunteered story consulting

to a faith-based CSSP. Faith allowed me that bridge. However, students and committees may

wrestle with the tensions that can arise with overlapping academic study, personal experience,

spirituality, and vocational service. Still, universities desiring to revamp or redesign their student

research to engage community may find possibilities to combine student research with

community engagement, and supporting faculty and students with compassionate communitas.

Ethical Considerations

The self as text or archive means that this study did not need permission from the faith-

based CSSP to integrate my reflective short stories and photographs. However, social tensions

exist when stories originate in a communal context. The photographs did not connect personally

identifiable information, participant faces, or private locations because of the absence or intent of

a model release form or informed consent at the time of encounter. This study used informed

consent procedures for participant conversations approved by an internal review board.

One unexpected ethical concern came about for this study due to changing political tides.

This concern involves if people misuse or misinterpret the writings to hurt or harm people of

faith, whether individually or at a systemic level, for example, withholding funds, or other

possibilities. Change can seem futile because look at what happened to Jesus, whom, the

namesake of the faith described in this study, suffered and died at the hands of religious and

political persons even though he served with compassion and taught with authority about themes

for love as described in the four gospels, described his intent as seeking and saving (Luke 19:10),

and called himself God (John 8:58). The prospect about writing about ideal visions of faith and

partnership for society became daunting and even scary amid a swinging political pendulum.

Concerns about political uncertainty or theological differences can beget fear or purpose

as in we have prepared for such a time as this to bring relief to people beset by fear and hate

(Esther 4:14). "Fear begets fear. Love begets love," said participant One (see 1 John 4:18-19).

Research about faith-based CSSPs needs to offset phobias of faith and address systemic fallout

of writing about people of faith, such as anonymous instead of confidential designs. People

threatened by sharing power who want to retain power may defend against a church, but church

does not provide or replace economic structures. That does not seem the purpose of the church

as described by this study, or by the ancient texts, which paint a picture of being members of

each other, of companionship, of kinship, and of love with Christ as head to fulfill the no

division" and "same care" principles by sharing resources to free them to worship God (1 Cor.

12:25; Acts 2:42-47 Col. 1:18). Jesus prayed for this unity of believers before his terrible

moment (John 17), and the Apostle Paul urged the church at Corinth "If one member suffers, all

suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together" (1 Cor. 12:26). With that, I

interpret the purpose of the church to be compassionate communitas for Christ now and to come.


This section will evaluate the study based on the criteria including four primary

boundaries: a creative synthesis of core ideas, emergence of creative insights, reflection, and

designing an ideal (Banathy, 1996a). This study suggests evaluation standards appropriate to

interpretive research, which differ from a positivist paradigm (Alvesson & Karreman, 2011).

Systems synthesis integrated the affective, felt, and spiritual realms because of the topic of

compassionate communitas of faith-based CSSPs. This study met the criteria for synthesis by

asking questions about participants’ future ideal vision and synthesizing my storied experience,

emergence via the creative use of story, photographs, and participant conversations, reflection

via including my and participants’ knowledge base and experience in the design, and can

improve on designing ideal with a larger participant pool in the same physical or virtual space at

the same time, and hear their stories about the topic instead of mine only. This choice included

people at the table in keeping with the participants’ value for hospitality to empower those

marginalized. While a small size of participants, or six total, the 39 data sources from three

categories allowed a rich way to express compassionate communitas in a synthesized (whole)

story. This method offers a glimpse of possible ways to approach research about ideal visions,

transitionary or marginalized experiences, and suffering in health systems to promote change.

Future studies can improve upon this study’s contribution by recommending facilitation

and stakeholder/designer teams for implementation, and facilitating group thriving by doing

group story work, and creating a group action plan from the design. This work can be done post-

doctorate for community engagement of health systems where people suffer transition from

reality to ideal. For now, I leave you with a quilt of the last supper, as the best comfort we

experience so far for ideal partnering for health for all until the last supper becomes the first.


It can take courage, where the root of courage means heart (Wheatley, 2009), to engage

in a lengthy process that seems a crucible. In this chapter, I will reflect on why I value

compassionate communitas, post-doctorate directions, and closing remarks.

Why I Value Compassionate Communitas

A friend once told me that the most compelling research questions can arise from painful

experiences. Compassion became compelling to me when I read Stosny's (2008) work on

compassion as an approach to heal and transform relationships, and Armstrong’s (2010) Twelve

Steps to a Compassionate Life. During a personal crisis, I experienced compassion from

individuals who helped me to notice the need for compassion for myself and others because they

accepted and cared for me, and withheld judgment. At the time, these experiences generated a

shift in my core values for how I developed character and responded to challenges.

In my consulting and research, I support people and organizations to share their story

with heart and skill. To paraphrase Nizer (1948), an artist aligns head, heart, and hands. I have

often found one missing component when organizing change efforts: the We story. This story

involves how we unite passions, disciplines, and projects together to accomplish a given task for

a given purpose. I have worked with city leaders, human and social service, grassroots, and

academic professionals and organizations desiring to create local and systems solutions in their

respective areas of concern or disciplinary domains. We co-design compassionate organizations

that deliver official goals, and sustain existence as a stabilizing force in community.

In practice, I work to integrate faith and profession as vocational life. For me, this effort

often involves adapting to adversity, learning how to generate healthy and beneficial change, and

then sharing what I learn to help others. While a limit to anecdotal wisdom, compassionate

communitas can illumine how to diligently live a vocational life (2 Peter 1:5-11), but that

vocation becomes secondary to the love of children, neighbors, and kin. Unexpectedly,

developing a health systems model of compassionate communitas to study partnerships came full

circle to provide a step for repairing the breach in existing modern health approaches to

transition to family. As with the ancient church model of kinship (Ascough, 2002), the faith-

based CSSP provided a surrogate family more than a stepping stone in my career.

The executive director often encouraged me to let the work finish with joy and lightness

because I have the work inside of me, and the faith-based CSSP showed me compassion because

we do the work as a community who cares for each other degree or no degree. True power

means concerning ourselves with our basic needs in matters that affect us because the Lord did

the same in love (1 John 3:16; John 3:16; Mark 10:45; Phil. 1:4, 2:1-6). Years ago, a man sitting

on the bench at the river told me he hoped that I'd make a lot of money with my photography,

and gave me permission to photograph him, where he sat legs crossed, blue jacket, and long

brown hair in winter. That comment struck me as a contrast to the way things could be because

of his generosity, and not mine. I did not submit that image because he deserved the credit, and

not me. I would not capitalize from his situation even with his permission and grace. I wanted a

better return for both of us. Years later, the image has become one of designing health systems

to support people's basic needs and love for a healthy society, and one that each person can

caption. Wisdom from community says, We will do this work together because we're in this

together as the public art by Harold Balazs in my city attests (City of Renton, n.d.). This

community means supporting basic needs in love, and not fear or judgment (1 John 4:18-19).

Post-Doctorate Directions

Moving on, I look forward to contributing storied systems design to other matters of

community health by researching and writing about transitions of faith, life cycle, vocation, and

family. For post-doctorate, I desire to apply storied systems design to engage community for

health systems to support people during transition. Some areas for foci include transition to

motherhood and parenting through postpartum, transition of faith, and regional partnerships for a

health-related goal. I appreciate the opportunity to broaden indicators of success for a thriving

health system, such as exploring what it means to design for interpretations of compassionate

communitas. Russell (2015) defined thrivability as life-giving and prosperous flourishing, and

distinguished thrivability as a next step from survival, sustainability, and resilience because

thrivability expresses how the world improves when disturbed by change and diversity that

enriches people’s propensity to create. These distinctions go beyond prior emphases in

scholarship on survival, sustainability, and resilience, or outlasting, repairing, and recovery

(Russell, 2015). My post-doctorate efforts will support community engagement for the health of

thriving systems, and will teach and do writing and storied systems design research and practice.

Closing Remarks
As for me, I come back to the place where I started before post-graduate school by

converging vocational life, faith, love of God and family in my city. That’s the coming full

circle, but now, synthesizing relationships with people for whom I longed and belonged. That’s

the cherishing of democracy by being involved (Obama, 2017, January 10) as "We the People."

Structures and people might ostracize, but I can still let the work finish with joy. No time for

doubt or rumination anymore because of the behaviors of others. No time to second guess

yearnings for love when raising a human. Better to live congruently, and not in-between, the

faith of my childhood and the faith of my future. Our heritage can bring full selves to the table

because love of God and us, Jesus, waits there, and hopefully, in every sense of the longing of

wanting God's loving best for him while living that loving best the best way that we can as a

community who wants the same for our children’s future. Basic needs plus love equals society.

The faith-based CSSP provided me a space to integrate my liminal pause in my faith and

academic, professional, and family lives as though I walked through gray areas and pain. Yet, I

learned, as the executive director told me once, that it's when I accept the faith of my origins that

I can be more ecumenical. The benefit of reaching out to others meant allowing them a liminal

pause to contemplate their future contribution to their locale in a way that resonated with their

faith. Perhaps in the uncertain and tense times ahead this work can encourage the local church to

stay engaged with its mission in a compassionate and communal way. I hope that the

participants felt encouraged and inspired to continue church outside of walls because our society

can benefit from grace, forgiveness, healing, unity, peace, love, and hope that faith brings to the

table. The internal conflict of doubt about my work and mission came about because of a lack of

validation and environment that mismatched surrogates for achievement and professional life

with spiritual aspirations for love and connection. To paraphrase Participant 1, that all can say,

"I know who I am, and I feel supported to do the work that I am called to do."

That's the meaning of turning toward wholeness that V. W. Turner (1987) spoke about.

We turn away from structures made false because they divide us to be lesser than God’s loving

best. The compassion moves people toward communitas if they connect with themselves and

each other to meet basic needs and to love unfettered by changing status or station, and unbereft

by those who benefit by strife and upheaval. There so abide we all. Christians remain the

world’s most widely persecuted religious group (Hackett & McClendon, 2017). Persecution of

Christians has risen drastically in recent years, especially where Christians are minorities in a

region even though it may seem unpopular to say (Clark, 2017; Pepinster, 2012; Shortt, 2012).

Hate crimes abound. The majority/minority swings as a pendulum unless we press the reset

button and learn a new perspective. Rising population, less shared wealth, and greater unrest.

For this context, compassionate communitas provides a currency once unspoken now

needing re-emergence because compassionate communitas was the flow, but now new. The

unrest nudges that we lost something, and urges discovery of what sacred practice of wisdom we

will need to thrive in years to come where less becomes more. Could it be that, as Participant

1said, we have had this currency available to us all along, that, as Participant 3 alluded, we need

to recover what healthy relations means because as Participant 4 suggested, that relationship ill

health inflicts the larger concerns that human and social services encounter? The conclusions

invite us to bring healthy relating to the forefront of partnership concerns because people need to

work and belong in a family (Seattle's Union Gospel Mission, 2017). That's why resource

allocation isn't enough to solve the problems that plague society. The synthesis of this study

matter to support relational models to partnering and delivery of services and training.

We can return to the design of our origins. Those nascent beginnings of round-the-clock

feedings wrapped in a patchwork quilt in the comforting arms of a caregiver. Return to that

history of hands stitching together scraps formerly discarded on the margins when nothing was

wasted, but everything saved and repurposed for sacred use. Return to the memory of the quilt

that provided practical warmth at night, and one masterpiece of art to admire during the light of

day. Return to that connection to family as an heirloom cherished enough to pass down to future

generations, yet practical enough for everyday carry. Design society as a patchwork quilt that

respects the hands of the women who made them, and if not that, partner in the faith of a fashion

hemmed together by older hands making do with the realities of this world, but hoping anyway

for a future that refuses to let their children’s children go cold or hungry. For now, the quilt

seems enough. The church waits until kingdom come when the ideals become reality. Be

enough until God restores paradise lost. We can, and we will, with God's help.

As for me, I retrieved that Last Supper quilt from the toy chest now painted grey and

filled with books, puzzles, and toys. I will show it to my baby someday, and ask what he thinks.


This chapter shared conclusions and reflections of this study.


This study applied the dimensions of compassionate communitas to systematically

synthesize my reflective short stories and photographs with the visions of participants of a local

faith-based CSSP. This approach suggests possibilities for researchers and practitioners to paint

an actionable picture of an ideal health system at the local level. Future researchers can apply

storied systems design to articulate visions of an ideal future and stories of past experiences of

other partnerships in other locales, and as a patchwork quilt that comforts people with

compassionate communitas by supporting people’s basic needs with safe love. Compassionate

communitas as an affective and spiritual dynamic implies that connection and care matter for

how people collectively thrive as a whole system. Compassionate communitas can support the

movement towards a health system via faith-based CSSPs. However, researchers need a health

systems model (HSM) to bring an ideal partnership to life for a healthful society of thriving for

all. The ideal involves addressing basic human needs for resources and companionship with safe

love by the slow work of meaningful and safe relating of our shared humanity when people

suffer from the consequences of ostracism. Compassionate communitas integrates healing into

ostracized experiences, which makes the wholeness complex (see Fernandez, 1986; V. W.

Turner, 1987). So, not yet articulated in the literature, this health system needs to support themes

for complex wholeness of a faith-based CSSP with the currency of compassionate communitas.


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Appendix A: Influential Conceptions of Organizational Compassion as a Research Model

Table A1
Influential Conceptions of Organizational Compassion via Author, Concept, and Next Steps

Author(s) Concept My Proposed Next Steps
Frost (1999) Organizations function as sites Learn how organizations
of suffering. function as sites of suffering.
Kanov et al. (2004) Defined organizational We need empirical research for
compassion as when people this process in organizations.
collectively notice, feel, and
respond to alleviate another's
suffering, and the use of acting
clarifies the response.
Frost et al. (2006) Interpersonal work, Apply three "lenses" or
compassion as the narrative approaches exist to study
act, and organizing contribute compassion in organizations:
to individual way of life and an Interpersonal work, narrative,
organizational identity. and organizing.
Gallos (2008) Researchers need to Researchers can consider how
adequately consider the the potential toxicity and
potential toxicity and suffering suffering that occur in their
that occur in their work with work influences others.
Adler and Hansen Organizational researchers Organizational researchers can
(2012) need to care deeply about consider how to care deeply
phenomena, topics, and about phenomena, topics, and
students. students.
Seppälä (2013) Defined compassion as Explore compassion beyond the
distinctive from empathy intrapersonal and individual
because compassion involves unit because left as a desire,
an emotional response when then this definition of
perceiving suffering compassion still sounds too
accompanied by an authentic close to empathy, and leaves
desire to help. us wanting from ethical point
of view where good intent does
not necessarily resonate when
results fail.
Maitlis, Vogus, and Emotion signals the need for Research how emotion
Lawrence (2013) and provides the energy that mediates the sense crafting
energizes sense-crafting as a process, such as for
solitary or interpersonal compassion.
process, and a generative or
integrative process (a) because
emotion mediates the
relationship between
unexpected events and
catalyzes sense-crafting, and
(b) because felt emotion
concludes sense-crafting and

Dutton et al. (2014) Adjusted the definition of Explore and test how
compassion as an interpersonal compassion matters at work,
process involving the noticing, explore and test the sufferer’s
feeling, sense-crafting, and role in and experience of the
acting that alleviates the compassion process, highlight
suffering of another person. the interactional and relational
The inclusion of sense-crafting nature of compassion, examine
adds to Kanov et al.'s (2004) cross-cultural differences in
definition for organizational compassionate responding at
compassion as when people work, improve the
collectively notice, feel, and measurement and testing of
respond to alleviate another's compassion as subprocess,
suffering, and the use of acting personal, relational,
clarifies the response. organizational contexts.
Currently, no scales exist to
assess the level of compassion
in organizations, and how this
compassion goes beyond the
individual (see Neff, 2011a,
Lilius (2012) The two definitions for Study how to moderate,
organizational compassion go mediate, or intervene for these
beyond a utopian or feel-good adaptive and generative
value because compassion as consequences of organizational
"suffering with" others does compassion.
not feel good, and can produce
depleting effects in
organizations, which have been
well-documented in literature,
such as burnout and fatigue.
Keltner et al. (2010) Individuals innately possess Learn how to ethically utilize
human instinct for compassion this instinct for compassion,
to survive adversity. such as by helping groups,
teams, or partner organizations
to adapt and generate as
compassion work.
Kouzes and Posner Dyadic leader-follower concern Explore credibility as a
(2003) with the goal of credibility via collective construct, or study
credo, compassion, and compassion beyond individual
consistent results. or dyadic process.
Kouzes and Posner Organizations transform Explore how organizations can
(2014) adversity into an opportunity align individual and
when they align individuals' organizational core values with
core values with those of the compassionate practices.
organizations. Organizations
that fail to align the
organizational core values with
that of individuals may
experience high turnover and
other challenges to
Atkins and Parker Created a model of sub- Study this model of sub-

(2012) processes of response to processes of response to
suffering because significant to suffering because significant to
organizational compassion organizational compassion
involves assumptions about involves assumptions about
how human experiences with how human experiences with
suffering impact well-being, suffering impact well-being,
relationships, and performance relationships, and performance
at work. at work.
Rynes, Bartunek, Called for infusing care and Infuse care and compassion
Dutton, and Margolis compassion into the practice of into the practice of
(2012) management and management management and management
research and teaching. research and teaching.
Miller, Grimes, McMullen, Called for research involving Research how compassion
and Vogus (2012) how compassion mediates, mediates, moderates, and/or
moderates, and/or contributes contributes to cognitive and
to cognitive and emotional emotional motivation for
motivation for leaders to leaders to sustain social
sustain social entrepreneurship.
Russell (2010, 2013, A broader definition for well- Apply a lens for organizational
2015) being emphasizes thrivability thriving to study goals,
or organizational thriving for indicators, and outcomes of
credibility and economic organizational compassion, and
benefits among others. how this process influences or
marks success as thriving.
Kahane (2010) Proposed a theory of practice Apply a lens for organizational
of social change of treating love/power to study goals,
power and love as a two-way indicators, and outcomes of
street instead of as binary and organizational compassion, and
incompatible opposites. how this process influences
Love/power as change work social change as the dialectic
needs leaders to work closely from actioned love/power.
and creatively with people, and
align self-realization with each
part of the whole (Kahane,
2010). However, current
paradigms mismatch this
theory that love/power creates
social change. Rationality
proves inadequate to solve
social problems because people
need to engage with the messy
power that perpetuated the
realities as detached from
human experience and context.
Rosko (2016, September Indicators for success fall Broaden indicators for success
8) under implementation science fall under implementation
and organizational well-being science and organizational
concerns via conceptualizing a well-being concerns via
storied systems design model conceptualizing a storied
suitable for the idealized systems design model suitable
systems design of for the idealized systems
compassionate communitas of design of compassionate

faith-based CSSPs with the communitas of faith-based
goal of wholeness. CSSPs with the goal of

Appendix B: Conceptual, Empirical, and Future Directions for Liminality

Table B1

Previous Conceptions of Liminality

Concept Definition
Process Limen means "threshold" in Latin (V. W. Turner, 1967, 1969;
van Gennep, 1909/1960).
Margins Margins presented an opportunity to transition from individual
powerlessness to new structural roles and collective community
given liminality as a fixed societal position that undermines pre-
existing structure (Mascia-Lees, Sharpe, & Cohen, 1987).
Structure Anti-structure, or the incapacity of any fixed place or institution
to fully hold the holy, or set apart (Lane, 1986).
Liminal organizations or Present (a) multiple rituals and systems, (b) life phases or
leaders transitions in-between positional structures, and (c) threshold
people on the margins who unify under shared conditions to
become communitas (V. W. Turner, 1969).
Ritual van Gennep's (1909/1960) rituals for separation, transition, and
incorporation; this process conceptualized how people pass
through sociocultural ambiguity.
Rites of passage Rites of passage occur as people or social groups ceremonially
increasing autonomy during transition or life crises as one of or
in between these schemas for pre-liminal (separation rites),
liminal) transition rites), and post liminal (incorporation rites)
(Kimball, 1960; V. W. Turner, 1969, 1995; van Gennep,
Personae and Threshold people on society's hierarchical margins who unify
communitas under their shared conditions become communitas, or
dialectically develop together as they leave one phase and enter
another (V. W. Turner, 1969, 1995). Sometimes leading means
transgressing dominant structured roles to a space where people
create new individual roles and collective community together,
and then change society or organizations, or return to prior
norms (LaFleur, 1979; Newman, 1999). Communitas as
essential to holism (V. W. Turner, 1987).
Implications This transitional state raises implications for balance between
contributing to society and fulfilling individual goals with
organizational practicality and sustainability (Dervitsiotis, 2005).
Critical power Liminal transitions challenge postindustrial organizations to
subjectively organize and learn beyond norms (Garsten, 1999;
Tempest & Starkey, 2004). Liminality challenges leaders to rise
above these constraints by approaching them as an opportunity
to locate emergent leaders, or to themselves emerge (DeHart,

Table B2

Recent Empirical Findings of Conceptions of Liminality

Study Finding(s)
DeHart (2008) Participants expressed their experiences with the liminal sphere
of leadership by evaluating supervisor performance with a critical
nature, with vivid yet differing expressions of feelings that
stimulated them to action, some form of emergent breakout, and
with previous activities that resulted in pro-social behaviors.
Lindsay (2010) Explained a liminal organization via structure, self-
presentation/public persona or identity, and culture, such as the
formal structure of a Board of Directors and 501c3 status
development, but without clear members' distinctions, e.g., via
rank, ideology, theology, politics, or goals, resulting in an
"organization like" (p. 165) state of being.
Gioia et al. (2010) Organizations presented liminality via eight thematic second-
order process-driven categories presented in order as follows:
articulating vision, experiencing a meanings void, engaging
experiential contrasts, converging on consensual identity,
negotiating identity claims, attaining optimal distinctiveness,
performing liminal actions, and assimilating legitimizing
feedback. At least two of these stages forge organizational
Edwards (2011) Situated liminality as a subdomain of Distributed Leadership
(DL), and a conceptual framework for community building (CDL)
for social organizing (Delanty, 2003).
Postula and Postula Liminal organization benefited fiduciary structure are protected
(2011) an organization from bankruptcy. Postula and Postula described
liminality as meaning of relationships among different groups,
and occurring via five liminal spaces of duration, support, deep
engagement, and commitment among stakeholders.

