Title: Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone.
Author: Brene’ Brown. Connections: University of Houston; Conference Speaker, Author of Daring Greatly.
Summation: We all long to belong.
Big Ideas: The world is in spiritual crisis of dis-connection. How to solve it: People are hard to hate close up, so move closer. Speak truth to bullshit but be civil about it. Hold hands with strangers. Strong back, soft front, wild heart.
· P. 5 – Take us with you into that story.
· P. 5 – Maya Angelou – “You are only free when you realize you belong no place – you belong every place – no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.”
· P. 15 – “Sometimes the most dangerous thing for kids is the silence that allows them to construct their own stories – stories that almost always cast them as alone and unworthy of love and belonging.”
· P. 25 – “I can confidently say that stories of pain and courage almost always include two things: praying and cussing. Sometimes at the exact same time.” WCS: preachers always need to remember this teaching on prayer. It mirrors the Psalms and Job.
· P. 33 – People want to be part of something – to experience real connection with others, but not at the cost of their authenticity, freedom or power. WCS: Do we think about groups in church this way? Why not?
· P. 37 – “True belonging is not passive.” WCS: Words for relationship with Jesus and group life.
· P. 38 - To brave the wilderness and stand alone in yourself requires:
o Vault – a place to keep confidences
· P. 40 – “True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.”
· P. 40 – True belonging is the paradox of being with and being alone.
· P. 51 – The more we segment and sort ourselves into groups we identify with, the great our loneliness.
· P. 56 – “Terrorism is time released fear.”
· P. 59 – “Ideological bunkers protect us from everything except loneliness and disconnection.”
· P. 68 – “Anger is a powerful catalyst but a life-sucking companion.”
· P. 73 – “Successful dehumanizing … creates moral exclusion… Dehumanizing always starts with language, often followed by images.” WCS: I’ve seen this in more theological debates than I care to admit.
· P. 80 – “What is the conversation about and what is it really about?”
· P. 83 – One of the most courageous things to say in an uncomfortable conversation is “Tell me more.”
· P. 92-93 – A false dichotomy: If you’re not with me, then you’re my enemy. WCS: That’s why Jesus said, “Love your enemies.”
· P. 107 – “If leaders really want people to show up, speak out, take chances and innovate, we have to create cultures where people feel safe – where their belonging is not threatened by speaking out and they are supported when they make the decision to brave the wilderness, stand along, and speak truth to bullshit.” WCS: Does your leadership team feel safe to speak truth?
· P. 121 – I’ve taught my kids that attending funerals is critically important and when you’re there, you show up. You take part. Every song. Every prayer.
· P. 122- In the age of YouTube, being there in person is so much more powerful. WCS: Why church attendance matters!
· P. 135 – “The connection that we forge by judging and mocking others is not real connection… But the pain it causes is real pain.”
· P. 136 – “Common enemy intimacy is counterfeit connection and the opposite of true belonging.”
· P. 138 – “A woman in her mid-forties explained: ‘I can go to church and have the most amazing experience of spiritual connection. I feel part of something that transcends difference. I can also go to church and leave feeling enraged after my priest uses the homily for a platform to talk about politics and endorse candidates. Those experiences are becoming more and more common. At some point it won’t be worth going back.” WCS: PREACHERS, HAVE EARS AND LISTEN!
· P. 144 – “It takes courage to open ourselves up to joy.”
· P. 145 – “I can’t find a single example of courage that didn’t require vulnerability.”
· P. 156 – “The key to joy is practicing gratitude.”
Buy? Yes, if you're comfortable with ruthless, cussing, Texas honesty.