Tsunamis, Metaphors, Bishops and Sushi! Oh My!
Week 9 has come and gone. It has been a bit of a funny week. Lot’s of reading and research, graphic design, social media promotion, thought provocation, all-you-can-eat Japanese seafood, jogging (I think it’s pronounced “yogging”), honing my Call of Duty skills, tsunami evacuations at 6am-you know, the usual. I’ve mostly been working on the international application of the Investigator course curriculum for the Australian Backyard Academies happening in June/July – which was really interesting, it also reminded me why I didn’t do law at university, reading through pages of criminal codes, legal definitions and amendments to both made my brain hurt. Over the last 2 weeks I have also been helping out Killian, Julie and Haley on the Free2Work platform – which is a program we run that grades companies and manufactures on their corporate social responsibility (CSR) or lack thereof and presents that grade to the consumer. I was disaggregating already graded companies, which basically consisted of researching a product, finding out who the parent company of that product was, going through all the consumer products that parent company makes and looking at their CSR policies, and then collating that info into a spreadsheet. It was a little mind numbing at times but I’m glad I had the opportunity to do it as it gave me an inside look at Free2Work and a better idea of how much is involved in the process of grading a company.
Within each week I find myself working on numerous things at once, across multiple NFS platforms, sometimes I feel a little stretched, not a bad thing though, I’m not hear to cruise through the 6 months. I’m getting better at taking off the Academy hat and putting on the International Projects cap, whilst wearing the Free2Work scarf and…I could go on with this daft metaphor, but you get my meaning. That’s really one of the best parts of the NFS Fellowship, (no not daft metaphors which do float around) but the wearing of many hats; it is at least for me. Working on a lot all at once, learning a lot all at once, wearing many pieces of metaphoric clothing, getting throw in the deep end – it’s not exactly sink or swim as everyone is more than willing to help you out (a prerequisite should perhaps be dog paddling) but you are definitely given lot of responsibility if you put in the work, and I am enjoying the opportunity, even if I do have my moments of funk.
Last week I saw Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu speak. He spoke about becoming agents of transfiguration. I think that’s what we need to be in the fight against modern-day slavery and the narratives of global injustice that riddle our world. Transfiguration of course means to change in appearance-a metamorphosis-we need to be stewards of this! People working for justice, in whatever way shape or form, under the broad tent that is our pluralistic world must not only look to transfigure the world but also themselves. It’s part practice what you preach, part watch what you eat (and buy), it’s part think about the language you use, the stories we tell ourselves, the time and money we spend. The way the world is setup today, it is very easy to contribute to narratives of injustice-we all do in big and little ways each day. This is where transfiguration must come in. It is no good working for peace and justice if you buy injustice at the supermarket, if you speak its language, if you wear its clothing-I think we all need to practice justice a little more, myself included. We are all hypocrites, its borderline impossible not to be. But I think if we try to heed the words of the smiling Bishop, to transfigure ourselves, the people around us and the world we live in, in big and little ways-the ripples of justice will build into a tsunami of freedom and wash away the muck and mire of the world. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims, beneath the wheels of injustice, but we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.” Lasting change has to start somewhere, where better than with yourself.