Table B3

Research Opportunities for Empirical Inquiry of Conceptions of Liminality

Study Recommendation(s)
DeHart (2008) Research and practice to develop emergent leaders with a more
behaviorally complex (Jacobs, 2005) and flexible organizational
structure (Bass, 2003; Garsten, 1999), and via emergent
leadership. Improve organization's ability to identify potential
liminal leaders. Training that supports uncertainty and with
indicators appropriate to emergent leaders. Literature needs a
model from which to draw referential meaning for the
developmental phenomenon and complexity of the leader liminal
sphere. Apply leader liminal sphere to describe the context for
development of pre-positional leaders. Do not use normative
profile of organizational leaders, or how leaders function. Utilize
development frameworks based on social constructionist and
noncompliance scholarship and practice. Identify how research
and practice limits liminal leaders. Foster active personal inquiry
(Torbert, 2004) permitting a more productive life style (DeHart,
2008). Expand V. W. Turner's (1995, pp. 106-107) list of 26
features of liminal personae as binary opposites with more
characteristics, such as DeHart's (2008) seven general
characteristics of liminal leaders (see p. 42). Contemplate the
value of the liminal life moments, and the preparatory nature of
people amid liminality.
Lindsay (2010) Define and creatively measure liminal constructs to address
liminality as the paradox of anti/organizational being.
Gioia et al. (2010) Analyze findings with eight thematic second-order process-driven
categories presented in order as follows: articulating vision,
experiencing a meanings void, engaging experiential contrasts,
converging on consensual identity, negotiating identity claims,
attaining optimal distinctiveness, performing liminal actions, and
assimilating legitimizing feedback. Test how sequences forge
organizational identity, such as via liminality's cognitive, verbal-
discursive, and action-based identities.
Edwards (2011) Study CDL's constructs that respond to human or social
challenges, such as via symbolism, sense of belonging and
postmodern communicative community, language, liminality, and
friendship for social organizing.
White and Shullman Explain communication implications that involve accepting one's
(2012) origins, even amid prejudice, and behaving and communicating
to collaborate and discuss without muted critique.
Rosko, 2015, April 20 Story communitas in terms of a system of organizational well-
being and a process of storied systems design of compassion.

Appendix C: Conceptions Towards Storied Systems Design

Table C1

Conceptions of Storied Systems Design via Author(s)

Author(s) Concept
van Gennep (1909/1960) Liminality as a social identification process, or as what happens
when people endure rites of separation, rites of transition, and
rites of incorporation. These rites of separation, transition, and
incorporation follow a linear sequence from pre-, to liminal, to
post- liminal.
V. W. Turner (1967, Liminal personae involve how persons exist in-between
1969, 1987, 1995) positional roles assigned by law, custom, convention, or
ceremony. V. W. Turner (1995) called this in-between a sphere
betwixt and between.
DeHart (2008) A stage or sphere of development exists where people operate
between polarities of the extremes of being and not being in a
situation that they desire, or a transitional phase, which DeHart
(2008) related to emergent leadership (Kickul & Neuman,
2000), and that from a critical power perspective with attention
to nondominant individuals in group settings (Northouse, 2010).
Lawrence and Maitlis Three domains of discursive practice for future research: (1)
(2012) how people construct experiences, (2) how people construct
struggles, and (3) how people construct future-oriented stories.
These three domains involve three caring narrative practices:
(1) constructing histories of sparkling moments, (2)
contextualizing struggles, and (3) constructing polyphonic
future-oriented stories (Lawrence & Maitlis, 2012). The goal
involves improving an ethic of care and ontology of possibility in
organizational research and practice.
Stelter et al. (2011) Dialogic witnessing as a marker for third-generation
collaborative narrative coaching, especially for groups.
Stelter and Law (2010); Dialogic witnessing as a marker for third-generation
Stelter (2014) collaborative narrative coaching focusing on and reflecting about
values, providing opportunities in meaning-crafting, and allowing
space for narratives to emerge.
Borins (2011) Narrative can study public innovation, Hua and Morgan (2012)
recommended that future researchers design for strategic
alliance complexity.
Beelitz and Merkl-Davies How organizations actualize discourse with meaningful action.
(2012); Pedersen and
Johansen (2012)
Lieblich et al., 1998 Affective markers to focus interpretation on holistic and
categorical form because doing so provides deeper and more
difficult to manipulate, and so possibly more reliable,
interpretation as aligned with my dissertation's constructs,
multiple texts, and qualitative genre. The holistic-form
emergence searches for how people narrate present life as self-
actualization, and for my dissertation, collective actualization
through the movement of how they narrate their experience
(Lieblich et al., 1998). Categorical-form emergence considers

the intensity and/or frequency of emotionally charged narratives
(Lieblich et al., 1998).
Mattingly (1998) Narratives heal by helping persons to find in-between space to
reconcile tensions between expectations and experiences.
Bakhtin and Emerson Daily socio-performance stories and texts express identity and
(1986); Blau life and death.
(1982/1983, 1990);
Carlson (2003);
Clandinin and Connelly
(2000); Conquergood
(1981, 1983b); Goffman
(1959); Scheibe (1986);
V. W. Turner (1987)
Auslander (1999); Bell A performer, event, audience, and performance provide the
(2008); Langellier conditions for a performance to occur.
Conquergood (1983a, Artistic intent and interaction with a text and public constitutes
1985, 1998); Pelias and performance.
VanOosting (1987);
States (1996)
Rosko (2010) Performance involves an intermediated ritual process mediated
by event, identity, intent, and values-presence. This ritual with
author’s reflections creates an impression of a phenomena that
researchers can study for difficult to access and affective topics.
Boje (1991a, 1991b, Continuously and socially construct and reconstruct events,
1991c, 1995, 2001); actions, thoughts, feelings, and relationships. Critically,
Boje, Luhman, & Baack narratives do not represent reality, but provide a means for
(1999); Bruner (1986, persons to continuously and socially construct and reconstruct
1990, 1991); events, actions, thoughts, feelings, and relationships (Boje,
Czarniawska (1998); 1991, 1995; Bruner, 1986, 1990, 1991; Czarniawska, 1998;
Gergen (1985, 1994, Gergen, 1985, 1994, 2009a, 2009b). E.g., photographs reframe
2009a, 2009b) (Phelan, 1993). Three basic narrative forms include stability,
progressive, and regressive (Gergen, 1994).
Moritz (2014) A unifying theme with emergent levels of meaning as an
interpretive theological discipline.
Lane (1986) Referred to Limen as anti-structure, or the incapacity of any
fixed place or institution to fully hold the holy, or set apart.

Table C2

Narrative Conceptions of Storied Systems Design for Idealized Research and Practice

Level of Epistemology of Moment for
interpretation function delivery
Perception Social Future Ontology of possibility (Lawrence &
construction Maitlis, 2012)
Conceptual Holistic Continuity Continuously and socially construct
frames experience and reconstruct events, actions,
thoughts, feelings, and relationships
(Boje, 1991, 1995; Bruner, 1986,
1990, 1991; Czarniawska, 1998;
Gergen, 2009a)
Text or Narrative Affective Affective markers (Lieblech, et al.,
rhetorics 1998)
Relationships Performance Interaction A performer, event, audience, and
(dyadic+) (external) performance provide the conditions
for a performance to occur
(Auslander, 1999; Bell, 2008;
Langellier, 1986)
Storycrafting Communication Daily Life & Performance associates with
Organizations narrative by redoing experience via
narrative (Peterson & Langellier,
2006). Narrators transform people
as they narrate and experience
turning points in their lives
(Denning, 2005; Peterson &
Langellier, 2006). The conversation
expresss much about people's social
roles and contexts (Langellier &
Peterson, 2004; Peterson &
Langellier, 2006).
Interaction Artistic intent and interaction with a
(internal) text and public constitutes
performance (Conquergood, 1983a;
1985; 1998; Pelias & VanOosting,
1987; States, 1996)
Group Dialogue Communication Dialogic witnessing (Stelter, 2014)
Teams Community or Enduring Enduring relationships and risk,
cohesion relationships effort, and subsequent necessary
clear boundaries involved in
expressing an ethic of care in
organizations (Guzzo & Dickson,
1996; Held, 2005; Liedtka, 1996)
Moral Act Aesthetics Appeal The emergent storyteller's moral
act involves a persuasive and
aesthetic appeal, and an "ongoing
conversation" (Ruminiski, 2008, p.
Partnerships Value creation Distinct roles Voice- receiving, making and
taking, and contributes a socialized
and relational basis to create value

in cross-sector partnerships (Le Ber
& Branzei, 2010); Subsequent
tensions involved in such voice-
work need synthesis across value
creation arguments for salient
critical theories (Le Ber & Branzei,
Ethicality Care Narrative practice (1) constructing histories of
sparkling moments, (2)
contextualizing struggles, and (3)
constructing polyphonic future-
oriented stories (Lawrence &
Maitlis, 2012)
Intent and Performance Artistic intent and interaction with a
outcome practice text and public constitutes
performance (Conquergood, 1983a;
1985; 1998; Pelias & VanOosting,
1987; States, 1996)
Moderators (3) Identity Time Daily socio-performance stories and
texts express identity and life and
death (Bakhtin, 1986; Blau,
1982/1983, 1990; Carlson, 2003;
Clandinin & Connelly, 2000;
Conquergood, 1981, 1983b;
Goffman, 1959; Scheibe, 1986; V.
W. Turner, 1987)
Multiple Process Performance involves a process as
mediated by event, identity, intent,
and values-presence (Rosko, 2010)
Systems View Place People perform narrative to relocate
their sense place (Bolt, 2004), and
so create an emergent story.
Stakeholder or Lifecycle Entry/exit Daily socio-performance stories and
constituent texts express identity and life and
engagement death (Bakhtin, 1986; Blau,
1982/1983, 1990; Carlson, 2003;
Clandinin & Connelly, 2000;
Conquergood, 1981, 1983b;
Goffman, 1959; Scheibe, 1986; V.
W. Turner, 1987)
Context or Value alignment Organizational Ethic of care and discursive practice
environment structure and for narrative practice to succeed for
culture the team and organization, given
the emphasis on social
responsiveness (Lawrence & Maitlis,
Leadership or Inspiration or Influence Manager functions as a practical
management encouragement; author who coordinates the shared
coordination or situation to help participants to
direction understand each other by being
socially responsive to their own and
others' words, gestures, and
feelings (Cunliffe, 2008; Shotter,

1993; Shotter & Cunliffe, 2002)
Power Authority Limitations of Narrative practice in organizations
discursive occurs as partial, conflicted,
narrative practice dynamic sets of vignettes that
provide meaning not full-fledged
cohesive and complete accounts
agreed upon by all members (Boje,
1991, 1995; Bruner, 1986;
Czarniawska, 1998; Gergen, 2009a)
Outcome Expectation Consequence(s) Personae, communitas, or margins
(V. W. Turner, 1967, 1995)
Time Continuity Emergence The continuity involves how people
understand critical life events
(Webster & Mertova, 2007).

Appendix D: Stories and Photographs

This appendix will perform my stories and photographs. I wrote the reflective short

stories for this study after volunteering with a faith-based CSSP, and produced photographs

while volunteering with a faith-based CSSP. These stories respond to Denning’s (2005)

typology for organizational storycrafting. This typology provided a systematic writing prompt to

reduce the limitation of bent or bias toward the topic of compassionate communitas. The

experience of writing these stories involved reflecting and contemplating about how I learned,

valued, contributed, felt challenged by, and envisioned compassionate communitas in my

personal and professional life. Chapter 5 integrated these stories and photographs with

participant conversations (Appendix E) with the compassionate communitas lens of emergence.

Storying me: Leadership workshops. In-between graduate and postgraduate school I

networked in various photography and consulting contracts and pro-bono services to expand my

experience and to contribute to health, education, and the public commons.

Figure 1. Leadership workshops: Story.

I had designed a networking card with a heavy card stock (15 not 14 pt.) that people

noticed and complimented tapping the edge on the table and with a logo that I had created for my

consulting practice. On that card I wrote a tagline on one side for my freelancing to "write,

photograph, research, communicate & lead," and the other side for consulting practice as

"consulting via narrative, intermedia, communication, and vocational development." I sought

post-graduate study to support the narrative, research, and vocational development so that I could

contribute to community engagement for public health with storycrafting, developing

organizational systems, and community relations. My graduate and postgraduate work meant

applying research to practice to make that tagline come to life.

However, as often can seem the case in transitions, I knew that I needed the training and

experience to support my goals. I would also need support synthesizing these areas with

unconventional and creative ways. Meanwhile, I applied to various postgraduate programs, and

interviewed directors, faculty, staff, and students from programs of interest. I made it a practice

to mail people a thank you card with my business card, and stayed in touch with many of them

over social media. The career interviewing calls helped me to discern alignment between my

aspirations and foci, and that of the program and faculty. An unexpected side benefit involved

building my professional network, and the interviews became motivational, and not just for me.

I relished and appreciated the time that people gave me to share their experience and advice.

From these conversations, I knew when to apply, and when to continue searching.

Ironically, it was a no that led me to a yes.

Two nos actually.

I had applied to a program where I could create my own Ph.D. curriculum and program

areas with an interdisciplinary emphasis. I knew that my interdisciplinary themes and methods

were not the singular research design that people expected for an "inch wide and mile deep"

study, and mentors encouraged me to find a program with faculty that supported my endeavors.

After applying to schools since my last summer in my master’s program, a perk that

appealed to me about this program was the location: Who wouldn't want to move out of the

country to a high desert with mountains, lakes, four seasons, and wine country?

I had previously turned down an admission offer to a university at a much colder place

and even farther from my home city. I dreamt that my husband stayed up all night shoveling

snow in the dark. It seemed too much to relocate for the throes of a doctoral program that

needed a support network, and we would have had the added challenge of finding a new job and

developing our marriage and growing our family. I was already doing the community outreach,

civic engagement, finding a church, building a network, and other quality-of-life behaviors in our

current city. It seemed too much of a load to relocate to a Ph.D. program.

"You could always put down roots," a new friend from the faith partnership said over

sushi dinner. My stomach kicked back at that suggestion because of a George Bailey sized

restlessness, of why am I still in my city of origin and what if something is better out there.

Looking back it seems I was already dreaming of life post-graduation than post-graduate.

Sometimes I step ahead of myself as a tree grows around an obstacle in its way.

My life was missing something, true, and it was not more degree programs.

Then the scouting interviews that I had done at this university suggested that this program

might end, or at least lacked the support of the administration, which left alumni frustrated and

worried that they would have labored for a degree to a program that no longer existed, or worse:

ABD or end mid-coursework because a program died during student tenure. Then faced with a

decision to stop, start over, or transfer. Few programs at the Ph.D. level exist for transfers.

I also knew the numbers for completion rates. Less than half of people finish a doctoral

program, and that in 7-10 years. I had already given years and emotional energy to school. I

wanted to finish in half the time. One less thing to focus on so that I could grow a family.

Anyway, adding more classes and years does not necessarily prove one's Ph.D. clout. Degree

conferred does only to the extent that the system wants people to finish by divine intervention,

chance, money, or sheer will at a cost that I did not know at the time. After all, projects take

three times as long to finish than one might expect, and then there’s the disconnect. Out there, in

here, it doesn’t matter. The work needs to be done because I wanted to contribute my vocation

in meaningful work that could support my family for years to come. The ideal anyway, but

degrees, as money, don’t buy love or validation. If anything, they add you to a primal knock list

of sorts because, for whatever reason, in our society if you’re educated and a woman it means

you’re unconventional, unorthodox, or pushing several boulders up a hill wherever you go.

Figure 8. Leadership workshops: Hand painted poster at partner church.

I sought a program that allowed me to accelerate coursework and integrate my

dissertation research into the coursework so that I could be prepared come time for proposal. I

had completed my master’s at a hybrid program with mostly virtual classes, and residency

requirements at campus with faculty and peers. I had blogged about the values of hybrid

programs. However, finding a quality hybrid program where I could study my themes at the

post-doctorate level seemed difficult if non-existent. The university with a snazzy

interdisciplinary program said no citing a lack of faculty to support my interdisciplinary interests.

I said no to the university in the cold (Incidentally, I looked up the program years later,

and it ended in 2015).

Disappointed, I asked God what he wanted me to do. This might have been a better

question to ask up front instead of after trying to jerry rig a system that seemed fairly entrenched

in a certain way of doing higher education, and who was I to say?

"Do you just want me to get a job?"

(One that pays?)

I had been working all this time on consulting or photography contracts, caregiving, civic

engagement, and writing, but not always (usually) paid. Of course a job is a necessity for most

people married or not. Save maybe the 62 wealthiest in the world. (Who knows?)

Having been a full-time student engaged in entrepreneurial work with photography and

consulting, perhaps the cubical life contained me after all even though something else beckoned.

I realized how pitifully privileged that I sounded.

I searched for a job.

Fortunately, I found one that was not a cubicle life, but a community engagement

position for rural health in another country. This intrigued me. The requirements asked for a

master’s in organizational development, but would consider other degrees. My master’s would

have sufficed, and I would have loved to help them with organizational development. Only I had

at that time not connected what I was already doing with that kind of work. I needed a

framework, a method to facilitate the creative writing, photography, communication consulting,

and leadership coaching that I was doing. I needed to know how to develop organizations, and

not just my own research and writing, but that conveyed value to the organization.

Time to skill up. Time for applied research. So I searched for a post-graduate program

in organizational development, which seemed sparse at the time, until a friend suggested that I

try her school, which I had interviewed before for my master’s, and rejected for other reasons.

This time, I decided to apply, was accepted, and started the program the next month that summer.

The next five years I volunteered with a faith-based partnership in my city. I co-

facilitated and designed workshops with them to develop their leaders. They sought me out to

help them to maintain their identity and horizontal communication during a transition to a formal

fiduciary status. A leader of the faith-based CSSP expressed a desire to alleviate fears associated

with this change by applying story and by including contributors who might fear that this change

would diminish or take away from their core values because of the change in structure, and the

attention to finance. There were also concerns about sustaining a volunteer population and the

organization beyond the current leaders, long-timers, and champions. The executive director

shared a value for storycrafting and dialogue as my consulting methods. My job was not to make

them feel comfortable with the change of their choosing, but to guide them to preserve their

organizational core values and identity in line with their own stories that informed their official

goals and motivation, which for them often connected to their faith and social justice.

Figure 12. Dialogue: Unity service at partner church.

With the executive director and board president we co-designed and facilitated

workshops using dialogue and storycrafting to help program leads to know and share the story of

their motivation, their fieldwork, and their goals together for the organization. Then we worked

on translating these stories into marketing language for their website, and for fundraising

speeches, or even simply answering people with an elevator pitch of under two minutes their

value for this organization with a call to action for people to participate with them.

My first time facilitating a workshop put some soul back into my confidence, which

seemed sagging by that time of an uncertain quest of yeses and nos from programs.

The tragedy seemed not if people agree with my value, but not realizing that I already

contributed value without and beyond a paycheck in a role not yet normalized.

"You know when someone's eyes light up, and you can just tell that they are passionate

about what they're talking about?" the executive director asked me.

I nodded.

"Well, that's what you did," she replied.

The executive director repeated to me over the years that we have in us the ability to do

the work.

"May we do the work with a lightness and joy," she prayed. "Trusting that you are in it

and the work comes from you."

Figure 22. Cross framed by blossoms after partner church meeting.

I used to feel confident and enthusiastic about the work, especially in a supportive

graduate program and from mentors who lovingly guided me, but genuine confidence needs

more than enthusiasm or passion. Passion and enthusiasm peter out after a while especially if

there's more uncertainty and adversity in one's life than affirmations.

I told her the story of when I was a little girl, and I heard Pastor preach about being with

God and heaven if I believed in Jesus. My dad walked me through this "Romans Road" as I told

him that I wanted to become a Christian, and we sat at home on a burlap couch the kind that

leaves scratchy indents on your cheek if you take a nap on its firm pillow. Our long-haired part-

Persian brown calico cat loved scratching with her paws each a different color the armrest to

shreds that billowed out lumps of white poly-fill. After we prayed I jumped up and danced

around the living room with burnt orange carpet straight from of the 1970s.

"I'm a Christian!" I said over and over twirling in circles.

The executive director advised me to go back to that joy in my work.

"You are the person now taking joy in this work. Your consulting and academic work is

a ministry. You take joy in those things. Be that girl who twirls around and dances with joy

about your work." She explained that her theology does not separate things, but integrates them

because God is involved in all things. It was as though she shared a little spark that she had

found hidden under a rock that had been nearly snuffed out for a while.

I felt thankful.

Yet, I also did not like where this was going. I came to serve them. Why are they

serving me? Is that professional, or even ethical? Or am I just hiding behind a mask

overthinking to cover up what I suspect I really needed? Sometimes there's a difference between

what we need and what we want. Sometimes the striving covers up the yearning for a life of

more than meaningful work, but of thriving. Trouble was, the main ingredient for thriving had

been missing. Besides, whether or not I felt like I knew what I was doing was not the point. I

was out there doing ministry with my skillsets degree or no degree.

Of course, the degree mattered for the investments, training, and career opportunities.

The learning needed to come in tandem with service, but not just me giving to them, the

pain of humility of receiving from them the lesson that they, whether aware or not, taught me.

We need work, and something more than work, to know that we are loved, wanted, and belong,

and from that place we contribute our gifts. We give and receive. We keep giving and receiving

even when people reject, hurt, or society invalidates that work with or without a paycheck.

