The old way would be to compete to receive the gift of the farm. The new way is to collaborate and listen for the Holy Spirit’s guidance about who would own the farm. We faced a lot of issues from the beginning, and we faced them head on.
Should there be more than one group co-owning the farm?
Are we going to be able to overcome the self-interest that plagues us?
How do we get to some real trust amongst us?
How do we deal with the power issues that keep coming up?
How do we make sure everyone is valued and respected in the process?
When I first arrived in Mississippi, I thought that the new thing would only be veiled as cooperation. I thought everyone was going to appear to play nice and some folks may work together in the background to have more leverage. But I really was not convinced that there would be a real collaboration. I wanted to see this work with real respect and true cooperation. These were high hopes.
Several groups met together in the beginning to experience the land. We got a chance to know something about each other and we had lunch together on the land. This is when the spirit seemed to change. We were breaking bread together. There is a difference in eating together and breaking bread together. One feels like a sacrament of sharing and the other is a just a meal.
After the lunch on the farm, I decided that a true collaboration was something that God would have to do. I felt a change in my spirit after the lunch and I yielded to it. I decided to try to participate in a more open way. I felt then that God had given Community Wholeness Venture (CWV) the farm, but I had no idea who our partners might be.
As it turns out, CWV is to be the sole receiver of the gift. This has to be God because we started out like Gideon. I felt that we were the least of the tribes.
Today, as I look back over our journey so far, I can say that everyone has changed. All the change is not the same. I can say that the change has released and delivered us to a new place within us. For me, that’s what the new thing is about. That changes the blood of hate and murder crying out from the land into the blood of something new coming into being. And that is what the process has been like, the labor of a mother bringing a new being into the world. There was pain and there was joy. But here we are at this new place with CWV receiving the land in the summer of 2015. And the best is yet to come.