Catholic religious communities, like many faith-based organizations, are at a crossroads. They are experiencing a seismic transition not only in their demographics but also in their identity, integrity, and relevancy, indeed, their very soul. Dr. Ted Dunn explores these Graced Crossroads addressing four central questions:
1. What are the graced crossroads religious communities are now facing and the deeper invitations calling them to the inner work of transformation?
2. What are the challenges and opportunities in our world and within Religious Life that have brought communities to these graced crossroads?
3. How might communities assess their capacity to engage in communal transformation, what will it ask of them, and what can they expect to come from it?
4. What does a Journey of Transformation truly involve and how can communities proactively engage in this Divine Mystery?
Despite all the books on transformation, few take an in-depth look at how transformation occurs, and even fewer describe how to engage in this type of work as a community. There are those who write about personal transformation from a religious, faith or psychological perspective. And there are those who address systemic change and transformation from a business or corporate perspective. Very few authors cross-over and integrate both personal and organizational transformation from an integrative multidisciplinary perspective. Dunn bridges this gap and draws upon the wisdom of not only faith traditions, but of contemporary understandings in psychology, spirituality, systems theory and cultural evolution.
Communities who wish to engage in deep change and transformation need to have a better handle on what it is and what they can expect from it in terms of its promise and its peril. They need to know how to approach this work, what it will require of them and have ways to assess their capacity to do this kind of work. The hard truth is the vast majority of communities and organizations fail in their efforts to transform their lives and give birth to new life. The good news is that the research tells us why. Those who engage in this work need to know these pitfalls ahead of time so they can proactively address them and improve their odds of success.
The Journey of Transformation is a comprehensive, multidimensional and multilayered approach to communal transformation. It is comprehensive in addressing every facet of community. It is multidimensional, addressing three primary dimensions of community: personal, interpersonal and organizational. It is also multilayered in that it not only addresses what you see on the surface (e.g., bricks and mortar), but the layers of life that lie beneath the surface (e.g., patterns, structures, and soul of community).
The Journey of Transformation is a new way of integrating planning and visioning efforts along with the inner work of transformation. What Dunn is referring to here is a way of transforming your lives and planning your future, not so much in terms of writing a grand plan, but by engaging one another in the discipline of dreaming, dialogue and discernment in order to co-create your community's future. This is a way of shaping your future together that transforms your way of thinking, relating, and serving our world. It is a means for creating new mind-sets, heart-sets and skill-sets needed for the work of transformation.
This book focuses on Catholic religious communities and, even though Dunn addressing them, it is well suited for any value-based or faith-based organization facing similar crossroads. While he will be referencing a number of specifics regarding Religious Life, his experience with other organizations in the United States and internationally has also informed the material in this book. Thus, the foundations, principles and approaches involved in the Journey of Transformation can readily be applied to other religious or civic communities and organizations seeking transformation.