That is vocational living that transforms when it yields access to people who care and

inspire by example with joy, community, and compassion.

My questions then seem silly now, and the bridge that I needed to cross over the distance

from me to we, but then, in that moment at the workshop as I watched people nod their heads,

and chat with each other sharing stories that meant something to them, I felt part of something a

little better than myself, and it was not the size of the wealth, but the health, that mattered.

It seemed almost a blasphemous thing to say I felt hurt in the past, especially if

authoritarian leadership confused the heart of spiritual motivation. Even in inter-church circles,

where some fear that evangelism means overly proselytizing at the expense of community and

compassion, while others fear that community and compassion mean abandoning the truth. As a

woman, I struggled to find my place to serve for the church, but maybe not the kingdom of God.

It was the light that I desired to recapture in myself. A spark that felt snuffed out for

awhile because a person needs faith, hope, and love as a room needs air to be safe and life-

giving, and not a dangerous or life-ending, place to stay.

These workshops, surprisingly, led me on a path in the next few years to recover the joy

that I once had known, but lost, while contributing my vocation to learn, grow, and serve for

church, neighbors, and family. The faith-based partnership provided a room of airy boundaries

as the large windows in the conference room for the workshop because it affirmed my gifts in

relationship and for a shared purpose of living out a joyful faith from a place of health and love.

That joy when nurtured gives a little more confidence each day.

The board president and executive director smiled at me.

The groups returned to the room from their break chatting, and seemed energized.

We reassembled.

We shared our stories.

I became not a teacher, designer, or facilitator that day, though access began that way. I

became one of their circle who taught them how to share their story of their contribution, and I

began to write my own. They taught themselves by participating. We wrote our contribution

together. Something they likely already did, but needed the opportunity to do together and not in

isolation. To understand more closely. I was not the distant lecturer or wise facilitator because

they shaped the story of my contribution, too.

"I know that's right," I said out loud in response to someone's comment.

She looked up at me surprised, laughed, and I continued teaching.

Different a little bit.

Maybe standing a little taller.

Less sure of myself, and more sure of us.

Happy and relieved that I offered them something of value because they valued what gift

I brought to the table.

May we all know that feeling.

Storying we: Easter sunrise service. I rolled out of bed at 5:30 AM on a Sunday. The

birds still asleep and quiet on the dark morning, I dressed in layers with green thermals to

account for the cold of early Spring in the Pacific Northwest. This was my second year attending

the Easter sunrise service at the park by the lake. I looked forward to this service waiting each

year for a feeling that I did not understand then, but anticipating something new and free.

I looked up and marveled at the soft pink and purple backdrop that silhouetted the two

tall evergreen trees that stood as sentinels overlooking my house as I pulled from the driveway. I

often gazed at those trees from my office window. Any glimpse of sun or sky, even overcast,

will do. Especially on zero lots.

This year I brought the wine. At this ecumenical Easter sunrise service they serve wine

and juice from a goblet, and break a loaf of bread to dip in the goblet: Be free to choose.

Figure 23. Easter sunrise service over lake.

I joined a few dozen people huddled in the covered as the fire pit blazed, people spoke,

and we sang.

I was raised in a small Baptist Church that sang out of green hymnals as we stood up and

down in orange upholstered pews, and the older folks took time to chat, or told me that I had a

nice smile, or talked to me about the Lord, and not just school, work, or the "MRS" degree.

Years later at the sunrise service outside on the edge of the lake we huddled under the

covered area of people of many faces, sizes, ages, and colors as a multicolor coat huddled around

the firepit to share warmth. I felt the cold breeze sting my cheeks, my numb fingertips holding

the program, and watched the world go by as it stood still: the treeline east of us growing yellow

from the rising sun behind them, the bush next to the shelter, the wooden steps that smelled as tar

and that led down to the water's edge, the tiny pink flowers that dotted the hillside, the hats,

scarves, mittens of the gatherers, and the baby duck crossed the lake all by itself.

Outside of a building of walls there's a togetherness because being together won't be

contained as the world goes by as it stands still.

Pastor G's message stood out to me as we answered refrains and I fuddled through event

program with fingertips numb from the cold.

"You have to leave the tomb, and return to Galilee," she said.

Figure 17. Easter sunrise service over trees.

"In your backyard is your Galilee. You can't stay in the tomb. You have to go into your

backyard into your Galilee. To serve. You hear what I'm saying?"

We nodded our heads.

Our city was our Galilee, and our homes.

I felt a déjà vu, but forward time. The last few years certainly seemed a dark place of

how it can feel being emptied as a person. The outer wall seemed washed clean, the vision

bottomless and boundaryless, but why sit on a dirt floor crying without dead bones?

The sun edged its way up the trees on the hillside to the east of us. Shadow became the

rule, but not for long as the sun eclipsed it from purview.

This group valued community as a garden gate to serve neighbors and engage the world.

Love of neighbor opens that gate without trampling the roses.

Jesus left his empty tomb.

"You hear what I'm saying?"

He went on his way, but not before commissioning his followers to go, too.

Go or stay seems too simple in some matters of human affairs.

Sometimes it starts with what we leave behind on the inside that no longer serves us.

Then realizing there's a world outside as a threshold after which death passes over, and

the light invites us to step out and live.

Figure 20. Cross and vine via sunlit doorway at partner church.

Sometimes the familiarity of pain of emptiness confuses the joy of what needed to be

emptied in the first place.

Perhaps making room for other possibilities sits the angel on the stone rolled away.

"Why are you crying? He is not here."

Return to your Galilee, and serve.

A simple message that seemed to end poignantly needing no further explanation as an

ideal for which to live, and not strive. As we dispersed, I began to walk away on the uneven

concrete patio squares. As I departed, a friend, an older woman, stopped me to ask how I was

doing. She wanted to know my plans for Easter.

I hesitated.

"You can come with me and my family." She invited me to her family's dinner, but I

declined. Somehow we transitioned to the topic of motherhood, and I started to cry. She started

to cry. And I wondered how am I supposed to be a professional consultant standing here on the

fringe of a parking lot in-between a park and an Easter sunrise service…


Appropriate for the holiday, and yet a paradox that seemed to fit, but not without that

feeling I couldn't shake of in-between.

She told me her family story.

"There's more than one way to be a mother," she said.

The board president walked by and asked if we were okay. Then she started to cry, and

told me her family story. After encouragements, we dried our tears, and hugged goodbye.

Figure 24. Opening between trees near site of service.

It was a brief encounter that pulls my heartstrings today.

"I wish you could see what I see," she said. "You are so loving, accepting, and smart."

There goes that disconnect again. Wary of dumping on them my problems, aware of my

role to serve, I thanked her, hugged her back, and contemplated her words. Affirmations

resonate and echo forward through time until we can pick them up again and understand their

meaning: to reconnect with who we are because love, boundaries, service, or those makings of

healthy lives and relationships, come from who we can be because of who we are created and so

need to be. Tragically, that identity can become clouded and need the clarity and freshness of

clear air and a spansive lake with soft sunrises that brighten gray areas.

This scenery comforts and consoles the reviving of life because coming back to life can

feel painful because the heart knows when forces enter its sacred space and deplete it until

shrinking in to itself tight and small, and the body knows, too, but tries faithfully to keep going

until the waiting stops, and a new season of synthesis, of seedlings and saplings, emerges, and

we can watch them grow into trees, Sentinels even, as the sun casts their shadow on the shorn

grass dotted with tiny white daisies. The trouble seems that growing takes time that adds up to

years even if you retrace steps, you still can lose yourself in the forest, and no matter the effort,

the growing happens when heart and spirit learns heals touched by a spark that revives

connection from love instead of wounds. Perhaps more than we have or want to give, but the

ecology of life needs healthy growth, and that needs the power of love because it’s We not Me.

The ecology of life truly goes at the speed of agriculture and family. It’s the caresharing

in-between the bookends of the oldest and youngest of us, or the most vulnerable, that the speed

of modern society tramples. We can slow down to plant seeds for a future hope.

We show up.

My new friend planted seeds for me that day. I showed up because of the help of others

up until that time and because of the work that I had done to come, but work can’t buy love.

I've since stopped wondering if such behavior is professional. Too much ruminating

anyway. Modern professionalism, however needed in the short-term, in the long-term must not

be a surrogate to love. Basic needs first, and love. Love, love, love! It was a holiday after all,

and not a board meeting. A community celebration, and one about new life that looks forward to

the future with hope instead of over the shoulder at an empty tomb even though that reality cut

deep after prayers for unity and a plea for forgiveness and connection (Luke 23:34-35; John 17).

We need peace with both for compassionate community.

Silly, shelter was not a house.

It was a hug at the beach.

Pastor G's message and V's hug have stayed with me over the years morphing in

meaning: We leave behind what destroys to participate with life.

We live, and not force, that life to serve from the inside to the outside.

It makes sense that an Easter sunrise service lent such a turning point.

As the sign read above the doorpost of a partner church where I married the one I knew

since my West Hill days: "Go in peace."

Storying the organization: Day in the life of faith. I won't bore you with a day in the

life of my life, but I will tell you to drolling abstraction about one day that seemed to repeat for

almost four years. Days seem a strange yet fitting way to conceive faith because the timing of

the thing just doesn’t always add up. Sometimes faith surprises you. Other times, a day in the

life can weigh you down in the dark if you carry too much on your own.

Figure 14. Reflection of sky in puddle after a sunrise service.

A friend calls these times desert seasons.

Often they show up in the in-between times in life that seem disorderly and painful.

Often those desert seasons happen in-between what seems ok to show and what isn’t. Such as

caresharing. Those kinds of seasons when you feel like a person, circumstance, or yourself has

siphoned your energy leaving only a paper-like shell of a person who walks on a gray-area in

between what once was and might be, but is not yet, but can be, in-between what I used to

believe and what I wanted to believe. Keep moving to stay alive (Rapaille, 2006).

Maybe the in-between seems that shadow of death of Psalm 23. Maybe it's not so much

the death as it is shadow from the sun behind the mountain peaks whilst we walk in the kill zone

that haunts us because the shadow proves the in-between, the valley of something that we walk

through. If not for company we might blend in to grey.

What I thought that I wanted was to return to the joy that I initially experienced when

contributing my faith to my personal and professional daily life. If only I could finish, get

through this valley, then I would feel relieved. Yet feelings, too, refuse to be marshalled as

water that flows through fingers of a cupped hand. I used to feel so much enthusiasm, but

sometimes prolonged experiences can edge vitality of a hopeful variety from a person. It can be

difficult to slow down and rest when you want to be done with it already.

Yet, slowing down and resting is what's needed because it's the slowing down and resting

that can make the finishing drive possible because the slowing down and resting just might keep

us alive and sane long enough to look down and see what we've been holding. Look over to see

another path. Notice the person alongside you on their path.


Watch where you’re going.


Figure 15. Reflection of sky in lake after a sunrise service.

Stories provide that speed.

"I rest enough. I'll rest when I'm dead," some might say. Efficiency trumps beauty,

speed caring because it hinders the slowing down to rest for ourselves and to notice each other.

A day in the life.

"New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings," said Lao Tzu, allegedly, I read


The cycle of time continues as ever in-between beginnings and endings.

Figure 16. Reflection of bridge inverted in lake after sunrise service.

A perception of time impacts perceptions of urgency, and beliefs about urgency help to

prioritize tasks, or so the organizational clock tick-tocks. A task approach to a day can seem

useful yet dreadful, even though it feels productive, because there's no emotion to hang the hat

on. No heart to hold the meaning, and no hands to hold. After the task finishes, only an anxiety

to start again without celebration, commemoration, honor, or homage to what went before.

"God always keeps his promises," said a sticker with hot pink, blue, purple, and yellow

butterflies that I had stuck on my light switch growing up.

When my family of origin moved from the rambler, that sticker was the one thing I

wanted to keep. That and maybe the white rope hammock strung between two trees in the

backyard. Especially the refrigerator, over which I had mourned dramatically even though it was

bright rust orange because I wanted to eat, and after interrogating my dad about if we were going

to take the fridge with us or not, was not clear to me that we would have another one.

I used to pray for our meals as a child, and thank God for every single item in the fridge

that I liked that was now in my sandwich ad tedium until I saw my family's frustration mounting.

Moving, then, seemed like a death knell. As a child, I thought they were crazy to give up

that fridge. How would we eat? Where would we live?

Basic needs, basic needs, basic needs...

[I am speaking]

[Here I am way over here]

Do they hear me?

Earlier, blank white pages in the book of memory, but the instinct of fear remained:

Run away, run far far away.

Courage to sneak past the mean dog, and then stand at the crossroads.

Yet, at the crossroads, where would I work? How would I feed myself?

I walked in circles around the house, and prayed to the God that I knew listened, and wait

for his answer. Wait for something I did not know. Wait for something that others seemed to

have now. Why not me, too? It did not matter. Continue praying, eating, walking, being

together. Whatever it is will become apparent. Someday!

A day in the life of faith a tension between where water meets sky and sun meets clouds,

the need for prayer and reflection, yet action and love.

Neither can happen without the blessing and inconvenience of rain.

As rain, common Grace only grace when grace for all.

Figure 18. Sunset over lake where held sunrise service.

As an adult, slowing down and resting challenged me to trust God's timing, to allow the

process to unfold without an end outcome, to let go of what no longer served to me, to remain

cautious, but not hindered, from the lessons that I had learned, to continue serving in my city and

community, and to reach out again to my inner circle.

Sermonizing now, when tired or drained of hope, it seemed a matter of time before these

pieces fell apart or together, or maybe both. It takes pride and humility to make big decisions

and contribute to any crucible, such as post-graduate school, or other rites of passage in life. The

trouble with pride is that it yields no answer only striving.

Rites of passage involve relationships. As much as we might assume that we’re

independent with modern trappings of rectangle houses and orange refrigerators, we move

toward a future of hope and peace in concert or resistance with others. There’s not an in-

between on this one indirectly or directly together together still the same. The garden wanted

freedom, but needed a gate. Developing harmony with people by supporting basic needs and

love that heals so that we can then benefit someone else with that comfort.

Maybe a day in the life of faith beckons a person to believe that God is good more than

an invisible answer about willing an expectation or forcing an outcome to come to pass.

Continue walking in circles.

Maybe a day in the life of salvation involves an expression of the transition from

individual sin-repentance to peace with God as also a communal gospel of turning toward God

for peace with God, self, and others to reflect a God of love and grace at peace with his creation.

Continue praying for each other.

Maybe a day in the life of the gospel calls for more than the individual consuming Jesus

in the heart in fast food fashion, but learning to unlearn a life of disconnect to live the life and

message of Jesus permeated and integrated in all that I do, desire, am, become.

Continue living.

Maybe a day in the life of faith-based partnering needs more than sectors to integrate the

whole. Maybe a day in the life of faith needs a way to relate and engage in a way that the world

understands and needs while keeping at its core the heart of another kingdom come.

Continue caring for each other.

Integrity. Not just of individuals and character aligning their whole selves forward in

love, but synthesizing vocation and faith to repair structures that limit love to rebuild anew.

These sentiments ebbed and flowed in my years as a sand shore that divided a fuzzy line

of the faith of my childhood with the pangs of today, and the faith that I desired in my future.

Beyond sermonizing now, my daily routine without the faith of my childhood, without

my family, and without the faith-based CSSP would have been reduced to seemingly numb void

of feeling abstract musings neither of which were bad, but lonely for sure.

One of my mentors used to say that some things you can only learn by experience.

Perhaps some things can also only be learned over time, and, as much as I relish reflection and

contemplation, that not in isolation. I attended the faith partnership’s monthly meetings most of

the time when I could outside of class, transition to parenthood, and work. I also attended board

meetings to offer feedback about how they framed or languaged things, and a systems

perspective. An organization shows a day in many people’s lives governed by tasks, procedures,

goals, and meetings. Seems funny to think of faith as an organization with modern rules and

cultural norms. Faith originates from somewhere.

Does faith need organizing?

Why not can God just bless our mess?

My experiences with this faith-based CSSP brought me back to the person who started

the post-graduate, professional, character development rite of passage, which seemed a crucible

of privilege, a mantel of delayed adulthood meets adulating, but nonetheless marked by pain. A

day in the life marked by pain needs a threshold to pass through to live.

The executive director kindly reminded me that that same person who struggled then was

the same person who brought me back to this place where I regained values and perspectives that

I had so desired, and once practiced, but that the yearning and the pain proved, as another mentor

told me, that my desires originated from a good and loving place, and so were correct.

I am that same person.

God is that same person.

We the People…







The river flows through me, and passes by until I remain.

Wet and shaking, but here and now.

Choose three pebbles from the riverbed as a memento, and rub the sides together.

Without us, how would the river flow?

The story arc of origin, as the river, now that's the clock to keep time.

That's the sense to craft in a day in the life.

The executive director reminded me that spiritual living does not split a person into two

separate things, such as two pieces of oneself confused by the adage to balance work, life, and

God, or to prioritize God, then family, then the church, then everything else.

I used to question if I was a Christian because I felt skeptical about a rigid way of

applying cultural values to matters of faith, especially if those values devalued a person’s worth,

contribution, or enabled destructive behavior. I felt skeptical around modern organizing that

mismatched the teachings of Jesus. I also felt skeptical of leaving Jesus out of the table.

A day in the life of faith meant searching for a church home that was about a bigger

kingdom than itself. Now I know as I had suggested some years ago, but forgot for awhile, that

living a holistic integrated life and vocational faith in the classic not modern sense still mattered

to me as a believer. This faith still loves and welcomes the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and

from that loving power can give compassion to people.

Figure 9. Bee lifts off from lavender at a regional church event with partners.

What is a day in the life?

That yearning for unconditional love and belonging to fuel the coming together to

express vocational living, the hospitable action of sharing with each other as the economy even

as peace seems evasive, and so desired.

Bend to the wind, do not break; nap in the storms, do not panic.

Maybe there was something to that years-ago rainbow and sunshine sticker on my light

switch about faith in a God who "always keeps his promises." You know where to go to to turn

the light on because it’s not that God as a magician makes outcomes appear the way that I like at

the time I expected. God makes visible what was already present in the room.

It’s that undying unadulterated confidence that God will show up as good in the land of

the living (Psa. 27:13). Maybe that’s the start of daily life for a faith with and without walls.

Then we can see in the dark. As my now extended and ecumenical church family says,

and that I read on a sign over the library door as I exited to walk down the aisle:

Go in grace.

Peace be with you.

Go in peace because

God so loved…

That He…

So We…





We can Be.

Storying knowledge-sharing: Food distribution. The purple, white, and yellow irises

perked up to face the sun in the foreground of the Housing Authority building. I returned to my

car to leave my coat because of the warm sun and blue sky.

Figure 25. Food distribution: Iris at housing building.

Today was the first Thursday of the month, which meant that it was the day to distribute

fresh produce to seniors residing in government housing. The volunteers gathered in the cool

room to clean and organize our set up, and coordinated with the nonprofit manager and the

government caseworkers involved. This was the first such event in this area, and so it was a pilot

to assess needs of the local population, and if a food distribution of fresh produce would succeed.

This is also my first volunteering for this food program. Donors included local farmers market

and national grocery chain. There were about eight volunteers. Two for the table, two to

coordinate flow, two to intake, and two runners for fetching various needs. Mostly, we

communicated our process so that the distribution went smoothly.

A few seniors waited outside backlit by the sun as we set up in the main room and patio.

The small cork bulletin board by the door held various official announcements or

guidelines, such as how to prevent bedbugs, how to perform proper hygiene, gatherings for

events, phone numbers, and so on.

The food truck arrived, and there was a problem with the mechanics of the door, and so

volunteers and the driver hand carried the boxes to the table.

Residents checked their mail in the box outside while they waited, chatted together, or sat

on a bench alone.

My job was to intake residents at the front door, to communicate the process, to give

them a ticket with a number on it to tell them when it was their turn, to ask them to fill out their

necessary forms with the person at the computer, and then to sit down and wait in the waiting

room with rows of brown metal folding chairs. Residents spoke various languages given the

diversity of the area, such as Russian, Ukrainian, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Spanish.

We counted 42 senior residents that day in a timespan of one-and-a-half hours.

Figure 4. Food distribution: Sign in waiting room.

A woman with short black curly hair smiled at me. She reminded me of the yellow iris

outside beaming in the sun. We struck up a conversation while we waited. She told me that she

moved here to take care of her ailing mother.

"It was the least I could do," she said, because her mother had raised her, and done the

same for her.

So she waited in line with two food bags instead of one to gather food for herself and for

her mother.

I wondered at the time if I would have the compassion to sacrifice or do the same thing.

The following month I brought a friend. I had met this friend, of all places, at wine

tasting at a bottle shop down the street. Since then we walked together, and shared lunch and

conversations. We laughed a lot. We prayed together even though she did not describe herself

as religious. We talked about family, life, where we lived, and the future.

At the food distribution, our duty involved guiding flow on the patio, which meant

ensuring that people came to the food table two by two, and not all at once, and left through the

exit door, and not the entrance, and otherwise did not crowd or block access to the doorways or

food table. Also, we were to help people with their bags and remind them for hygiene to point at

the food they wanted instead of sorting the vegetables and produce by feeling them for firmness

and bruises as they might have been accustomed to when doing their own shopping.

My smiling iris friend from the month prior waved at me, and complemented my smile.

It seemed a foil to the circumstances because she carried such joy.

Another lady insisted on looking through a box for tomatoes and eggplants that was in

the queue, but not yet on the table. The process was that boxes in the queue waited their turn for

the boxes on the table to be emptied, and then, and only then, could the boxes in the queue

behind the volunteers be placed on the table for selection.

Dissatisfied with the answer, the lady returned to the waiting room to wait.

After a while the box she wanted was ready to be placed on the table.

