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Soul Force

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Rasheeda Graham-Washington and Shawn Casselberry: Seven Pivots Toward Courage, Community, and Change

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Soul Force
Seven Pivots Toward Courage, Community, and Change
(Herald Press, 2018)

WHO:  Reesheda Graham-Washington, executive director of Communities First Association, and Shawn Casselberry, executive director of Mission Year.

THEY SAY: “Soul Force pivots are not one-time acts but a way of life.”

THE BIG IDEA: By implementing seven small, incremental changes, we can unleash a transformative power that can impact our communities.

THE PROGRESSION:
The seven chapters each examine a different pivot point: “From Fear to Freedom,” “From Barriers to Bridge Building,” “From Self-Centeredness to Solidarity,” “From Hurt to Hope,” “From Consuming to Creating, “From Charity to Change” and “From Maintenance to Movement.”

“Soul Force is a theology of love characterized by the strength to love God, our neighbors, and especially our enemies.”

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A CONVERSATION WITH THE AUTHORS

What is soul force?

Soul force is a call to authenticity and the embodiment of Christlike love in all areas of our lives. Based in the teachings of Jesus and the nonviolent philosophy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi, soul force is an inner courage and commitment to truth that leads to personal and social change. Soul force is where the Spirit of God and our human resilience meet. It’s a conviction that the greatest force for change is already inside us because we bear the divine image of God. Soul force is an awakening to our individual and collective power to transform the world through love.

How did you arrive at these seven pivots?

Most of our time is spent with leaders, churches, and organizations that want to grow and impact their communities but often get stuck. We noticed patterns, in others and in ourselves, that prevent movement from happening. Conversely, we started to name the internal shifts that have led to greater faithfulness, flourishing and fullness in our lives and in the lives of people who inspire us. What emerged was seven common pitfalls that hold us back and seven life-altering pivots that, when taken together, create an unstoppable force for change. As we used this framework with individuals and groups, it ignited a fire inside people that created ripples outward into their families, churches and communities.

How do you see pastors guiding their churches to make these pivots?

We share stories of how pastors and everyday people have utilized soul force to overcome fear, build bridges across dividing lines and move from ritualistic religion to the fire of renewal. The soul force framework provides a great outline for a seven- or eight-week sermon series. We also offer assessment tools, pivot stories, practical applications and small group study questions. We model authenticity in our stories to encourage pastors and leaders to be authentic with those they lead. As pastors experience the power of soul force for themselves, we believe they will become contagious agents of change in their churches and community.

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