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Honored to Be There

My time at the World Conference was perhaps the best five days of my life. Never before had I gotten to work so closely with so many caring, brilliant people on issues so central to every part of my life. I felt honored to be there.

Prior to the conference a group of women leaders proposed a change to the requirements for RC teachers. It was related to our individual relationships with the sex industries—an area men struggle to think about. I decided to listen, learn, and lead as fully as I could on the topic, both before and during the conference. I discharged heavy fears in order to stay engaged with it.

A highlight was leading a topic group for men in which we worked on early distresses related to the sex industries. These distresses make it hard for us to face our oppressor role with regard to the industries, and that makes us vulnerable to being separated from each other as men.

I asked the men to discharge on the following questions:

  • How did you first learn about the sex industries? With whom? What happened? How did you feel?
  • How do you feel about yourself or about other men who engage in some part of the sex industries? How does this relate to your general feelings about men and about your ability to have close, caring, cooperative relationships with all men?
  • Have you ever felt attacked around sex or seen other men feeling attacked around it? How has that affected your ability to be client in this area and be open about your thoughts?

Tim Jackins gave a talk about how in the past we had viewed the Guidelines as a collection of successful experiences that could guide us in building our Communities. I understood him to say that he also wants us to think about the Guidelines in terms of how we want our Communities to function. For example, we can expect RC teachers not to engage in the sex industries (prostitution, erotic massage parlors, and so on) not because of our successful experience in dealing with these industries but because it is what we want from teachers in our Community.

Over the course of five days we talked, discharged, disagreed, discharged, and came back to each other over and over again. Eventually the conference attendees approved the new Guideline. Now we can use it to build and strengthen our Community. Having been part of this amazing process at the World Conference, I feel hopeful that we will do so.

Chris Austill

Somerville, Massachusetts, USA

(Present Time 190, January 2018)

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00