She returned, and the food volunteer had already taken out the tomatoes and placed them

on the table for viewing. The resident picked up each of the vegetables and put them back on the

table with a frown and turned and walked away.

Figure 5. Food distribution: A volunteer hands a resident produce.

Discussions ensued held later with the manager and caseworker about communicating

frustration in a way that did not lower morale for residents, and that preserves the process.

Two men drove in single file on their motorized wheelchairs with baskets in the front and

reusable food bags ready to go. These two seemed partners in crime if they could be, but instead

joked with each other and volunteers while they selected their produce.

My friend and I watched every interaction and opportunity to show kindness, patience,

and it seemed more than anything, to learn from residents. Learning seemed such an

inappropriately necessary luxury, maybe even almost a judgment, of my privilege to be there

standing for a few hours to assist people through a food line.

I snapped myself out of this self-flagellation and saw a lady standing next to me waiting

her turn. We talked about, oh, I don't remember, but we talked.

I looked forward to serving this program because of my heart for seniors. When an

undergraduate, I volunteered at a nursing home (Claudon, 2000). I had provided respite care for

my grandma for years and wrote about my experience with her end of life (Rosko, 2010).

Creativity, I had argued, performing intermedia and defining writing broadly as multimodal, or

using various ways to create symbols, provided a ritual to help me through fear and loss.

Compassion and virtue, I had mentioned, where what we needed (Rosko, 2010), an

almost side note that I forgot for a while until I returned to the topic of compassion for post-

graduate study.

Life is not all about pursuits, but sometimes, especially these days it seems, putting food

on the table.

Can you graduate if you can't eat?

Can you help others if you’re hungry?

The red sign on the clean white wall still makes me feel hungry and somewhat unnerved

in the tidiness of it all. Not for the power of suggestion to Eat, but for the white space around the

red letters. Too much room, too much space, too much sterile for error.

I began to worry about my investment in my educational goals.

Why consider learning a luxury, and an expensive one at that?

More to the point, how am I improving quality of life for myself and others?

As a book I read once, We can’t eat prestige (Hoerr, 1997).

You can’t eat a sign religious, government, or otherwise.

Figure 13. Food distribution: Quote pinned on bulletin board.

Those gestures, while needed, are not out there. They come from who we are and what

we value.

My friend and I laughed together as we often did, and her presence made the afternoon

feel accessible.

It didn’t sit well with me that other people's hunger and lack gave a learning opportunity.


Later, my friend told me how much the afternoon meant to her. She was moving away

next week, and I encouraged her to find opportunities to serve at her new locale. She told me the

she did not feel afraid of going out anymore, that she was ready for the new change in her life,

and she thanked me for including her.

There's something to be said for perspective. For acts of lovingkindness however brief.

For sunny iris smiles, for people disgruntled with free food when they want to choose it

themselves, for friendship, for laughter, for healing, for moving on while people stand in line.

Apparently, just because people are hungry, old, young, retired, working, not working,

studying, moving, makes him no less community or any less human.

"It takes many people to make a community," the board president once told me.

My friend told me later how much I helped her in her recovery from trauma by inviting

her to do community work. She said she felt bummed that she was moving, but that I motivated

her to do community work in her new town. She now walks with women of color.

Many kinds of people it takes to empower community.

When we're hungry for produce or soul food, that's when we need community the most.

Storying values: Fundraising gala. At the gala it was time to celebrate.

Good news! Big news because this was the first annual gala of the faith partnership.

Figure 10. Fundraising gala: Welcome table.

It was the first year the faith partnership hosted a fundraising gala at the Pavilion in the

city center. It was October, and I had just visited the location one week prior for Oktoberfest.

Inquiring minds will want to know that I drank a fizzy yet tasty dunkel underneath a canopy of

trees, bedazzling party lights, and a blue sky. Welcome warmth and togetherness before winter.

This week the pavilion buzzed with gala energy as accompanies something new,

worthwhile, fun, and exciting, and that seemed to join the pomp of the leaves outside that turned

bright orange, red, and yellow for Fall. People dressed in their cocktail best lined up at the door.

I wore my ruched black cocktail dress. The silent auction had already begun, and my friend and

I walked up and down the aisles scanning the tables with various items up for bid.

Baskets of wine and cheese, tea, artwork, and other products by local companies and

artisans donated to the Gala impressed a lot of people was their quality, and received bids.

One unassuming item hung on the wall caught my attention. I examined it closely, and

only one person had placed a bid on the paper. The item was a quilt, and it was odd for me to be

interested in such an item because I tend to like a minimal style, but the court was so functional.

It was a quilt of the Last Supper no less. A yellow quilt with a blonde haired blue-eyed Jesus in

the middle with his hand upraised.

I smiled. Something about the quilt seemed amusing. Almost mischievous, and wholly


I placed a bid. My first ever bid at an auction that was not a cake walk anyway.

I walked away as though I had done something secretive, and glanced furtively around

my shoulder to see if anyone else would outbid me. For the next half-an-hour I scouted tables

with my friend, and then circled back to my bid.

Someone had placed a counter bid.

How high did I want to go?

I had a limited budget after all being a full-time student.

But really, a yellow quilt of the Last Supper of blond haired blue-eyed Jesus? Who could


I placed a counter bid.

It seems that the man who had placed the counterbid guarded the worksheet, too, because

this time I could not make a clean getaway.

He joked that I outbid him, I smiled, then made my best poker face, and walked away

nonchalantly, but soon thereafter checked the bidding. He had not placed a counter bid.

I won the last supper!

If you know the story of the last supper, be careful what you wish for.

Turns out the quilt was made by a long-time supporter of the faith partnership who had

died in recent years, and her family had donated the quilt to be auctioned.

Figure 26. Playground at partner church at last meeting of a year.

The rest of the evening progressed with dinner, a dessert table auction, a slideshow and

speeches by various leaders in the organization including the board president, executive Director,

and director of the day shelter.

I liked hearing people introduced as "the Reverend Doctor," and made a mental note to

speak to one of the speakers afterwards about his work with ecumenism.

The most memorable speech, though, was not a speech at all because it came from a mom

with her two kids who all thanked everyone for how the organization helped them to get back on

their feet. Another single mom shared her story.

It seemed a great divide with us dressed in our cocktail best sitting at 8-seat table rounds

having paid event tickets, eating catered food, and placing bids on fun or luxury recreational

items, and this person relaying how she slept in her car with her kids until she heard about this

wonderful and unique faith partnership, and then she slept in cots with her kids in the rooms of

different churches that rotated with volunteers to give them somewhere to sleep at night, a food

program during the day, and a day center at which they could shower and interview.

This faith partnership stood in the gap providing services that others could or would not,

and deserved support.

Still, the feeling nagged at me as tension because of the reality of their suffering hit

home. It could happen to me. To any of us.

Figure 21. Candle with painting at a partner church for a meeting on hunger.

I noted the smiling souls around the room. Many champions, supporters, and officials

had made the day shelter a reality, and attended the gala to continue their support. I wondered

how long they could sustain the budget with galas with the same loving generous bunch who

gave their time and efforts to support the partnership weekly.


Part of my consulting job involved helping them sustain their organization.

At the end of the gala, the payment system for the auction items malfunctioned, and so

the volunteers received payments manually. My friend and I waited at the end of the line

reveling in the fun of the evening and chatting with other line-goers. I gave the volunteers my

bidder’s ticket, and paid for the quilt. They inspected the quilt before handing it to me.

Figure 2. Fundraising gala: The Last Supper quilt.

Then they started to laugh.

"We seriously wanted to color this Jesus black," they said.

"Oh I know," I replied. "My mom texted me to sleep with Jesus tonight," I said. My

husband was out of town. It was her way to help me to feel safe.

It sounded so terrible that we laughed so hard that we cried. It took us awhile to recover,

and it was good that my friend and I were near the end of the line.

Later I spoke with the executive director and board president, and we shared our

excitement and tensions that we felt at the first Gala. The following year we discussed the plans

for the next gala at a board meeting. Some raised concerns over the prices of tickets. We talked

about these tensions, and if the gala model sat well with them. Galas seemed one of the

necessary prices to pay for modern organizing in a system that needs to support organizations

that provide health services, and need to keep the lights on, but we worried at what sacrifice to

our core values and our commitment to the populations we serve and with whom we served.

While thankful for contributions of supporters, the gala left people away from the table.

We brainstormed ideas to merge this awkward reality of needing to fund a budget with

existing norms that seemed to distance the clients and those who donated. Not that this distance

became anyone's fault per se, but how do you design a budget around norms that mismatch your

values? This remains the ongoing question: What model best meets faith partnerships that

provide a health system by bringing together minimal means of volunteers and staff time and

energy and those who have enough? At least when compared to the prevailing economic model.

After the gala, I put the blond-haired blue-eyed Jesus quilt on my bed. It seemed a whole

lot better than leaving the light on. My husband laughed when I surprised him with our quilt the

next day. Too much intimacy for ongoing use, we stored the quilt in my old toy chest that a

couple years later amid a new season my husband painted for our new baby. The quilt of Jesus

at the Last Supper may store well in a chest, but Jesus Immanuel lives for the future.

Storying the springboard: Ribbon cutting ceremony. A sunny warm May day rang in

the first celebration and ribbon cutting ceremony at City Hall for the new day center for women

and children. The day center came about because a few strong women approached the mayor

with this scandalous idea to lease the City Hall jail, and convert it to a day center for women and

children. These amazing women served as leaders for a local faith partnership that for over forty

years has provided various services to city residents, such as for food, shelter, and health.

Figure 3. First celebration of the day center at City Hall.

Since that time people made this dream a reality. A local contractor volunteered time and

services to remodel the former jail to a day center suitable for the use of suitable for children and

women to use. Volunteers painted, donated books and art, and did the messy prep work that a

remodel requires. The day center beamed bright cheery walls with a small library, a meeting

room for caseworkers or possible employers, a place to shower, a check-in and reception area,

among others allowed for an almost jovial feel that belied the space's formal use.

The mayor even donated art and furniture.

Once up and running, this day center took in women and children without discriminating

based on age or gender, and gave them a place of respite during the day so that they could work

on their various needs such as showering, applying for work, and meetings with caseworkers

among others. At night, the staff referred clients to local churches that took turns each month

housing people for sleep. The churches converted their classrooms and kitchen for people to eat

and sleep, and volunteers stayed with residents to manage the space.

Figure 27. Stained glass window at a partner church.

This way of partnering brought together government, faith-based organizations,

businesses, and individuals for a common purpose of providing a safe and clean place for young

families to transition to greater stability in their lives.

This warm sunny day in May brought a lot of celebration with a blue tent under a blue

canopy of sky and the smell of budding flowers for several dozens of people to sit under and

celebrate what the city and faith partnership had done together. Dignitaries, staff, and volunteers

sang, cut a ribbon, guided tours and gave speeches, served a buffet meal, and clients told their

story about how this unique arrangement helped them to come to a better place in life.

Earlier I met with the person who would become the board president. I had wanted to

meet her because we shared a similar field, organizational development, and I was searching for

a mentor. We sat down to our lunch and tea in the City Hall cafe, and she asked me how she

could help me. For some reason this question surprised me. Perhaps it sounded foreign and new

to me because I was used to applying for things and presenting my best self. In a doctoral

program, I was accustomed to scrutiny and critique.

This time, though, I was not being critiqued or scrutinized. Here someone with a

successful career wanted to help me to succeed even though she had just met me, and did not yet

know what I needed or wanted. Her one question alone changed me, and inspired me to be a

better person with how I help others.

Figure 6. Bouquet at celebration of the day center.

A lesson in inspiration seemed suitable for the day's events. After all, she was helping

me to establish my start, too.

Imagine what we can do together for quality of life and progress in our communities if

we just asked this one simple yet provocative question:

What can I/We do to help You?

Storying the future: The director's ordination. Early February, and the executive

director had graduated and passed all of her tests and requirements for over an eight year

process. Tonight was the night for her ordination as a minister. I arrived a few minutes late, and

there remained one open seat on the edge. Just how I liked it. A kind usher walked me to the

open seat and handed me a program.

The sanctuary was packed, and seats arranged in an oval. Candles lit, frocks adorned,

music played, and we sung. A familiarity struck me as I picked up an old hymnal. I did not

know this song, but the meter, reverence, and melody sounded as the songs I had sung growing

up as an alto in the choir and teen musicals.

Figure 7. Ordination: Reception table in foyer.

Those days seemed a mix of things as days often blur together. The church I grew up in

my grandma had helped to charter, and the building itself was reminiscent of 1950s early modern

architecture. The orange upholstered pews and green carpet told of the 60s, and the worn green

hymnals lined the backs of the pews next to the wooden holes for tiny plastic communion cups.

One summer evening, my cousin and I hid in the empty baptismal behind the pulpit. The

cover had been removed, and the baptismal emptied for cleaning of the light blue tank. The

baptismal tank sunk behind the pulpit at floor level with fake green plants in front of it. When

open for maintenance, we kids climbed in knowing the secret passageways and hallways in that

building. The service had started before we could make our escape, and so we bided our time

until we heard, "Let us pray." When everyone closed their eyes in prayer, we elbow crawled out

of the baptismal tank certain that we would receive a stern finger waving from my aunt.

That was many years ago.

My mom told me I used to preach from the pulpit when I was three with a deep voice.

When I walked in circles around my house, I prayed to God. Sometimes it was

apologizing for a quarrel with my older sister, or a stolen plastic whistle shaped like a chicken

that I had passed off to a friend to exonerate myself, or to think.

That was many years ago, too.

Circles, circles, circles…

Church and I had often sat at tension with each other because I needed to elbow-crawl out

of the empty baptismal tank. Yet, church, from the relationships and shared meals and rituals

there, defined and supported me in other ways.

I liked the new pastor and his wife well. In some respects they seemed the only two

people outside of home with whom I had felt safe. They saved my faith years later just by virtue

of their kindness, and not because they were grand orators with glossy motivational pitches,

globetrots, or hell and damnation scare antics, but because of their humility, humor, and caring.

Figure 11. Bible with glasses.

She taught me to sew fleece scarves one year for Christmas presents, and take in my

jeans which were usually too long, and shorten the straps on my homecoming dress. Pastor

talked about John 3:16, and had a quiet and amused way of speaking that could calm a mouse.

They brought brown paper bags filled with can soup, fruit, and medicine when we were sick. He

spoke at my aunt, then grandpa’s, then grandma’s memorial. They let my sister and I stay with

them for a couple weeks so my parents went out of town when in fifth grade. She visited me

when I moved home after college. They prayed for me during my pregnancy daily. They came

to visit my son and talked about their family. Their many grandchildren and great grandchildren,

some of whom I had known and played with growing up, and who now are raising families of

their own as teachers, therapists, doctors, and pastors. I admired their heritage, and it spoke

more to me than any pulpit sermon ever could because it spoke to the yearnings of my heart.

It's assuring how things come full circle, and the things that once seemed a grey lonely

path can return to the genuine community that was already there.

Perhaps the lonely road was the only road to appreciate real love because the lonely road

shows who cares.

More loving.

More communal.

More present.

More there.

It's not the community we arrive at. It’s the community that we cultivate as a garden, that

we tend with each intentional interaction however brief, but that turns over to express a softer

soil underneath. It's showing the compassion for others and ourselves so that we can contribute

what we do together with heart because of who we are. That’s turning to God and each other.

That’s a church without walls with soft hearts ready and willing to care.

I sat in the church watching my friend smile before she was donned with her sash and

ordained as a minister. I sat next to the person in the wheelchair, and a room full of people who

loved the minister. I quieted racing thoughts. She hugged the preacher, and in an exhale cried a

sigh of relief. She laughed, surprised at herself, and everyone clapped and dabbed their eyes.

It had been a long road that we now publicly celebrated in a circle.

I, still awaiting my celebration, knew a little bit about that.

Figure 19. Last meeting of the year: Path at a partner church.

I still had a ways to go, but she reminded me that women have a place in the church, and

that maybe that place was unorthodox, maybe that place was outside, maybe that place was

walking in circles to feel at center, and then the courage to feel the humility or embarrassment of

needing the company of a compassionate community, a humility that would soon turn to an

exhaled cry of relief completely necessary for breathing, and then a smile.

Smiles, apparently, still, do, and will happen in church.

Jesus was called to suffer because the love of God seemed mismatched for this world, and

the world kicked him out. Do his followers share the same? What’s the point?

Yes, and they also share love. Joy. Because, Joy. Because, You, Me, We, Love.

I now know this to be true: I knew you before you were born. We meet again!

Appendix E: Transcripts of Interviews

Transcripts from interviews for this study go as follows:

Participant 1

Researcher: What is your ideal vision of a partnership?

Participant 1: Ideal vision of a partnership, it's one where those that come to the table
understand that they're gifts have been fully utilized, that would be one of the
first things. Then from that table, or on that table is a question that we're
circling around about human needs, or how to live in a more compassionate
way together. Broadly speaking that means the people at the table are asking
what does our community need, and where are we called with the gifts that
are available to meet that need. I come at it with particular biases so I
understand that everyone needs to feel safe and whole, protected, like they
have a place. Does that make sense?

Participant 1: Yeah, yeah.

Researcher: How we live in a compassionate way together.

Participant 1: Yeah.

Researcher: What is the purpose of this ideal partnership that you've described?

Participant 1: To make the world better.

Researcher: To make the world better?

Participant 1: To make the world better, that's the big one.

To relieve suffering, to feel and understand our neighbors, to notice when
someone's not suffering, and to do something about it. To be responsive to
systemic issues, so it's not just a question of if a person's going through a bad
time, but did society do something to impact that, so what are the privileges
and where are the underserved, and how we redress that balance.

If I'm not getting to the questions pull me back, but that's the purpose. It's not
just to alleviate stuff, but I guess it's to ask question of it why does the
suffering exist, and to make changes to stop that.

Researcher: Thank you.

Participant 1: Yeah.

Researcher: What values support this partnership that you described?

Participant 1: My own personal values, or the values of the partnership?

Researcher: What values support it in general, so...

Participant 1: In general.

Researcher: ... values support this partnership?

Participant 1: Compassion, love, justice, justice not equity. Justice isn't always equal, some
people need more of a help. Better quality in that everyone is treated with the
same level of dignity and worth. Faith, a lightness that good will have out,
and I think that's faith. Oh my goodness I could list a million. Humor, not
taking ourselves so seriously, I don't know if that's a value or a way to go
about the work. Yeah, yeah, those are some core I guess.

Researcher: "Faith and a lightness, that good will...?"

Participant 1: Will have out, good will have its way always no matter how long it takes, it
will have its way.

Yeah. These are great questions, they're fun... It’s different doing this not in
a conversation format. We’d be talking for hours... [smiles]

Researcher: I'm trying to be systematic, but I'm very excited about this on the inside.
What are the characteristics shared by people in this partnership?

Participant 1: Characteristics. So a willingness to listen. A willingness to remember that
we don't know everything, that there's always more to learn. Humility, and is
that a value or characteristics, I don't know. Humility, listening, compassion,
these are the same things, right?

Sense of humor, optimism, assiduousness.

Researcher: "Seriousness?"

Participant 1: Assiduous, because it's serious work, and our passion, and a willingness to
really give yourself to it. Empathy, and then empathy.

Then there are different gifts, right? Some people will have more than the
other, but analysts, some people who can really look at what's going on, and
look at trends, and data, and ask the right questions. Fundraisers, but now
we're talking about skills, right?

I mean those are more skills than characteristics I guess.

Good enough? Yeah.

Researcher: Thank you.

Participant 1: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Researcher: That's the image of the ideal partnership system. Now we move onto the
ideal for future society to support this image of ideal partnerships. What
ideal society supports partnership?

Participant 1: When you say ideal society you mean ways that a society would work that
would support the partnership?

Researcher: That you've described.

Participant 1: Well that's a really hard question because the partnership is there to try and
rectify things that are wrong with society, but space for that kind of work to
happen. Government and business, and for-profit entities to make a space at
the table for that type of conversation to happen and not feel threatened by it.
There's a kind of a duality that is there between the non-profit world which is
what I work in and the for-profit world, so some trust that if we can enter into
those competitions together we'll get where we need to go. I'm not sure I
understand the question beyond that though because the society is not ideal,
that's why we need the partnership.

Researcher: That is an answer to the question.

Participant 1: Okay, yeah.

Researcher: Okay, next question is, what values do people identify with in this society, so
outside of the partnership?

Participant 1: Outside of the partnership what, can you repeat that question again?

Researcher: Sure. What values do people identify with in this society?

Participant 1: Compassion. I understand that our ability to feel for each other sets at the
core of being human, and so when you have a partnership that emerges out of
that and keeps it at the center of it, and tells stories about it and honors it,
doesn't manipulate from it but honors it, then people will identify it. I just
think that that's absolutely core that we feel together, and that means that
there's a huge responsibility because people can be manipulated. That's why
religion can manipulate so easily because it speaks from that space.

I think people get justice, I think they will want what's right. We may have
different interpretations of how to get there, but we have a drive for justice.
Beauty, I think people are captured, I think that's a common value that people
can identify with, beauty, so if we can go about our work in a way that the
owner is the beauty of people and the environment, I think people can get
behind that. Those are the transcendentals I think that bind us as a

Researcher: Thank you.

Participant 1: I hope I'm answering these, and I suppose any answer is the right answer, but
I hope it's helpful.

Researcher: They're your answers.

Participant 1: Yeah.

Researcher: What emotional qualities do people show each other if any?

Participant 1: Generally speaking, or in this ideal?

Researcher: In this ideal society.

Participant 1: What emotional qualities, or friendship? Emotional, I'm not quite sure I
know how, there's so many definitions, so an ability to laugh and cry
together, right, over things that anger, right? So anger at injustice. Emotions,
fear that things are bad and need to fixed. Joy when things work out.

