BRAVE Spaces: Rules for Engagement (Part 4)
Welcome to the BRAVE Blog! We tackle tough topics about identity, politics, identity politics, and what God says about all of it. Before we get too far into the conversation, let’s set some ground rules.
I want you to know that this is NOT a safe space. This space will challenge you, stretch you, and may leave you bruised and scratched. Places that have the possibility of leaving you bruised and scratched, are, by definition, not safe. Instead, I invite you into bravery.
The concept of a Brave Space isn’t brand new, but it is new-ish. I have used it for years as a framework for how we should enter difficult conversations. I originally heard of the Brave Space concept through an article written by Brian Arao and Kristi Clements called “From Safe to Brave Spaces: A New Way to Frame Dialogue Around Diversity and Social Justice.” Initially, I worked with some colleagues to create the first iteration. I’ve since Updated it to reflect my personal journey.
V - Vulnerability
Last week, we dove into the mindset it takes to step into a learning space and actually take something away from it: authenticity. However, authenticity is only one side of the coin. Vulnerability lives on the other. As we enter a space in authenticity, we often feel raw, exposed, and vulnerable. I’m asking you to lean into that vulnerability and face it head on.
Vulnerability can leave us feeling weak, which makes sense. Vulnerability is defined as “susceptibility to physical or emotional harm or attack”. You are literally putting yourself in harm’s way! However, Christ-centered vulnerability is actually not really all that risky.
Christ-centered vulnerability recognizes our humanity and shifts the power dynamic back into the hands of God, instead of letting it rest in human hands. Even if our vulnerability does leave us physically or emotionally injured, we know that our God heals.
What does this have to do with vulnerability in the sense of a learning space? Even if we get physically or emotionally injured, we will heal! It’s okay to be vulnerable for the sake of learning. Even when we get emotionally scratched, we already have the tools to heal.
We also get the chance to be vulnerable with ourselves. We get to examine our authenticity and challenge ourselves to show up fully. We get to make bold mistakes and bolder apologies! We enter a deeper relationship with each other as we learn to forgive one another and ourselves. Entering a space in vulnerability gives us the ability to connect in ways that are so much deeper than with just authenticity alone.
Authenticity allows us to connect with others.
Vulnerability allows others to connect with us.