November 10, 2016 Rainmaker

An Open Letter To President-Elect Donald Trump

Greetings President-Elect Donald Trump

My desire in writing this note seeks to communicate 3 things: 1) introduce our work at Common Change, 2) share a commitment that people within Common Change have made, and 3) encourage the continuation of meaningful and generative dialogue at a time when much of the world seems to be talking over one another.

Over 12 years ago I had the distinct honor and privilege to be part of a small group of people who believed (and continue to) that we could mend brokenness, repair relationships, rebuild our communities, find ways to be more fully human with one another, and quite audaciously change the world.

It started with a simple covenant that a handful of us made – that I, my family, and many others are committed to until this day:

“Because I share the hope of relational transformation in myself and my community, and because I desire a collective sharing of resources to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, heal the sick, and visit the imprisoned, I commit 10 percent of my financial resources to caring for the needs of our community. I commit to honestly sharing the needs of my community and freely giving to other communities in need.

My commitment to share is an effort to create personal relationships with others across lines. It is an attempt to participate in the needs of the larger human community in a more intimate and financial way. I commit to reconciliation through relationships, and I believe that collaborative giving provides this opportunity by eliminating personal economic isolation. I commit to sharing myself in meeting the needs of those brought before me by others. I commit to participate in conversations which promote empathy and equal conversational power for all participants.

I’m committed to sharing questions, ideas, and blessings to collectively decide how to move forward. I commit to being transparent with my finances. I invite others to encourage and stretch my understanding of economic powers, and my life as a consumer.”

Over the past 12 years, this once small group has grown to include thousands from around the globe.  As we seek a more just neighborhood, city, nation, world, I invite you to join me in doing small things with great love.

And in the coming days, as you/we are engaging in conversations with family, friends, neighbors, co-workers we know that it is an artform to create spaces where good dialogue takes place and change can birth.  I offer the following as you wade into (not away from) these waters:

  1. listen actively, consider what is not being spoken, along with what is being shared
  2. reflect before speaking or acting
  3. steer clear of minimizing hurt, fear, concern or pain — especially if it is related to something with which you have no personal experience
  4. quiet the voices that seek to pull someone to a “bigger picture” when they just need to be heard
  5. promote mutual recognition and acknowledgement
  6. exercise empathy and promote an inquiring stance by asking questions that are relevant to real-life concerns
  7. give equal conversational power
  8. think about your thinking – entertain the thought that you may not have considered another point of view

Common Change is here to help. We welcome your participation and partnership to mend brokenness, repair relationships, rebuild our communities, find ways to be more fully human with one another, and quite audaciously change the world.

Darin Petersen