Right, I mean, that's a place that you see the most energy in the work that we
currently do, it's when something works people can really just come around
that sense of joy and accomplishment. I think good enough, we can come
back and expand on these if there's more, but I think that's it, yeah.

Researcher: Thank you. What spiritual qualities do people demonstrate if any in this ideal

Participant 1: Oh, man.

Researcher: Yeah.

Participant 1: A trust that there's something bigger than us that we belong to. I say that
with such a force because I know it's true now.

Researcher: Hmm.

Participant 1: I see it, I just see it all the time, and it's where life is that people know that
they belong to something good and want it whether they call it God. Gosh,
and I'm talking for other people, but I just, doesn't matter. I see all the time
that people understand that they belong to something bigger for them than
themselves. Some people call it God, other people call it community, and a
sense of giving of themselves to that community, so a sacrifice. That
sacrifice is to give of yourself for this other thing that you believe is worth it.
An ability to self-reflect and make changes, so the spiritual practice of
looking at ourselves and realizing we have to do something differently,
whatever that's called, confession and repentance from a faith perspective,
but from a societal perspective I see people do that all the time when we do
our self-work, right?

Participant 1: Prayer, whether we call it prayer or just a hoping for something else. Yeah,
yeah, yeah, that's it.

Researcher: Thank you.

Participant 1: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Researcher: How do people care for each other in this ideal society?

Participant 1: They notice when someone is suffering, and they ask what's required, and
they talk in a really honoring way of that person without objectifying that
person about how to get it, and they let that person or the group tell them how
to get it, right? This is not a place where we do to others in a way to keep our
power, but that we understand that we're safe when we let those that need
something tell us what it is they need, and then that we come alongside them
to give it, so it's a companionship model where we're honoring each other.
Was that question how do we...

... how do we act? Yeah. That it's created in a way people feel empowered to
ask for help, and that society is set up in a way that's not seen as a form of
weakness, but just how we live together because everybody needs help at
some point. It's been structured in such a way right now that if you ask for
help that's a sign that you failed.

Yeah. Thank you.

Researcher: Okay. There you just described the ideal for future society to support your
ideal image of a partnership.

Participant 1: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Researcher: The next question is the environmental view about the environment around
this partnership, and the environment can be what comes to mind for you.

What environment does this partnership need to support the ideal vision?

Participant 1: What kind of environment does it need? It's needs, I'm not sure. I'm just
gonna say the first things that come to mind. It needs resources at its disposal
to be able to do what it feels called to do. It needs an environment of trust,
like I'm imagining it operating in like a city, yeah, a city probably, and so it
needs to be visible, and be in an environment that's paying attention to what
it's up to. That sounds like that's a responsibility of the environment, I guess
that's the responsibility of the partnership to make sure it's tapping into, or it's
communicating itself in a way that makes sense.

What kind of environment does it need? It needs to be sustainable, so it
needs to figure out, or the society if it's valuable needs to figure out how to
help it be stable because this work can't be done when you're focused on
short-term existence. It needs to have an environment that feeds it and keeps
it stable, and helps it to do its work.

Now I'm thinking ecologically, right, so I'm looking at the trees out the
window. It needs to be feed, and nurtured, and cared for, and valued, so that
it can do its work and grow fruit, so whatever the environment is that does

Researcher: Thank you.

Participant 1: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Researcher: What is the ideal state of the world from an economic, spiritual, and/or
emotional perspective?

Participant 1: What's the ideal state of the world?

Researcher: Ideal state of the world.

Participant 1: Oh, my goodness.

Researcher: Yeah, big question.

Participant 1: I mean it's easy, right, I guess, and it's hard. It's peace which means people
are not harmed for profit. The creation is not harmed for profit. The
interdependence is on the tip of everyone's tongue, it's like it's the fiber of
who we are that we understand completely that we need each other. From
that then there's no war, no blood shed or suffering. It doesn't mean that
people don't die, right, there's a natural life cycle, but people are honored and
allowed to live, and not used up, not commodified. It's peace, peace, peace.
Peace between countries, and people, and nations, and families. That's a big
answer for a big question. That you can...

Researcher: That wasn't vague...

Participant 1: ... pull that apart, right?

Researcher: ... "People are allowed to live for their natural life cycle?"

Participant 1: Yeah, mm-hmm (affirmative), they're not commodified.

They're helped, I mean, there's medicine, and I don't mean by that that there's
no intervention, but that people aren't killed early because of war, and
violence, and profit. There's no slavery, and good medicine, and people have
shelter, and food, and clothes, and medicine, as a basic human right.
Actually they would probably have a charter of basic rights globally that we
honor. Gosh I'm rambling now.

Human rights that are honored, and understood, and valued, and with good
things like medicine, and shelter, and food, and a right to live without war, or
having to kill another human being. It's a good thing this is one way and not
conversation because we could be talking for hours about these questions to
get it to.

That's what feels weird about this is normally I would say something like this
and be like, oh but, so that feels funny, yeah...

... it's great.

Yeah, it's great. And I also missed, yeah...

Researcher: We will follow-up for years I'm sure.

Participant 1: Yeah.

Researcher: Who helps to make this environment possible?

Participant 1: All the people.

Researcher: "All the people?"

Participant 1: Yep, and so this is why it's an ideal, right, and I don't know how we will ever
get there, but somehow for it to have been communicated, and so there needs
to leaders who can name the vision, and are authentic, and can communicate
it so that it can be... This is absolutely ideal, I can't imagine this ever getting
here partly because of this question I think, because how do you get people
behind an idea. People know that this is good, but there's all these other
factors, and social constructs that get in the way. Sorry. Can you say that

question again?

Researcher: Absolutely. Who helps to make this environment that you just described of
peace, who helps to make this environment possible? You started that with
"all the people."

Participant 1: All the people, well it can only happen if people kind of are steeped in it. It
needs to come from partnerships, and from leaders who are bold enough to
name it and go after it. You think of the big leaders who've tried that, Martin
Luther King and others, Gandhi, and it just got overtaken by the world, Jesus,
all of them. It takes that leadership, I don't know how it, that's a hard one
how to get it from there to it being a social accepted convention. I don't

Researcher: "A socially accepted convention."

Participant 1: Yeah.

Researcher: Okay, thank you, that was the environmental view. That was a perfect segue
to the next section which is our last section actually.

Participant 1: Gosh, we're getting through these quickly, it's because it's not conversational,
it's because it's tell me what you think, and then you're writing it down, that's

Researcher: Rewind to present day.

Participant 1: Ah-ha (affirmative). yes.

Researcher: These questions ask about beginning the design now of the ideal vision of
partnership, of the ideal society, and of the ideal environment that you just

Participant 1: Yeah.

Researcher: Four questions. You ready?

Participant 1: Yes.

Researcher: Okay. How do we create the conditions for this ideal partnership to exist?

Participant 1: We start, right, we just make a start. I mean, the gap between here and there
is like it's just huge. I don't think for a second that that vision will exist in my
lifetime, or my children's lifetime, or their children's lifetime. I'm not even
sure it will exist. I think what I just described was that spiritual practice of

Something bigger and better, but we start, and so that means thinking at a
really local level about how to influence that kind of environment. You have
that idea of what you want to move towards, and how are we called to be
impactful towards that vision here and now, and each person does that
differently. For me it's about community, leadership, and community
partnership building, and day in, day out conversations around what it is, why
we do this work, and then how we do it. One of my mentors has reminded
me often that the job of a leader is to paint the future for people, to remind
people what the vision is, and why we do this thing. It probably wouldn't be
the way that we've just talked about, world peace, because people would feel
overwhelmed by that. This same idea that it's never gonna happen in my
lifetime, so you start with a closer vision.

Like could we have a shelter and rent, and where we try very hard to honor
the people we serve, and God knows we get that wrong every single day, but
could we do that as the start to get into this place? I think that's what you just
said, what was the thing that you can do that will contribute to this larger
vision. Paint that picture for people, and make it be the thing that you believe
with all your being, or as much of it as you can give. Give yourself to it
because then people will follow, and then do the best you can to work
towards that goal. I've forgotten, I don’t even know if I'm still on your
question, but that's how to get from here to there.

Researcher: Yes.

Participant 1: Was essentially it.

Researcher: Essentially that question.

Participant 1: Yeah, yeah. That means remembering what all those values, and
characteristics, and actions are that you had me name for the bigger vision
and those don't change, but they become focused on something that's more

Right, so the vision might get scaled down, but the characteristics and the
values don't, they're the same, right?

Yeah. Wow, this is helpful, I love these conversations that reminds you
again of what you do, what you do.

Researcher: Yeah. Smaller things.

Participant 1: Yeah.

Researcher: Similar question, and how do we create the conditions for this ideal society to
exist? The last was about the ideal partnership. Remembering the qualities
you described for the ideal society.

Participant 1: The ideal society, I can't remember what it was I said.

Researcher: Do you want me to go back to it?

Participant 1: Yeah, could you to what those are again? I probably...

Researcher: The ideal society. I know I'm...

Participant 1: Just roughly.

Researcher: ... and unfortunately I better not because it would add a feedback loop.

Participant 1: Yeah.

Researcher: I probably better not.

Participant 1: No, okay. Read me...

No, no, no, don't worry about it. Read me the question again.

Researcher: How do we create the conditions for this ideal society to exist?

Participant 1: The ideal society that I want is one where... I'm trying to think about that,
how do we create the conditions. I don't know, we keep asking for them. I
think it's in the answer above, it's to paint a picture of what it is that we want.
Also, I think actually it's to remind people that they exist.

Researcher: Hmm.

Participant 1: The things that we need are there. We just have to, I hate when people say
that we just have to, like it's easy, but they're there, right? Finding that the
society needs compassion, and love, and care, and they're there, so it's a
matter of tapping into them, and convincing folks to offer them first, right?

It's looking for what's already there, that's what it is, because I think the ideals
are already there, we're not creating something, we're just, we're pulling out
and elevating what's already there, and it making it attractive, or making it
possible to do it right. If an ideal society is based on love, and we want
someone to exhibit love over a fear we have to create the conditions for them
to do that, so that's to help them feel that it was worth it. I don't know what
that looks like, telling stories.

Right? Not telling them everything's gonna be okay because it won't,
sometimes you offer love and you get hurt, but reminding them about why it's
worth it, and what they stand to gain which is love back, right? Oh, my
goodness, this is too deep, too much. Yeah, looking at where people's well to
offer the things we need I think is the answer. I think that's through
reminding them kind of those old stories, things that we learn about why
love. Does that make sense?

Oh, my goodness.

Researcher: "Reminding of the old stories that..."

Participant 1: That we know about why it's important to love. What there is to be gained
from that, right, you might lose your life but for my sake, but you'll gain it in
the process that one, because fear begets fear, and love begets love, right?

Oh, I'm rambling, but you know what I mean.

Researcher: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Participant 1: We can go back and clarify once you listen to this and think, right? You can
come back, and ask me more.

Researcher: "Fear begets fear, and love begets love..."

Participant 1: Right, so finding ways to help people be brave, that's what. Finding ways to
help people have courage and to do the right thing, and that takes some
creativity, and you gotta keep at it.

Researcher: "Takes creativity, and…?"

Participant 1: Resilience, and persistency because it for some reason we tend to forget how
good it felt to give of ourselves. That seems to be of a more fragile memory
than how bad it felt to be vulnerable because those two things go together.
You can't really love another person without being vulnerable, but for some
reason the discomfort of the vulnerability is more important than the good
that we felt when we did it. Does that make sense?

We go over to that side and don't wanna make ourselves vulnerable. I don't
know how to say it, helping people be brave and remembering them, and that
it was worth it, and what's to gained for our society as a whole. Gosh, I'm
really rambling for this one, but talking big picture with folks about why their
little action here impacts this bigger picture, and how it impacts it. That
requires really communicating how things are connected, telling the stories of
what we do.

I'm sorry, I'm all over the place with this one, but that's a really tough one.

Researcher: It is a tough one. Thank you for your answer.

Participant 1: Yeah, sorry.

Researcher: Two more questions.

Participant 1: Yeah.

Researcher: Who can design, it says who can design it. Who can design the ideal society
or partnership?

Participant 1: Oh, I don't know, I don't know, I don't know. I mean, I think about the
partnership that I'm in that I think are worthwhile. It's just someone with a
vision, anyone with a vision, and the ability to collaborate and work with
other people. People who can't do it are the ones who want to get all the
credit, or are not willing, so I'm going for the negative, but are not willing to
share, and are defensive or protective of their ideas. I think the people that
can do it are the ones that are radically open, and not afraid of not being in
charge, or getting the credit for all the work. The work has to really belong
to the group and not to one person. It really takes collaborators and just
people who are radically open to each other. I'm trying to think of the word,
the person who it doesn't scare them that someone else might pick up their
idea and run with it. I think we share power, oh, my goodness, that's huge.

These are more qualities, but then that makes a new start and there needs to
vision, someone with a vision and those things. I think it's those things
together, and that can empower other people and help them believe that they
have something to offer. These are more qualities than job descriptions.

Researcher: Okay, I'm gonna pause before the last question. Take a deep breath.

Participant 1: Yeah.

Researcher: Are you ready?

Participant 1: Yeah. Gosh, you have to make sense of these words that people give you.
That's funny. Yeah.

Researcher: Are you ready for the last one?

Participant 1: Yep.

Researcher: What needs to change now for this design to be possible?

Participant 1: What needs to change now for this design to be possible. I know what it is, I
just want to find the right words. Scarcity, this idea that we have to protect
ourselves at all costs.

Researcher: "We have to protect ourselves?..."

Participant 1: We have to protect ourselves that things are zero-sum, right? That if I don't
get what I need, or if somebody else gets what they need that means I'm not
getting what I need, right, that's zero-sum kind of culture. That needs to go
away. These are so woo-woo, and you need practical things, but what needs
to change now. What needs to change. There needs to more funding for
organizations that do this kind of work, there's a real practical one. These are
all so like it, broad, but just the desire to accumulate money in the bank, and
looking after ourselves and our families instead of each other, that needs to
change. Education systems that empower innovation, and that are not so
expensive that people are afraid to pursue their education.

Government support. Government acceptance that human services are
important. Government acceptance that human services is part of their job,
and that they don't have to do it all by themselves, but they can't push it away
like it's someone else's job to take care of each other, so a developed sense of
what it means to be a citizen. A high school education that teaches civics,
and arts, and collaboration.

Systemic racism, sexism, xenophobia. Anything that stops a person being
able to engage fully. There are big things and there are practical things there.
Funding for the arts. You can't do this without an imagination, and an
understanding of who's been doing this for centuries, and those old ideals of
citizenship and community. An academia that is just vibrant, and talking to
each other with boundaries that are fluid where people can talk
interdisciplinary. It's so funny.

Participant 1: Is that helpful?

Researcher: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Participant 1: Yeah, money.

Researcher: "Money?..."

Participant 1: Money. Money in the public sector. Funding for human service and non-
profits, yeah.

Researcher: Money for human services.

Participant 1: For human services.

Researcher: You mean money, that money needs to change, or they have to use--

Participant 1: No, no, no. There needs to be more money available, budgets need to be
written that by governments local and national that prioritize human services.
At least as much as if not more than things like defense spending. Okay,

Researcher: Do we need a nap?

Participant 1: I think I need a nap.

Researcher: Thank you so much.

Participant 1: It was a list, I'm sorry I didn't tie it all ...

Researcher: We're at...

Participant 1: ... together for you.

Researcher: ... 39 minutes.

Participant 1: Holy moly.

Researcher: I know, excellent. I'm gonna...

... stop the recording now.

Participant 1: Yeah.

Participant 2

Researcher: Image of the ideal partnership system. These questions ask the image of the ideal
future partnership that you think of. What is your ideal vision of a partnership?

Participant 2: Well, I see an ideal partnership where all of the basic institutions of a community
come together in a facilitated way to make sure that every member of their
community is self-actualized. When you think of Maslow's sort of hierarchy of
human kind of well-being, at the very bottom are sort of the basics, it's like food,
water, and shelter are at the bottom, and that's kind of where we are now at a day,
[us] and other social services organizations. But there are these higher up
capabilities that people aspire to as you do better in the world, that help you be
much more actualized, and you're fully self-actualized at the top of the pyramid.
Those are people who are achieving great things in the world, who are artists, and
scientists, and recognized, and fully self-actualized because they're doing more
than just sustaining themselves.

When you get to where you're able to eat, and drink, and shelter, and you move on
to being able to pay your own bills independently, and be educated, and work, and
be independent. There's very dependent, not having the basics, there's
independent, and then there's actualization. Essentially those are the three tiers.
In an ideal partnership, people come together with this, in seeking to self-
actualize, and offer their gifts to help others self-actualize.

I think I'm coming from a place of [our organization], or ecumenical [group of]
churches that looks to bring people together because of our values of faith,
dialogue, sustainability, and love of neighbor. Truly, if you're coming from that
place of love of neighbor, you thrive on loving on your neighbor. And when you
see them thrive, you are self-actualized. You are in that positive place we all
want to be, which some people call heaven on Earth, because you are so… Some
people like me are self-actualized when they see people that they offer, I offer
gifts to, thrive. Know what I mean? Them thriving helps me feel pleasure, helps
me feel joy, and helps me feel actualized.

I think when we come together recognizing that we all are a part of this
community and community's better as we individually thrive, then that is the ideal
partnership of finding a way to do that. Not just care for people's basic needs, or
help people to independence, but help people thrive. That to me is an ideal

Researcher: Thank you. What is the purpose of this partnership?

Participant 2: I think I kind of went into that a little bit with the purpose is to see people thrive,
to see people individuals, every member of our community, not just being able to
live, to be fed, have shelter, to be educated, and not just have them be
independent, but to have them thrive, have them be self-actualized. Because
there's plenty of people who are hurting, who are in pain, who are independent
and still hurting or in pain, or suffering. What would be ideal for a community to
be its best self. So [inaudible 00:03:55] have to be loneliness, and pain, and
suffering, and heartbreak, abuse. Those kinds of things, where people are offering
their gifts. I think people only hurt other people, damage other people, damage
the community, when they are not being fed, when they are not being nurtured
and loved. To me, I'll go back to our core values, places, organizations like [our
organization], organizations like the faith communities.

Researcher: What values support this partnership?

Participant 2: Faith, dialogue, sustainability, love. Love of neighbor, those are [our] core

Researcher: Thank you. What are the characteristics shared by people in this partnership?

Participant 2: Bringing gifts. Unique gifts. Individuals have unique gifts, everyone doesn't
have the same, right? An appreciation of others’ gifts.

Researcher: Thank you. Okay, the next category, the ideal for a future society. What ideal
society supports this partnership?

Participant 2: A good question. These are fun questions to think about. I love it. Okay, I would
say the institutions in that society are complimentary to a thriving community or
society. You have education that meets the needs of everyone in the community,
no matter what age or learning style. You have government institutions that
respect the community members for all of their unique individual needs and
provides the basics, safety. Basics that citizens in a community are expecting
from their government. That the corporate and employment institutions are
complimented by the education system. So the educational systems provide the
skills and experience that are necessary in the corporate institutions. The
community is not lacking in employment, because the employers are there and
they are served by the educational system, and the community members were
educated in their community.

In that way, people have what they need. They have the basics of what they need
in terms of food, shelter, housing, education, and a job in order to be independent.
So that you have your basics to live independently. Not only that, that we are the
people that are in need, and may not be able to be independent can live as
independently as possible because our institutions care for those who are unable
to care for themselves. That would mean appropriate mental health, appropriate
disability support, appropriate support for the elderly. Again, because there are
many people who are wanting to figure out how their gifts add value to the
community, there will always be a way in that ideal society for people to
contribute, because it's like a big, giant puzzle piece. I feel like God gave us this
five-billion-piece puzzle, and there are little corners of the puzzle that fit together.
In order for us, as long as we all do our part, offer our gifts and our passions,
there's always going to be a need for those gifts somewhere in the world, we just
need to find it in our community.

Researcher: Thank you. What values do people identify with in this ideal society?

Participant 2: People value education, they value civic education. They value their civic
responsibilities, so they participate in civil society. They educate themselves.
They value work, there's a work ethic. There is a way to, they value art and
creativity. At the core of it is love of neighbor and community. I do think
sustainability is important there too. Just the more locally focused you are, the
more your love and your labor is produced for the benefit of your community, and
there's no need to produce any more than you need or any less than you need. I
personally feel like, the big, giant need to produce, and produce, and produce
creates this artificial need to consume, consume, consume. I feel like when that
balance is out of whack, then we start lose some of our humanity I feel.

Researcher: Lose humanity.

Participant 2: The other part is about how productive can I be from a corporate standpoint?
Then for citizens it's how much can I consume? They have more than me, how
much more. People are then judged based on how much they have, or what they
have, and it just starts to get a little out of whack. Versus caring about our
community, making sure we live a sustainable life, we produce what's sustainable,
we don't have too much, we aren't buried in garbage and waste, and on, and on,
and on. Those kinds of things I think, managing that for my community and civic
civil society standpoint helps keep up in balance. Is what I think is necessary for
a healthy, thriving community.

Researcher: Thank you. What emotional qualities do people show each other, if any?

Participant 2: I don't know if I want to go down that. I would say the emotional qualities would
be the same as any other humans, but the idea that one of the big ones I hope
would be patience and tolerance. And again, love of neighbor, that's a value too.

Researcher: Thank you. What spiritual qualities do people demonstrate, if any?

Participant 2: I think that people are entitled to whatever spiritual life they want to pursue. I
think it would be welcomed. Encouraged. I think it's important for human
balance and just health, health and wellness.

Participant 2: If I were all powerful and can create the society.

Researcher: Thank you. How do people care for each other?

Participant 2: Again, this goes back to offering your gifts, bringing your gifts to the table, and
respecting and encouraging, and welcoming the gifts of others. That's from all the
productive elements in society, education, work, so forth. Serving, service,
serving those who are unable to be independent and so forth. Whoops [lapel mic
drops]. Okay.

