For the past 10 years, Global Immersion has been relatively successful at honing, teaching, and training our message of restorative theology and practice of Everyday Peacemaking. We’ve identified the power of immersive learning as a central ingredient to the awakening of dominant culture faith leaders to the imperial theology (& its implications) that they’ve been groomed within.
The awakening that occurs throughout our immersions is the portal through which these faith leaders cross the threshold into a necessary pilgrimage of disorientation. We’ve discovered that many of these faith leaders eventually abandon the pilgrimage and miss the transformation that comes with it. Some return to the safety of their status quo and others become disillusioned and eject from their faith and leadership calling altogether. Few make it to a restorative reorientation yet those who do are evolving their churches into sacramental communities, redeploying their skills and resources restoratively, leveraging their influence to remake the spaces within which they live, work, and play, and are pioneering new restorative initiatives within their contexts.
We celebrate that some who embark upon the pilgrimage are discovering restorative reorientation. Simultaneously, we are dissatisfied with the disproportionate number of faith leaders who abandon the pilgrimage. We want to understand what causes them to eject and discover how we can become better at accompanying them through the pilgrimage.
This week, as I read Renner & D’Souza’s Not Knowing, I came across the chapter on Finisterre. Fittingly, this rocky peninsula in Spain is the conclusion of the Camino de Santiago and is Latin for “the end of the world.” Yet, true pilgrims recognize that, rather than it being the end, it simply marks a new beginning into the adventure of the unknown. The pilgrimage has transformed the pilgrim into the kinds of people who are ready to step into the wild.
As I read, I reflected on how often we refer to our target audience as precipice dwellers. We are faith leaders who have been groomed into an imperial religion that has duped us into believing that the accumulation and protection of power, abundance, and safety is the “fullness of life” that Jesus referred to in John 10:10. The ascension to the American Dream has replaced the downwardly mobile journey of Jesus as the place where true joy is found.
We’re discovering the illegitimacy of that theology and ethic and, with toes over the edge of the precipice, are wondering what will happen if we jump from the safety of the known into the wonder of the unknown. We’re compelled to jump, yet, as Renner and D’Souze so aptly point out, “the edge is a mysterious place. It separates our current reality, what we are comfortable with, from what is strange, unexplained, undiscovered, and perhaps even undiscoverable.”
The edge is where our fear germinates and our imaginations run wild. It’s the space where we are faced with the question of whether we are willing to sacrifice our status and stability within the known for a pilgrimage that will likely be wrought with danger, saturated with failure, and inundated with adventure. Our hunch is that the step beyond the edge will require levels of sacrifice and resilience the likes of which we’ve never know before. We imagine that the journey beyond the edge is the very thing necessary to transform us into the kinds of leaders who are ready and willing to join God and others in remaking the world.
We wonder when we take that step off the precipice if we will fall or discover that we’ve been created with wings to soar into new horizons.
 Renner & D’Souza, Not Knowing, 104.
 Ibid., 104.