Researcher: All right, that concludes that category, now we're on to the halfway point which is
the environmental view, these questions describe the environments of the
partnership, and there are three, are you ready?

Participant 2: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Researcher: Okay, what environment does this partnership need to support this ideal vision?

Participant 2: Environment? I don't know, what do you mean by environment?

Researcher: Think, when you were talking about institutions, or the partnership, what the ideal
vision, what environment. Context is a synonym for it.

Participant 2: Okay, I guess I would say, people would need to be proximate, so they would
regionally, or located near one another in a community whether that's a county or
a region. It's like Western Washington, and [inaudible 00:14:04] region for
example. That region would need to be in a place where they could economically,
they have the economic capacity to support the institutions that I described earlier.
They would have to have a basis of educational institutions and environmental
resources, like fertile land, space for people to live, the natural resources for
people to be able to have things that make life comfortable for people, like
building, housing, and water, and electronic energy, I guess, and hopefully clean
energy. That sets the context, the thriving region with reasonable climate, natural
resources, land, educational institutions, intact civil institutions that are ready,
willing, and able to cultivate this kind of community, I think are ideal.

Researcher: Thank you. What is the ideal state of the world from an economic, spiritual,
and/or emotional perspective?

Participant 2: Ideal state of the world?

Researcher: Yes.

Participant 2: Peace, love, sustainability, and tolerance.

Researcher: Thank you.

Participant 2: I think that says it all.

Researcher: Who helps to make this environment possible?

Participant 2: Civic leaders, faith leaders. And they all need to be grounded in a quality
education, the faith leaders and civic leaders. And diversity, value diversity.
That's another contextual thing I think, environmentally.

Researcher: Okay, thank you. Believe it or not, we're on the last section, and this one has four
questions. Are you ready?

Participant 2: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Researcher: Okay. Rewind to present day, these questions ask about beginning this design
now. How do we create the conditions for this ideal partnership to exist?

Participant 2: It's the stuff I mentioned in the last one. I think we have the conditions already, I
think that we need to start with the right civic leaders who are willing to listen,
and I do think that it's important to start with our young people, our youth, our
children, and cultivate a curiosity and education about sustainability, a civic
responsibility, tolerance, diversity, and love of neighbor, and the benefits of all of
those. Back to that model of self-actualization, that people kind of put people in

other people's shoes and cultivate empathy and encouraging our young people to
think about, ‘Is it okay if you just have the basics? What does it take for you to be
independent? Would it be ideal for your neighbor to be independent or do you
think it's important to encourage and support everyone regardless of their
disabilities or capabilities toward a life of self-actualization, a life of thriving?’ I
think that as we cultivate that kind of education in our young people, we'll see that
society evolve.

Researcher: Thank you. How do we create the conditions for this ideal society to exist?

Participant 2: Education, that's same [as above], just think about.

Researcher: Thank you. Who can design it?

Participant 2: I just did.

Researcher: "I did," Participant Two. That's funny. What needs to change now for this design
to be possible?

Participant 2: We need to fully fund our education. I do think there's some standards of, that
our kids should learn in things like social studies, and civics about their
responsibility. I think our civil society is only as quality as we teach our children
to expect it to be. If we just have a constitution that has these words in it, and we
don't live by things like freedom of speech, freedom of the press, separation of
powers, freedom of religion, then it cannot be actualized. Because if kids aren't
raised to understand all of that, and what it really means, then we cannot expect to
have it. That's where it all starts.

Researcher: Okay. That concludes our interview.

Participant 2: Wow, cool.

Researcher: Thank you very much for your time.

Participant 2: You're welcome.

Researcher: I'm going to turn off the recorder now.

Participant 2: Okay.

Participant 3

Researcher: Okay. Image of the ideal partnership system. These question ask about the ideal
partnership of the future. What is your ideal vision of partnership?

Participant 3: Well, I think about some of the elements that might be included in an ideal
partnership, and trust is one of those that comes to mind first of all, that sense that
I have a sense that you have not only my best interests in mind but the best
interests of this community or this society that we're part of. I think that there's
another set of assumptions there that speak to at least an understanding of what a
healthy society is, which would include...

I don't know. For me it's defined by my Christian faith, I think. It's the sense that
everybody has access to what they need for fullness of life, and that includes the
basic things like shelter and food, essentially, and water, those things that you
need to be able to survive as an embodied being, but then it's also those things that
we might term as the spiritual aspects, meaningful relationships. Trust comes in
there again. Relationships that involve an appropriate level of intimacy that
allows for meeting of the heart as well as of the mind, but in ways that there's
freedom for people to be able to act and to behave according to who they are,
according to the values that they hold and so that they're not constrained in a
violent way, I guess, or a forceful way by someone else. There's the freedom to
act that is unmolested, in a way. The question's about partnerships, though, right?

Researcher: What is your ideal vision of partnership?

Participant 3: Yeah. That's really a description of relationships. Then I'm wondering, how are
partnerships. What does that term introduce that maybe relationship doesn't
introduce? Which I guess would mean... I kind of already said this in a way, but
a shared purpose as well, so it's not just about a quality of life of a quality of
existence or a quality of being, but it's a telos of sorts. It's having a shared or at
least compatible set of reasons for being, and probably in terms of that shared
partnership, I'm thinking about the image within Corinthians, for example, Paul's
idea of the body and it's many different parts and how each part has a different

To me, that, I think, is a really compelling vision of what that might look like, that
it's this sense that I bring something that in a way is unique to this relationship, to
this partnership that together, combined with what you bring, becomes more than
the sum of its parts as well as the others that would be a part of that. Then that
gets to that sense of what does it look like for us to be able to find ways to be able
to cross communicate and to do so in ways that, I think, have a nuance of
understanding when it comes to things like.

I'm thinking about race relationships. I'm thinking about the experiences that we
have now of unequal power, the experiences that we have, the stories we each
bring to our relationship that are filled with pain because of the brokenness that
has existed in the past, but we're not talking about that right now. We're talking
about is the future, I suppose. I don't know. We all have a past to whatever future
we bring, even if it's an ideal future. There's certainly an element for me about
that ability for us to be able to share in meaningful ways that lead to deeper

understandings about how our experiences have created us to be who we are and
the freedom of expression and action that grows out of that.

Researcher: Thank you. Next question: What is the purpose of this ideal partnership?

Participant 3: I'm thinking about how to frame a response to that, and wondering how general to
be or how specific to be, which takes me back to... I don't know. Can you give
me any direction about that? You're talking about partnerships in general. We're
talking about... Ostensibly, we're talking about something like [us], but...

Researcher: We're talking about the ideal partnership you described. Would it help to review
what you... I can feedback a little of what you said.

Participant 3: Sure. Yeah.

Researcher: Elements of trust, assumptions about our shared understanding of health society,
and you described what that could involve. You described a list of things about
relationship where people can be free to act and behave according to their values
without being constrained forcibly, and then you describe how a partnership
might evolve from that relational framing. You mentioned shared purpose. You
mentioned quality of life, a shared existence, a shared being and compatibility
over shared reasons of being, and then you gave an example of a cause,
description of the church behaving as a body, and then from that, how can we
cross-communicate and share a nuance of understanding, and bring our past to our

Participant 3: Okay. Now you're asking, really, what the purpose of that partnership would be?

Researcher: What would the purpose of that partnering be?

Participant 3: Yeah. Thank you. You didn't answer my question in the least.

Researcher: I'm not supposed to.

Participant 3: I understand.

Researcher: It's a script approved by [crosstalk 00:08:20]

Participant 3: I understand. All right, so I'm just going to choose... I'm just going to answer it
how I want then.

Researcher: That's right. You're free to answer however you want.

Participant 3: Oh, so let's start big. What's the purpose? Really, you're asking about what's our
existential purpose in general, right? What are we about here? It's just a really
big question. I think I kind of said it.

One of the ways that my faith describes it as faith and fullness of life. What does
that mean? For me, faith is about... There's at least two aspects to that. One is
about the fullness of life I would kind of think about in terms of physicality, a
material definition of experience. Being embodied beings, being physical, having
cells and things like... and senses and all of that. What does it look like there to
be able to exist as a fully functioning being that is interrelated with other fully
functioning beings and the environment in which we're a part of, to have an
environment that is healthy in its diversity and in the ways that we've

Science understands biodiversity. It's that we have streams that live and breathe
and that we have multiple species that are able to flourish and live in that balance.
Even to the sense of fecundity. What's her name? Annie Dillard talks about that
in her book, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Just this idea of reproductive power that's
simply astonishing and beyond description. It's the praying mantis lays millions
of eggs, not just one or two, and yet there's something that's kind of unsettling
about that, too, or sublime, if you want to use that word in that... Because many of
those are eaten. They become food for another being, and the very fact that the
praying mantis mates, and then eats her mate is a little bit of an unsettling, but
stunning notion, too.

I don't know, but there's this sense... My daughter is finishing up her workup at
Western doing environmental policy and spent the fall traveling through Montana
on the trail meeting with all of these different constituencies that are tied in one
way or another to the land, and that's everybody from ranchers to native groups to
coal miners, so people that have all these different and competing desires for the
land and for their place on it. There's a certain degree of fecundity about that, too,
in terms of the richness and the complexity of existence and human existence and
the biodiversity that's connected to that and all that.

In terms of the purpose, it's about the fullness of health and life within this biome.
That's fullness of life, and then the other part of that is faith, which means that
we're not just embodied creatures but we're embodied beings, we're spirited
beings, too. That's about being wired, but being more than wired for relationship
and for wonder and for, I think, a deep, deep connection to peer relationships, the
humans to relationships within this biologically diverse existence, but also to this
other ness, to this holiness, to this mystery that we know and don't know at the
same time.

Another one of my favorite books is called, The Solace of Fierce Landscapes by
... I forget his last name, but he describes that experience of limits, that experience
of our knowing and our unknowing, that sense that as we're brought to our limit
that there are some things that we can only know in their absence or in negativity,
and I think that's a spiritual knowing, and I think there's something to... In terms
of my understanding of what it means to be human, what it means to be in

community, what it means to be in a relationship is that there's a spiritual aspect
to that, and so freedom and a fullness about both of those things.

Researcher: Thank you.

Participant 3: You're writing in circles.

Researcher: It's what I do.

Participant 3: Yeah.

Researcher: It's how I am. You'll see lots of that. Two more questions in this section.

Participant 3: Okay.

Researcher: What values support this partnership?

Participant 3: Well, I feel like I'm repeating already. I feel like I've named those to some
degree, but let's see. I guess one of the ways I'd name it is a sense of sacredness
for all being, which means a fundamental right to life for all beings, for all that
matter, even though that's always in relationship and even, to some degree, in
competition. Values. I'm trying not to go to practices, but I'm trying to think
about values. Can we circle back?

Researcher: Yes.

Participant 3: Okay, let's do that.

Researcher: Okay, and I should've preempted to say probably we'll try to do the questions five
minutes each, if you can.

Participant 3: How are we doing?

Researcher: Otherwise, if not I can follow up with you over the phone...

Participant 3: That works.

Researcher: Whichever works.

Participant 3: Yeah, so if this is the first section, how many sections do we have?

Researcher: There's four total. The last question for this section is: What are the
characteristics shared by people in the partnership?

Participant 3: Capacity for communication and listening, and ultimately for understanding. A
moral or ethical code. A deep sense of purpose. I want to say hope, and what I

mean by that is a sense of possibility and agency. Yeah, that's shorter. There you

Researcher: I appreciate your answers and I appreciate your time. That concludes that section,
so we've got more to go. The ideal for future society. These questions return to
the ideal of a future society to support the image of this ideal partnership that
you've described. If you need me to go back, we can. This section has five
questions. What ideal society supports this partnership?

Participant 3: What ideal society supports partnership? I hear that as a question, again, about
characteristics in a way, so I'm going to answer it that way. I think that there is a
sense of diversity, and what I mean by that is that it's not monochromatic, but it's
varied in terms of experience, in terms of background, in terms of culture, in all
the ways that you might define culture. Rituals, practices, myths, structures and
relationships and things like that. I think there's art and science and productivity,
and industry, meaning industriousness.

Researcher: Thank you. Next question. What values do people identify with in this ideal

Participant 3: I think that there's a shared sense of interdependence. That's not quite the word
I'm looking for, but that sense of a need for one another, a mutuality. Tell me the
question again, please.

Researcher: What values do people identify with in this society?

Participant 3: Yeah. It's one thing, and I referred to the spirit, which is really an expression of
the values in a way. I'm trying not to repeat myself because I feel like...

I feel like I'm answering the same question again and again and again, so I'm
trying to listen for the nuance in there to give you what's helpful or to... yeah, to
honor your questions.

Researcher: We can also circle back.

Participant 3: Yeah, and maybe I've done enough in terms of that, too, but we'll see.

Researcher: I'm circling the ones to circle back, and they're both on the values.

Participant 3: How about that?

Researcher: Yeah, that's cool. What emotional qualities do people show each other, if any?

Participant 3: In this ideal...?

Researcher: In this ideal society that supports your ideal vision of partnership.

Participant 3: Yeah. Yeah. There's emotional qualities, a sense of intimacy that is... I become
mindful of my individuality, so you know that there's... One of my favorite words.
It's not coming to mind. There's a sense both of that closeness, that emotional
connection, that sharing, and yet also at the same time, that ability to be able to
honor the space and the distance or the right to another's privacy and freedom.

Researcher: Thank you.

Participant 3: Yeah.

Researcher: Two more questions.

Participant 3: Okay.

Researcher: What spiritual qualities do people demonstrate, if any?

Participant 3: Well, I named them, but wonder comes to mind for me today especially.
Thankfulness. Paradox, the ability to be able to hold imminence and
transcendence together.

Researcher: Imminence?

Participant 3: Imminence. Sense of otherness. Sense of beauty. Done.

Researcher: Thank you. Last question of the section. How do people care for each other?

Participant 3: Attentiveness to physical needs. Practices that are nurturing, that teach and learn.
Sharing of events and rituals. Ask the question one more time, please.

Researcher: How do people care for each other?

Participant 3: They walk and they talk and they laugh and they share their stories.

Researcher: Thank you. Halfway mark. Yay! Good job. Environmental view. These
questions describe the environment of the partnership. There are three. Ready?

Participant 3: Ready.

Researcher: What environment does this partnership need to support this ideal vision?

Participant 3: Hmm. Environment, I think there needs to be a sense of sufficiency. There needs
to be enough. There needs to be enough and there needs to be a sense that there's
enough because sometimes those are two different things. Along with that, there
needs to be a shared value of sharing, that when it comes to questions about
ownership, that ownership is less defined in terms of an I and more in terms of a

I was struck by... I'm reading The Good Rain by Timothy Egan, and he describes
that the Puyallop Indians didn't have, actually, pronouns for I or we in their
language. I suspect that there's something about that that I don't think I quite
understand, but that may speak to that a little bit. That's not a complete list, but
that's a good start.

Researcher: Thank you. What is the ideal state of the world from an economic, spiritual
and/or emotional perspective?

Participant 3: Okay. Say the first part again. The what state of the...?

Researcher: Ideal state of the world.

Participant 3: Ideal state of the world from an economic, spiritual...

Researcher: … and/or emotional perspective. It's a wildcard question.

Participant 3: Yeah, kinda, huh? I think I'd expand that notion of enough to include all of those.
Let's go back to the beginning, right? Both in terms of material, and in terms of
spiritual dynamics, that there's a sense of sharing and generosity that allows for
the experience of enough in all of those different categories.

There's also both an understanding and an interest and a valuing of difference, so
yeah, economic. A sense that all work would be valued, and what I'm thinking
about it just the way that some work, at least from an economic sense, is valued
far more than others, and oftentimes those things that are valued economically
seem to be...

Well, let's put it this way. There are lots of really important things that are
undervalued from an economic perspective, and so that there would be a little bit
of a rebalancing. One of the things that I've seen a lot is the way that we pass on
either an emotional poverty or an emotional abundance from one generation to the
next, and so to me there's that sense of willing to one another and to the
succeeding generations, both in abundance, and all of those different
measurements or different dynamics.

Researcher: Who helps to make this environment possible?

Participant 3: Everybody does, and so maybe one of those other aspects that could be an answer
to some of these other questions, too, is that one of the deep commitments of the
society is an attentiveness to everyone and perhaps a special energy and a larger
set of resources that are put toward those that it's harder for us to hear from for
one reason or another.

Coming from the assumption that it may be those from whom we have the most to
learn and to benefit, and I'm thinking Jesus says, "Let the little children come to

me," and talking about implications all throughout the scriptures that those who
have suffered may have the most to teach.

Researcher: Thank you for that.

Participant 3: We're moving now, aren't we?

Researcher: Yeah. It's hard for me as well to keep to this wooden format because I have all
these follow-up questions going off in my head like bells. Maybe another time.
The last section, rewind to present day. These questions ask about beginning the
design of this ideal world and partnership that you described now, and there are
four questions. Are you ready?

Participant 3: Ready. Let's do it.

Researcher: Okay. How do we create the conditions for this ideal partnership to exist?

Participant 3: We don't, because in some sense it's always the reality that never, at least yet,
never has been, and yet we constantly give ourselves to it. I chose not to use the
word "strive" because there is a striving for sure, but ultimately it comes from a
stance of thanksgiving and thankfulness and being grateful, I think.
Understanding that this thing that we have is a gift and to begin there.

I think another aspect to the how is a persistent sense of engagement is required.
For me, this goes to the work of systems theory, and the idea of adaptive change
and how do we engage in adaptive change, and one of the ways that we do that is
through presence, through being available, through not removing ourselves
because it gets tough, and not removing ourselves because there's a fundamental
understanding that the solution is dependent on the engagement of each one of us.
Everybody needs to be in the room.

Researcher: Thank you. How do we create the conditions of this ideal society to exist? The
first one was "How do we create the conditions for this ideal partnership to exist?"
and this one is, "How do we create the conditions for this ideal society to exist?"

Participant 3: How's that different? I guess I'd add some things to that. I might add the
readiness to accept what's unexpected.

Researcher: Unexpected?

Participant 3: Unexpected, and even what's unwelcome, and the ability to have a listening,
engaged stance in the midst of that. You know, we haven't talked about humility,
but there's certainly a degree of humility that's probably of value in getting to

Researcher: Thank you. Who can design this ideal partnership and/or society?

Participant 3: I think only us. Enough said.

Researcher: Next question. Thank you. What needs to change now for this design to be

Participant 3: Yeah. Yeah. I think we need to change. I need to change, and so this, again, for
me, goes back to I think the insights of systems theory and that sense of self-
differentiation. That's the word I was looking for earlier, which means
understanding where I stop and you begin, and when I don't understand that, all
sorts of things happen, including things like manipulation or forcing, and so to
avoid that, what changes things is when I change my behavior or my
understanding, which is the one thing that I have control of.

For me, that's the answers that it starts there. I like the idea that one of the writers
talks about that uses the idea of a mobile. All these different pieces are hanging
and moving together, but really I don't have the ability, but sometimes I think I
do, but I don't have the right, even, to affect this one up here that's not... but I just
have mine to move, but yet when I move mine, everything else begins to change
and move and be activated, and I think that's how that works.

Researcher: Thank you. We can circle back to those two prior questions if you want.

Participant 3: Yeah let's do. Just real quickly.

Researcher: If you want to add onto them, you can, or leave them, we can.

Participant 3: Yeah, perfect.

Researcher: Whichever you feel best. They are, the first one was under the image of the ideal
partnership system, and the question was, "What values support this ideal
partnership?" and you said, "Sense of sacredness for all being, fundamental right
to life that we are all beings, even though we are in relationship, and sometimes
that means having competition."

Participant 3: Yeah. Yeah, nothing to add there.

Researcher: Okay. Thank you. Then the next one to circle back to was under the ideal for
future society, and the question was, "What values do people identify with in this
ideal society?"

Participant 3: Did I say inter-relationship and what I mean by that is...

Researcher: You said a shared sense of interdependence, but you weren't sure of the word, so
you now you are using the word "inter-relationship."

Participant 3: Yeah, so I'm thinking again of self-differentiation, a clear, growing sense of
where I stop and somebody else begins and the ability to be able to honor both
who I am and who an "other" is.

Researcher: Okay. Thank you for your time, for your efforts, and now I'm going to turn off
the recorder.

Participant 3: Okay.

Researcher: Thanks.

Participant 4

Researcher: Okay. We're going to start at image of the ideal partnership system. In this
section, there are four questions. The first question is what is your ideal vision of

Participant 4: I think a partnership is any collaborative effort where the unique parties are
bringing their best to the table to solve a problem. This means that if there is a
homelessness issue in your city, the business community may bring funding or
job opportunities, the local church may bring spiritual care or community for
people, the city may offer a grant or an existing service or may offer
transportation, whatever, but each group is bringing what they have to the table to
solve a shared problem.

Researcher: Okay. Thank you.

Participant 4: Yeah.

Researcher: What is the purpose of this partnership?

Participant 4: Yeah, let's see. We're talking about an ideal partnership.

I think the purpose of the partnership is to have a holistic solution to the problem.
By creating a collaborative effort, like every people say to a carpenter, everything
is a nail and the solution is always a hammer. The business community is
thinking that way and rightly so like the solution to poverty is jobs. The faith
community is looking at the solution to poverty as spiritual renewal and a sense of
hope. To a government, the solution to poverty is low income housing. Everyone
has their solution and so when you bring those people together in a partnership
especially across sector, social partnership like we were talking about, what you
actually get is a holistic conversation.

What often happens is you have a unilateral solution and so government is just
offering low income housing but no one is thinking about jobs or thinking about

spiritual care around, maybe, trauma that... You know what I mean? Often
people might say, "Well, the program was ineffective," and maybe it was but that
doesn't mean that low income housing is a bad idea necessarily. It may just mean
that the solution was not holistic.

Researcher: Okay. Thank you for your answer.

Participant 4: Yeah.

Researcher: What values support this partnership?

Participant 4: Well, I think the number one value has to be an agreed upon problem. In other
words, if we don't all agree as to what the problem is, then it's really hard to
partner because you're actually working on different issues, different things. I
think what has to be shared is a sense of the problem and then I think that can
bring people together.

Once you're together, then what needs to be shared for successful partnership is
not just what the problem is but what the solution is. You can bring people
together, you can come up with different types of solutions but if there isn't a
shared solution, then the partnership probably won't function very well. You need
a big clear vision for what to do.

This maybe jumping ahead but I think a major pitfall people have is they have a
big vision and then they do a big action and that really hurts partnerships. I think
what you have to do is have a big vision and then do a limited, achievable step. A
networker named Phil Butler talks about that, I think he calls it a limited,
achievable outcome.

When you have a big vision, and then a big action, what often happens is mixed
results and then declining hope for the partnership because it's like, "Oh, that
didn't work." We all got together, we wanted to solve this problem, we wanted to
get 100 families or 100 moms into drug and alcohol recovery, we only got 20
which is amazing but we said 100 and so now people are like, "Well, this really
doesn't work." If you said, "Hey, there's 100 moms, what if we could get one,"
and then you got 20, you've actually set the partnership in a position where they're
like, "We might be able to do all..."

It's rising hope all of a sudden because you decided to take a small step instead of
the massive, like we can save the world step. That is so natural to take because
you have the big vision, you have clarity, especially if it's faith-based like, ‘Man,
God led us to this problem, and he can do anything.’

Could you remind me of the question one more time because I've gone...

Researcher: Yes. What values support this partnership? You said agreed upon problem,
shared solution, and then now you're describing the steps to vision.

Participant 4: Yeah. We can probably go to the next question, but I just want to make sure I
answered that one.

Researcher: Thank you.

Participant 4: Yeah.

Researcher: What are the characteristics shared by people in the partnership?

Participant 4: Well, the characteristics could be anything but if the partnership is healthy. In
other words, there could be all kinds of characteristics that could lead to an
unhealthy partnership. A healthy partnership requires humility on the part of the
partners, that the whole reason that there's a partnership is because each member
can't do it all either they don't understand it all, they don't have all the resources,
they don't have all the connections, otherwise, there wouldn't be a need for a

I think that idea that humility has to be a launching point for a healthy partnership
and an ability to hear everyone in the partnership and come up with a shared
vision and solution is really important, otherwise, it's not really a partnership. In
other words, if there are 10 organizations that came together to solve a problem
and one organization is telling everyone what to do, this isn't really a partnership,
it's really just an extension of that organization.

I work for [names organization], and if we pull together 18 churches and a couple
in [this partnership] and a couple of others, and said, ‘What should we do about
homelessness in [names a city],’ and we said, ‘Well, here's what we're going to
do,’ this is really now just a [my employer’s organization] event, it's not really a
partnership. It's really we got volunteers or helpers for our mission and so it's an
organization, really, with someone in charge instead of a partnership with a shared
effort, shared vision, shared leadership and shared ownership.

Researcher: Thank you.

Participant 4: Yeah.

Researcher: Okay, that concludes that section. We're on to the next section which is ideal for
future society. These questions ask about the ideal for future society to support
the image of the ideal partnership that you just described. There are five
questions in this section. The first question is what ideal society supports this

Participant 4: Wow, it's a big question. You mentioned cross-sector partnerships, social
partnerships [as the context prompt], and I think the ideal society would have
thriving sectors so you would have a thriving education system, a healthy
education system, you would have a healthy business system, you would have a
healthy faith category, a healthy government. You know what I mean? I think of
it as seven sectors.

In other words, if the education system is not healthy, they can't bring that piece
of the pie to the table. An ideal society would say, ‘Here in [this city], our
education system, [names a local college], the [names a local school district],’
whoever you would add to that mix, "they're coming to the table, and they have
the bandwidth to come to the table because their house is in order."

Because government is not warring with itself and not grossly underfunded or
grossly whatever, it actually has the bandwidth and the ability to come to the table
and participate and be helpful in the partnership. Otherwise, again, you won't
have a holistic response to the problem, you'll have a wounded response to the
problem because part of the body isn't there. In fact, you will be increasing the
problem because it's like, "Hey, we want to solve homelessness, and we also have
to deal with our educational problem," and so instead of helping an unhealthy
sector, would actually be hurting the effort instead of helping the effort.

That goes to the individual level as well. In other words, individual people who
are healthy are helping the effort and individual people who are in need of help
are not as able to help. Of course, in reality, everybody is in both of those camps
at different times. I think a healthy society is able to work together and I've seen
this at a localized level, by the way. In fact, I feel like [names current city] does
do a pretty good job of working together because I've seen some other local cities
which I won't say on the recording, but I've seen some other local cities that really
don't work well together. The police department doesn't like the city council who
doesn't like the mayor who doesn't get along with the business community, and
it's like nothing gets done.

Obviously, as a person of faith, I would say that some of those basic moral tenets
that are in the golden rule and the ability to relate well with others is really a very
basic building block to partnership.

I had a friend say, ‘You can only move at the speed of trust,’ or, ‘at the speed of
relationships,’ and so our ability to trust each other has a direct effect on our
ability to do something together. In an ideal society, I would say people have to
trust each other and that takes time and that takes a lot of things, but that takes
time and that takes treating people right.

In other words, a lot of people talk about doing justice but they don't talk about
how personal righteousness plays into that, and then people who love personal
righteousness sometimes miss that there's justice that needs to be done on a group

level. The group people don't often acknowledge the need for the righteous
individual and the righteous individual sometimes don't think about the group
problems but they both matter, they're both part of what's needed to solve issues
and problems.

Researcher: Thank you.

Participant 4: Yeah.

Researcher: What values do people identify with in this ideal society?

Participant 4: I mean, I'm coming from a Judeo-Christian perspective, and I believe that those
values are really important for people to love each other and work together and
hold both of those things, righteousness and justice, because they're both there.
There's the law like Moses, and then there's also the prophets who the prophets
talk about justice, they say, ‘Hey, Israel, you're neglecting the widows,’ you know
what I mean? Then there's also the law which says, ‘Don't commit adultery,’ you
know what I mean?

In terms of what ideal values for a society, I mean, I would say the Judeo-
Christian values are top of my list in terms of what ideal values but to break down
what some of those things are specifically, I would say, like I said, humility,
integrity so someone who says they're going to do something, does it.

Again, these are all ways of building trust too. Speaking the truth in love because
sometimes people can point out a problem but point it out in such a way that is
shaming or judgmental or talking down to someone. If you say the truth in love, I
think it can resonate with people like, ‘You're right, this is a problem,’ instead of
feeling terrible, and so I think speaking the truth in love is a big deal.

Then I think in terms of values, Colin Powell said in a talk once that leaders solve
problems, that's how he described leadership, leaders solve problems. I would
say, you do need good leaders especially if you're coming together to solve a
problem. You need someone who can step in and engage the problem and help to
hold together relationships in the partnership like help to facilitate those
relationships, help to keep everybody at the table engaged.

One value I've seen almost critical to healthy partnerships is that there's a neutral
person convening the partnership, a neutral convener. Which I think is why
[names partnership] is valuable to the [names the city] because [names
partnership] isn't [names one partner] and it isn't the city and it isn't a business, it's
a neutral group that's trying to solve some issues. That allows lots of people to
come to the table because there's not sort of the competitiveness that comes from
it's that one church that's doing it and they're going to steal all of our congregants
or it's that one business that's doing it and so our business has to prove that we're

also good. It's that neutral convener, I think, is a really important value for a
healthy partnership, whoever is pulling it together.

Researcher: Thank you.

Participant 4: Yeah.

Researcher: We have a few more questions for this section.

Participant 4: Okay.

Researcher: What emotional qualities do people show each other if any?

Participant 4: I don't know if these will be emotional qualities within the partnership. I would
say the main thing, I don't know if it will be considered emotional, but I think
engagement is the key thing. Maybe that's more of a value but I think an
engagement is seen through emotion so excitement when things are going well,
share discouragement, bearing that burden together if things aren't going well,
urgency when that's needed. I think just the emotions that are seen need to reflect,
that the person's heart is in the game.

Researcher: Thank you.

Participant 4: Yeah.

Researcher: The next question is in this ideal society that supports this ideal partnership, what
spiritual qualities do people demonstrate if any?

Participant 4: I think that the whole idea behind belief in God is that there's something that's not
of this world that can help this world. In other words, that there's someone out
there who could come in here and help us.

Like for me, if I'm not able to get my act together, I don't need to just keep trying
harder, I actually probably just need someone else to come help. In the same way,
I mean, part of what it means to believe in God and to follow him is to say, ‘Hey,
there's someone other than us that can speak into this situation.’ I think prayer is
a big deal because that's how we communicate with God, that's how we help

Then from the Christian perspective, certainly you talk about discernment, you
talk about prayer, you talk about having many counselors, you talk about reading
scripture. Anyway, I could go for a long time on that stuff. I do think that
discernment is really important when you're engaging a problem because
sometimes the obvious answer isn't the right answer and sometimes the right
answer requires some digging and some mining and some revelation from God
and so that becomes an important part of the process for solving any problem.

For a partnership, to do some of those things together is important, prayer
together is important, discerning together is important and then submitting to
God's solution is important.

Researcher: Okay, thank you very much.

Participant 4: Yeah.

Researcher: The last question for this section is how do people care for each other in this idea
society that supports this ideal partnership, other people care for each other.

Participant 4: I'm going to take us to Christmas time for a second but my favorite Christmas
carol is O Holy Night. There's that phrase that says, "Long lay the world in sin
and error pining until he appeared and the soul felt its worth."

It's like what was ultimately good news? What was the gospel? What was the
hope? It was that God appeared, he came. He came and is with us, Immanuel,
God with us. I think what's needed in these relationships is that we have to show
up, we have to appear in the same way that God appeared to be with us. We have
to be with one another and so that walking with one another, journeying with one
another, the idea that... Jesus talks a lot of those one anothers like bearing one
another's burdens, submitting to one another like all those one anothers are really
important. I do think God changes people through relationship. We even have a
motto at [names employer organization and city of organization] where we say
homelessness isn't a resource problem. It's a relationship problem.

Okay, here's a short story that may or may not... It's a great story. We took the
mayor of [names a city] out to talk about homelessness. He was coming around
in our vans and the mayor was talking about how we need more housing. I'm sure
we do need more housing but he said we need more housing and he's like, ‘These
guys down here, they're out here, they're hanging out in the corner and not doing
much.’ Our President [names organization president] said, ‘Mayor, I don't mean
to be disrespectful but,’ and he knew their names, ‘that's George and Frank and
whoever, and they're in your housing.’

In other words, your solution has not kept them off the street. What we would say
the solution was never resources although those are definitely needed but the
solution is healthy relationships because it's often unhealthy relating that causes
these problems and so it's healthy relating that brings us into the solution to these

That's why the local church to me is such a significant player in all of these
because that's all the local church is is... it's a bunch of relationships, that's all they
got. They're not all heart surgeons, they're not all firefighters, they're just people
who are trying to love each other well. At the end of the day, I actually think that

is the solution to almost every problem is loving relationships. I wrote an entire
40-page paper on this, if you want to see.

Researcher: That'll be great.

Participant 4: Yeah.

Researcher: If you email that to me, I will read it.

Participant 4: Sure, yeah. That'll be cool.

Researcher: Thank you, Sir. Okay, we are halfway through.

Participant 4: Good, okay.

Researcher: I know, pretty cool, huh?

Participant 4: How's our pacing? Am I talking too much? Not enough?

Researcher: Our pacing is just right. We're at 25 minutes, and so probably about four minutes
to each question.

Participant 4: You're a fast writer.

Researcher: Thanks. Shorthand. Environmental view.

Participant 4: Okay.

Researcher: These questions describe the environment of the partnership. What environment
does this partnership need to support this ideal vision?

Participant 4: Well, I talked a little bit about earlier but I think the environment needs to be
neutral and it needs to be an environment where the partners feel comfortable. In
other words, if we're pulling together a bunch of people but we're all showing at
that one person's turf, I think it's an unhealthy environment. In other words, if
we're pulling the other bunch of folks, maybe the best place to meet might be a
community center or somewhere where it's like, ‘Okay, we're talking about a
problem in [names a city] so we're going to meet at the [names a city library]
because that's a neutral spot and we're not on anybody's turf.’ I think that
environment really matters.

Then I think the other environment that's really helpful for partnerships to flourish
is an environment that encourages participation instead of discourages
participation. You could be in a partnership and there could be a personality that
just bulldozes everyone. In that case, eventually what'll happen is people just

won't come anymore, people won't participate anymore or people will get behind
that person and, again, it's no longer really a partnership, it's just kind of a...

I think the environment of having a neutral space, a neutral platform. Yeah, I
think that's how I would answer that question if I'm understanding it right. Does
that seem in-line with the question to you?

Researcher: That's your answer and, therefore, in-line. The question is what environment does
this partnership need to support this ideal vision? You said neutral space, neutral
platform, and you explained it.

Participant 4: Okay. Well, here's maybe a couple of other things then. I would say, there needs
to be an environment of moving forward and progressing. There has to be a sense
that the partnership is doing something. If we're meeting for five years and not
actually doing anything, I don't think that's a healthy partnership. I think there
needs to be a sense that, okay, at the end of each meeting, we know what our next
step is and at the beginning of the next meeting, we report on how we did and
then move forward. I think there has to be a sense of moving forward.

There has to be clear expectations of what it means to be a partner so that you
don't get in one of those situations where one partner is doing all the work and
becoming bitter at all the other partners like, "We're all board members here and
that means we're here for three years. We're expected to help with the fundraiser
and we're..." You know what I mean? I think that kind of clarity is really helpful
and that also helps the partnership remove unhealthy partners who aren't
participating for whatever reason or are not fulfilling the mission and vision of the
partnership. The structure of the partnership needs to be clear.

Researcher: Okay, thank you. What is the ideal state of the world from an economic, spiritual
and/or emotional perspective?

Participant 4: Wow. Say that one more time, I got to... Yeah.

Researcher: What is the ideal state of the world from an economic, spiritual and/or emotional

Participant 4: Economic, spiritual and/or emotional. I'm writing this down, sorry. Gosh, ideal
state of the world, it's such a huge question. I mean, I think the economic
condition and the spiritual and emotional conditions are all very tied to each other.
I think from the Genesis story, what I believe is that God wants us to work and
that there is a spiritual value in having meaningful work. I don't think the top
priority of a business is to make money, I think it's to bring value into the world.
When someone is bringing value through the economic engine that we all need to
survive, when someone is bringing value through that engine like I'm cutting
people's hair and they leave with a smile, you're bringing value to someone's life
which I need a haircut so that's what I'm thinking about.

I think the ideal state of the world will be that people have meaningful work
economically and that that helps them feel valued in a spiritual, emotional piece
like they feel valued because they're an active participant in the community, in the
world, in their families, in a partnership or in their church or in their business. I
think that ideal piece is that people have a place and they belong and they know
that they're valued by the community.

I think that's why we have to work hard to make sure that certain parts of our
community who maybe are easy to devalue or valued so that could be... I mean,
again biblically, all over the place, it's like don't forget the orphan, the widow and
the alien. These kinds of themes are all over scripture, Old Testament, New
Testament because it's really easy to overlook an alien who doesn't speak the
language, is in your community, doesn't have as much to offer as the very well-
connected person who grew up here their whole life. I think in the ideal state of
the world, there will be value for each player and then a bias towards helping
bring value to those weaker members. I mean weaker in a theoretical way
because they're not really weaker, but the perceived weaker member needs a
special attention. Maybe someone has a disability, those people need to be
included with special care and attention to remind both the community and those
people of their value.

Researcher: Thank you.

Participant 4: Yeah.

Researcher: Last question of this section is who helps to make this environment possible?

Participant 4: I think everybody does. I'll go back to the idea that if there's healthy sectors in the
community, that all of them have a say in valuing someone. In our educational
sector, we value people because they're worth investing in. They're worth
teaching math like it's worth teaching this kindergartner math because they
matter. In our business system, it's worth paying this person good money because
they are bringing value to the world. In our faith sector, it's worth reminding this
person that God loves them, that there's a plan and a purpose and that they've been
given gifts. From a governmental piece, it's worth protecting this person's rights.
Each piece of the sector plays its own part in saying, "You're made in the image
of God." That's the faith community's part of their message is that you're an
image bearer and you've been fearfully and wonderfully made.

I think each sector helps to underscore the truth of that basic value in their own
way. The family, right? The family is a major sector of the community like
people's families. It's like is the family being healthy, that there's not domestic
violence which really devalues people and there's not drug or alcohol abuse or
sexual abuse or there's not neglect. You know what I mean?

Each of those pieces helps to underscore the fact that people are valued and,
therefore, each part of the sector is valued. Because sometimes I think the
spiritual community can think it has the corner on telling people who they are and
the business community can think it has the corner on... Well, you can say
whatever you want but we're the ones paying the bills. The government can say,
"You can say whatever you want but we're in charge here." You know what I
mean? Everybody can get bossy in their own category but I think that instead it's
an acknowledgment of people's gifts. I mean, the Catholic Church talks about
charisms like people have this different... Everyone has a role to play. When
those roles are played with integrity, it really helps people know that they belong
and they're valued.

Researcher: Right, thank you.

Participant 4: Yeah.

Researcher: Believe it or not, we're at the last section.

Participant 4: Wow, okay.

Researcher: I know, right? This is rewind to present day. These questions ask about
beginning the design now and there are four questions. Are you ready for the last

Participant 4: Yeah.

Researcher: Last push? The first question is how do we create the conditions for this ideal
partnership to exist.

Participant 4: Because I think healthy partnerships are based on trust so I'm starting from that
point of view, how do we create the condition for an ideal partnership is we have
to build trust. We create that trust by spending time with people, lots of coffees,
lots of lunch meetings or let's go for a walk or let's visit each other's place of work
or whatever. Building trust just by building friendship, but then I also think
friendship only go so far, and you have to build trust by getting a win together.
It's like you and I could have a great friendship but until we actually accomplish
something together, it's hard to know if I can really rely on you other than I just
enjoy hanging out with you. You know what I mean?

I think those are two ways to create a healthy partnership is we have to get some
wins under our belt and we have to build relationships so that we can know the
person's heart through relationship and so that we can know the person's ability
through getting a win. Both of those things are really important conditions for a
healthy partnership.

Researcher: Okay. Thank you.

Participant 4: Yeah.

Researcher: Next question is how do we create these conditions for this ideal society to exist.

Participant 4: Create these conditions.

Researcher: Let me rephrase, say that, I used an incorrect word. The previous question was
how do we create the conditions for this ideal partnership to exist, now this
question is how do we create the conditions for this ideal society to exist.

Participant 4: I see, yeah. Okay. I think I have a good answer for this. I think people are,
including me so this isn't a judgment, people are monkey see, monkey do people.
One person starts wearing skinny jeans and now we're all doomed like it's now an
expectation. Jesus says this all the time, people are sheep.

In terms of the society, what has to happen is you have to publicly celebrate the
things that are healthy and good. As you say, "Hey, there's this great partnership
between [names a local church] and [names a local church] and they work
together," then other churches go, "Oh, can we do that?" You know what I mean?
Or this church is helping this school and we tell that story...

I have a friend, [names friend], in Portland who says, "When you celebrate things,
you accelerate those things. Celebration accelerates." As you have those wins
from the partnership, that those wins and telling that story and, to use a Christian
term, bearing witness to what God has done, it actually helps to guide the larger
society who can say, "Wow, look what happens when we partner," or, "Look what
happens when we treat each other right."

People are discerning, right? As they see something that is good, fruitful, healthy
and wholesome, I think they want to participate with that. Jesus' metaphors are...

Speaker 3: I don't mean to interrupt, we're having a meeting in here at 5:30 and I need to do
some preparation before the meeting. Is that going to work out with you with
your schedule?

Researcher: Can we have 10 more minutes?

Speaker 3: Okay.

Researcher: Will that be all right? We might be even done sooner.

Speaker 3: Okay.

Researcher: Thank you, Sir.

Participant 4: Jesus uses the metaphors of salt, light, yeast, and I think these are really good
metaphors, and seeds because I think those are good metaphors for the Kingdom
of God because he's saying, "When we illuminate and when we are light or when
we're yeast, we affect the whole society."

I think it's all part of it's the monkey see, monkey do thing where as we see good
things happening, as we see excellence or love or compassion, they cause
movements. They cause people to come alongside and I think that's how you
build out society. I actually don't think it works to start from the top and sort of
press down. Everyone has to be compassionate now. It's impossible like what
you actually need is a Mother Teresa who then inspires millions of people to be
compassionate. I think sometimes with some of our current, even political
climate, it's like we just have to get government to do something so that
everyone's heart will be different and it's kind of like, ‘That's not how it works.’
We can set some rules so that things are fair, but that doesn't change people's
hearts. People's hearts are changed when they see love in action.

Researcher: "People's hearts are changed when they see love in action..."

Participant 4: Yeah.

Researcher: Okay, thank you very much.

Participant 4: Yeah.

Researcher: Let's finish up these two questions so he can have the space.

Participant 4: Sure.

Researcher: Who can design this ideal society?

Participant 4: Yeah. The society or the partnership?

Researcher: Either or both design it.

Participant 4: Maybe I'll answer in two parts.

Researcher: Sure.

Participant 4: Whoever designs the partnership will own the partnership so if you just want one
person to own it, that's the person who should design it. If you want broad
ownership or shared ownership, then that's who has to design it. Whoever is
participating in the creation phase of the partnership are the people who will own
it so in terms of ownership, broad participation in the design phase will end in
broad ownership. Then you're just looking at the problem and saying... If the
problem is we need heart surgeons, well, then obviously you want heart surgeons

to design the solution. Obviously, you want to line up whoever has interest and
expertise in the problem to help design it.

Researcher: Okay. Thank you. Last question, are you ready?

Participant 4: Ready.

Researcher: What needs to change now for this design to be possible?

Participant 4: I'll just say humility again and say that there's a lot of thinking that certain groups
hold all the power to solve these problems. A lot of people think the only way to
solve this is through political activism which really implies that they only think
the government sector has something to bring to the table or the only solution is
evangelism because the only group that really has any power is the faith-based
group. I think if we're going to have a holistic solution, we really need to
consider what each group brings to the table and be really careful and really wary
that one of these sectors, it really holds all the power. Could you read the
question one more time?

Researcher: Sure.

Participant 4: Yeah.

Researcher: The question is what needs to change now for this design to be possible?

Participant 4: Yeah. It is humility. Just to give an example, if we're talking about race
relations, it seems that there's a large group of people who are saying that that
issue needs to be solved by the government. I would say that is definitely true if
there are rules and laws that are causing racial... If black people and white people
can't eat at the same restaurant, that the government needs to change that rule,
that's a rule shift. If there's tension between the two groups, I do think we...
Okay, how do we solve that in the business community? How do we solve that in
the government sector? How do we solve that in the faith sector? How do we
solve that in the civic engagement sector? I think as we think through a holistic
solution, there are maybe less marching on Washington D.C., and it may include
conversations with the whole community so that there's a holistic response and
not just one response that will actually prove false in the end which will actually
discourage the effort. Like we got the law passed and things still aren't fine.
Does that make sense?

Researcher: That make sense.

Participant 4: Okay, yeah.

Researcher: "Humility and holistic..."

Participant 4: Yeah.

Researcher: Thank you for your time.

Participant 4: Yeah, sure.

Researcher: I'm going to turn off the recorder now.

Participant 4: Okay.

Researcher: I'll let you know when it's off.

Participant 5

Researcher: Okay. Thank you. Image of the ideal partnership system. These questions ask
the image of the ideal partnership system of the future. What is your ideal vision
of partnership?

Participant 5: In answering, I may be asking a question. Within the context of faith-based
organizations collaborating with others to meet a need. That's the context we're
talking about or it doesn't matter?

Researcher: It is whatever your vision of ideal partnering is. So, if it includes that or not,
that's up to you.

Participant 5: Okay. I think from a faith-based perspective... I'm going to use another term. I'm
going to talk about from a biblical perspective, kingdom-minded people or people
that are driven by values and passions to serve, and that are larger than
themselves. Those people may not manifest themselves within a traditional
religious organization. They may not even classify themselves as being faith-
based even though how they're motivated and driven is what we would consider
right now as faith-based.

I see what has been traditionally held by Christians or faith-based organizations. I
already see that permeating outside of traditional walls and influencing,
impacting, others that would not classify themselves as religious and maybe even
faith-based, but they are impacted by it. I'm going to quote. Those like-minded
individuals whether we call them kingdom-minded because as a believer, I
believe God has put that in all of us and so I say it's kingdom-minded. It's outside
of earthly limitations. You're driven by something bigger than yourself.

I see more and more people driven like this coming together in collaboration to
meet the needs, global needs not just local so they meet local needs but national
needs, global needs. I think social media has helped with that and I think that will
continue that everyone is not excluded from partnering for greater good. We talk
about, as followers of Christ, making disciples. I think what we're seeing more

and more today, and I think it will continue to grow, that people that have been
touched by faith-based people, kingdom-minded people become that. It impacts
them so much that they embody the values, the passions, the mission and pay it
forward wherever they are in their life.

So, I think from when I got involved, when I was doing this with my mother, I've
seen growth exponentially in partnerships. There's a healthy growth of people
knowing you do more together than you do alone. People are wanting to be
involved on something larger than themselves which forces you to connect with
others because you can't do it on your own, it's so big. I see that more and more
and I expect those kind of partnerships of like-minded people to be involved in
something bigger than themselves growing even more. I think it's organic. I don't
think it will necessarily be structured.

So, a group of people get together and, "Oh, let's settle for 501(3)(c)" and then the
structure begins. I think already we're seeing people just come together and get
things done. It's a bit like as an educator, I've seen education move more away
from traditional... I'm going to say legalistic education to the online self-directed
action learning that is organic. It's more empowering. That type of model
growing more that people know and believe, and they're piece of the puzzle,
they're part of this great tapestry, and they're bringing their gifts to the table and
believing in their ability to bring whatever the gift is to the table.

Just like education, where it's moved away from the [inaudible 00:07:14] having
the knowledge and it's encased in a university, you have to do it this way, it's
become more and more self-directed. It's online. It's self-paced. I think
partnerships will also be more like that, more organic, more integrated into
people's life and it's just an extension of who they are. So, yes, we'll continue to
have organizations that come together, partner with each other and partner with
others and become an organization, an entity. But I also think we'll find the
growth of individuals organically coming together and doing what they feel is
right and just.

Researcher: Thank you.

Participant 5: You're welcome.

Researcher: Three more questions in this section.

Participant 5: Okay.

Researcher: What is the purpose of this partnership that you've just described?

Participant 5: As a believer, my immediate response is I think of the scripture, ‘The kingdoms
of this world has become the Kingdoms of our Lord, and is Christ.’ I think the
spirit of goodness and justice and those things that we value as ethical is growing

more and more. I think there will be less of the lack, less of the evil because the
light will get stronger. Light gets stronger. I think the darkness will continue to
diminish. History has already played this out that we have evolved from the
bigotry of even the '60s to here we are 50 plus years later and we think, ‘How
could we have thought that about a fellow human being?’ We respond a lot
quicker to injustices and I know that is subject to where you live in the world.

But I am seeing a global, and again thank God for technology, a quicker response
and a more global response to injustices that still exist. Because of technology
and globalization, we're able to partner more dynamically to address those
situations and I believe that that will strengthen and that's the purpose that
darkness diminishes and light increases. I think it is always evolving, but I think
it's evolving to the plus sign. It's getting greater and greater. Maybe I'm an
eternal optimist but that's what I see.

You still see darkness, injustices that still break your heart, but I think what's
increased more and what partnerships are doing and I believe will continue to do
is address those more effectively, more readily, more skillfully and with greater
impact because of the value of partnership. So, in a long-winded way, that's what
I see. I see it continued to evolve greater and greater and history is proving that.

Researcher: Thank you.

Participant 5: You're welcome.

Researcher: What values support this partnership?

Participant 5: I think people are more disgruntled with materialism and so living one's purpose,
sense of mission, and I said earlier being a part of something that is greater than
yourself so that your dash from the day you were born to the day you die is more
meaningful. I think more and more people want that definitely in western society.

Researcher: Thank you. What are the characteristics shared by people in this ideal

Participant 5: Without repeating myself over and over, I think what they share is genuine
compassion for humanity and to live the world better because they were in it.
Legacy, I think, is a huge one. Legacy for the generations to come. I think I said
it away from materialism and a better quality of life. Spirituality is also a
common characteristic. I'm not talking about religion but earnest spirituality that
is lived out, worked out in their everyday experiences. Justice I think is another
one. Those common... I'm going to say peace but not in the traditional sense of
peace. No agitation or nothing to fight for.

I think peace is very much a war term in that you have to be [inaudible 00:15:00]
strategic and proactive to ensure that peace happens. I think there are people that

are proactive, assertive advocates that want to ensure that whether it's lack of
peace that through their efforts peace comes. So, peacemakers but in a stronger

Researcher: Thank you.

Participant 5: You're welcome.

Researcher: That concludes that first section.

Participant 5: Okay.

Researcher: Now we're on section two of four which is the ideal for future society. These
questions return to the idea of future society that can support this image of ideal
partnership that you described. There are five questions in this section. Ready?

Participant 5: Ready.

Researcher: What ideal society supports this partnership?

Participant 5: What ideal society? I think where diversity is celebrated. By diversity, one
aspect of that is intergenerational diversity. Honoring of youth as well as the
wisdom of age. A society that understands who they are. I think societies,
cultures need to have a strong sense of who they are to be able to become outward
to serve. If you have a lack of identity, it's very difficult to become outward.
Someone who is confident in who they are is usually more open-minded and open
to others because it strengthens you, it adds to you.

I think a society that is strong in who they are, their identity have... I have to
think this one out loud because I've got the picture in my mind. When people talk
about freedom and liberty, I don't see it as this peripheral do what you want to do
as you please kind of liberty and freedom. I think liberty, freedom is very costly
and has healthy boundaries. I think a society that understands and respects what
true liberty and freedom is, understands its cost, respects enough to honor it and
honor those who uphold it including themselves I think it's also critical to a
society that is prone to healthy partnerships. I think that you could add a ton more
adjectives to that but without elongating my thought processes. Back to you.

Researcher: Thank you. Next question is what values do people identify with in this ideal

Participant 5: I think, yeah, a lot of what I just said. As I said, a deep sense of honor, respect,
deep sense of identity, a deep sense of a kinship to humanity and its diversity. I
think you... How can I say it? When you say values, I want to say you have to
have what I'm going to say like you have laws in a country so that lawlessness
doesn't overrun a country. I think you also have to have values that represent

what you're trying to uphold. I think there has to be things like values of respect
and compassion, authenticity, truth, love, service. There needs to be boundaries,
laws that protect those values. The essence of what makes service and
partnerships truly strong.

Researcher: Thank you. Three more questions in this section. What emotional qualities do
people show each other, if any, in this ideal society?

Participant 5: I've used the word humanity, but I'm going to use the word vulnerability. This is
kind of [inaudible 00:22:10] I said it. I used the love but acceptance probably is.
Acceptance not of anything that is untoward and evil. Not a carte blanche but
acceptance of every human being and their innate potential to fulfill whatever
they have been sent on the earth. That kind of acceptance of everyone's divine
essence. That comes out of love. Just acceptance, compassion but also... I'm
going to say passion for life. By this, I mean passion for what is right, passion for
justice, passion to care. I'm going to use the word passion again because that
word evokes emotion for me but passion for empowerment to help people out of
shame-based dynamics into empowerment and health and well-being.

Researcher: Thank you.

Participant 5: You're welcome.

Researcher: What spiritual qualities do people demonstrate if any?

Participant 5: In this society?

Researcher: In this ideal society.

Participant 5: I think it goes back to what I said. I think it's important that people connect with
this spirituality, that they understand that they are first spiritual beings living in a
human existence. I forgot who said that. That's a quote. I didn't say that. We are
spiritual beings and those things that are intangible, those things that are
mysterious is what humanity... is the space we living. I think an
acknowledgement that there are dimensions outside of our human existence
including our own spirit I think is important. That's an important part of our
spirituality that we acknowledge it.

The hope is that will lead us in our search for truth to the ultimate spirit. But in
that spirituality, we lovingly allow people to seek and find their spirituality and
knowing it's out of that place that feeds us and feeds what we do with each other.
Ultimately, we know as followers of Christ the essence of who we are is love and
it seems so generic but it is the strongest spiritual essence and quality and one we
seek to receive and to define within ourselves so we can be it for others.

Researcher: Thank you.

Participant 5: Welcome.

Researcher: Last question on this section is: How do people care for each other in this ideal

Participant 5: I think relationships building... I'm going to rephrase. Not underestimating the
power of relationships whether it's with your neighbor, whether it's your church
community. We are born to connect. We are born to belong. We are born to
relate. I think whenever we're disconnected in relationships or we're not relating
or connecting well, I think we suffer. I think research has shown that we get quite
addicted to other things we're because not connected in healthy community.

I think making that a priority is really important. That we find communities, one
or two people we can truly be vulnerable with, larger communities that we can
belong to be a part of where we can give of our gifts and receive of other gifts and
that whole umbrella of love is absolutely critical for our survival, healthy survival
but healthy communities and societies.

Researcher: Thank you.

Participant 5: Welcome.

Researcher: That concludes that second section. We're now on section three of four.
Environmental view. These questions describe the environment that can support
this ideal partnership that you described in the first section. There are three
questions. Are you ready?

Participant 5: Ready.

Researcher: What environment does this partnership need to support its ideal vision?

Participant 5: Immediately we think of politics and we think of legal things that would help it
thrive, not hinder it but support it and encourage it and so wider, I was going to
say institution, structures. I'm not sure if I'm saying the right word, that support
communities and societies like that I think is important. Obviously, the hope is
the values we talked about would be shared in the legal and political entities that
support these societies. I think it has to flow through every vein of the society
and then to all of its structures, governing structures, whatever those may be.

Researcher: Thank you.

Participant 5: You're welcome.

Researcher: What is the ideal state of the world from an economic, spiritual and/or emotional

Participant 5: Say that [inaudible 00:31:57] again. What is...

Researcher: What is the ideal state of the world from an economic, spiritual and/or emotional

Participant 5: State of the world. Goodness. That's a big question.

Researcher: Right. Indeed.

Participant 5: Well, I think our world is, like you say, in a state of crux right now because it has
divergent views and it goes right across the spectrum from fundamentalists,
radical to extremely liberal and almost free-falling. Can you stipulate a world
state that would support this society or communities we're talking about? I mean
we can state an ideal and I think our world is desperately trying to find what the
ideal is. They say democracy is the best political system humans have come up
with to date. We don't know if that's the very best. We just know that democracy
is partnership in action and that's the best we have so far.

Economically, I would say that much of our history has shown severe and bitter
abuse of one group in order to succeed economically. I think my prayer would be
that only sustainable humane economics would be part of our world that anything
less would be strongly advocated against and moved. So, sustainable economy
that no one is being abused or taken advantage of to achieve it. I think there's
enough wealth in the world that everyone could be a millionaire. We haven't yet
found, we're still evolving to try and find a way, but we don't have to exploit one
to get wealthy on the other hand. That would be my ideal economic mandate.

Spiritually, that we allow everyone to follow their internal spiritual journey. We
each have one. We're all seeking truth without the dangers and the ruthlessness of
some religions. I wish religion was religion... Let me define this. Religion to me
is manmade efforts to find God. It's manmade efforts of spirituality and every
person can conjure up a form of them trying to do that and some have gone as far
as to say, "This is my version of it and as far as I'm concerned, that's it."

I think if we were to remove the dictatorial unhealthy strappings of religion and
allow people to truly seek truth and seek God, I believe that more people would
find truth. I think religious leaders have led more people astray than not. So,
talking about a spiritual state of the world that people... I mean obviously, there'll
be spiritual leaders and all of that but I think what has damaged the world most is
people in the name of religion firmly hurting and abusing that stance at the cost of
human lives. Anyway, no religion, just truth-seeking. It's probably quite radical

I think emotional, the same with that that I think we've got great... We've come a
long way in psychology and counseling, coaching, and we're still evolving I think
as a human race and we're finding, we're learning how to be stronger emotionally.

We've got great works such as emotional intelligence has come out and I think
we're all becoming more aware of what's dysfunctional and what's not, what's
healthy, what's not and I think it's moving in the right direction. I think it will
continue to evolve that we get to understand our own emotional state so
collectively we can be better emotionally as a human race all growing in that
direction. I think we're learning what's acceptable, this is just not acceptable and
what is not. And what is I mean.

Researcher: Thank you.

Participant 5: Welcome.

Researcher: Last question of this third section which is: Who helps to make this environment

Participant 5: We all do. I think it's parents in the home, it's every individual, that we're all...
When we're old enough have the responsibility to carry authentic values to the
next, to our world, whether it's to our children, to those around us. We're all
responsible, and on the various levels of leadership that we may take, we have to
carry it. So, we all do.

Researcher: Thank you.

Participant 5: Welcome.

Researcher: That concludes the third section about environmental view. The fourth section is
about rewind present day. These questions ask about beginning the design now
and there are four questions. Are you ready to finish up?

Participant 5: Yep.

Researcher: Okay. How do we create the conditions for this ideal partnership to exist?

Participant 5: Well, I think it's already started on many levels. I think we can find great
examples of communities, neighborhoods coming together for a greater good, a
greater cause. The proliferation of charities and NGOs have worked globally
through worldwide World Vision International, and I've seen people who
economically may have very little galvanized themselves together as a
community, as groups to put a school in their community for the sake of their
children and for the betterment of their lives.

I think the value that together we can do more and the values of commonality,
compassion, justice, love, all of those wonderful terms in community is happening
and needs to be encouraged and empowered. I think a lot of organizations from
western countries although we get a lot of funding for helping communities in low
economic countries, we need to release the purse strings and release communities

to be empowered to do that on their own. I think we can come alongside. We can
support with resources as needed, but I think there's nothing more powerful than
when a community taps into their own divinity and capabilities and provide
solutions for the needs, for themselves and for others.

I just believe that's the way it's always meant to be, right? Believe it's happening
and that's what needs to continue to happen. We need to start throwing money at
things. We do that very easily here. If we're going to give resources do it with
empowerment and dignity that people don't lose their dignity or feel less
empowered because of that.

Researcher: Thank you.

Participant 5: Welcome.

Researcher: The next question is: How do we create the conditions for this ideal society to

Participant 5: Say that again. How do we create...?

Researcher: How do we create the conditions for this ideal society to exist? The previous
question was ideal partnership.

Participant 5: Not that I perfectly missed that. Ideal conditions. I'm not sure how to answer
that. Because I've kind of answered it in the previous questions or previous
questions. So, can I ask for the next question after that and then I might come

Researcher: Yes. The next question after that is who can design this ideal society or
partnership? Who can design it?

Participant 5: It's almost we the people kind of speech. I think the people who are impacted,
who are part of that society or community. I don't believe in outsiders dictating
what the growth should be. Now, I'm not averse to folks coming in. You know,
we've got the missionary model or the folks... But I believe in people coming
alongside and there is a mutual learning, a mutual meeting of minds or hearts
towards something, not I'm bringing something that you need to know and

To answer the question, I think the answers come from within. It's whoever is in
that society are their own mobilizers and they need each other to achieve
whatever the idealistic solution is, and so it's critical that... You talked about the
previous question. Understanding collaboration is a word for allowing everyone's
gifts and views at the table, consensus which is not always easy, but there needs
to be... The community needs to work on systems that honors the least in the
community. So, democratic consensus type community. All voices need to be

represented and heard particular from the least... not the least, from the most
vulnerable. That makes sense?

All should be a part of this society, and the structures to make that happen should
be driven by that community and society itself which is why we have the systems
and structures we have today in democracy. People are still trying to figure out
whether it's ideal and whether it works, but the values that we talked about earlier
has to be in place so that honoring systems of consensus and collaboration and
partnership can happen. History shows the idealisms and the values that shape a
community and nation drives its politics, drives its actions. You almost have to
go back to the root of so where do we get the best of those values. Because it is,
it's upon those you build governing laws and constitutions and whatever it is. I'm
not sure if I answered the question but...

Researcher: Thank you for answering the question.

Participant 5: That's my rambling thoughts.

Researcher: Thank you for your answer. The last question. Are you ready for the last
question of our time together?

Participant 5: I'm ready. Yup, yup.

Researcher: What needs to change now for this design to be possible?

Participant 5: What needs to change now? I think if I just talk about the United States, I think...
and I think this is what we're trying to figure out. One, what are the values, the
common values that make the United States United States, and upon those values,
how can we govern, but not govern the heck out of people? If people embody
these values and we allow them to live out those values, the hope is that
individuals in communities and societies will build the structures that sustain
themselves and there'll be less government intervention, right?

Researcher: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Participant 5: I think what's at war right now is that values, the values I think values being it's
not political parties. It's not even who's president. It's what are the values that
you believe this nation or this society should live by. There are opposing views
now as to what those values are which is very core to who... If those values are
challenged or are no longer seen as valid, then some people's world is shook to
the core. I think that's why our nation is in a bit of a flux, and I think any
community, any society who's questioning the very heart of their humanity, what
are our values, how do we live with one another and for each other, when that's
being challenged, I think it's very scary.

The identity of that society or that country or that community is shaken to its core
because who are we if we don't have those things strongly embedded into who we
are so that we can serve one another from that common basis. I think my feeling
is that's why we need to get back to the basics. Who are we? Are we at our core
amazing human beings needing desperate divine connection in order to connect
with each other, and what are those connecting words, what are those values that
we need to commonly hold so that we can have the ideal partnership, the ideal
society that we're talking about?

That would be a starting point I think. But for us to also celebrate more when we
are doing community well, when we're doing partnerships well. We need to
celebrate that more than what's not going well. I think the more we shed light on
it, the more people see it, I think the more people will be drawn to it and want to
emulate it.

Researcher: Thank you.

Participant 5: Welcome.

Researcher: Did you want to return to that one question?

Participant 5: Let's see if it still needs to be answered.

Researcher: Okay. This was under rewind for present day so this last section. It was the
second question which was: How do we create the conditions for this ideal society
to exist?

Participant 5: How do we create the conditions? Yeah, I think I said it in different ways. How
to create the conditions. Yeah. I'm finding it hard without regurgitating and
restating what I've said on to that question but I... How do we create the
conditions? I think what I said just now. We celebrate when it's going well. We
create the conditions. We celebrate as a society what is going well so people can
see this is good, these are the values, they can identify what the values are, and try
through that celebration and honoring of what's going well in partnerships and
communities, it will inadvertently highlight those values and qualities that we
want to permeate through society I think would be summary answer to that.

Then systems, structures and systems can be built around what's going well. I
think empowerment is key. Not heavy governance but empowerment is key.
Celebrating that and celebrating when personal empowerment happens then
community empowerment happens because you are then... To use Maslow's self-
actualization, you got outside of yourself. Again, it's back to identity. Okay.

Researcher: Thank you so much.

Participant 5: Welcome, welcome.

Researcher: I'm going to turn off the recorder now.

Participant 5: Bye recorder.