Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Charlie Kreiner died last week.
The first time I heard him speak was at a
workshop in Oregon in 1989. I remember him saying
then that spirituality is sensing that all
things are connected. I have never met anyone
During a break in that workshop, a rabbi told me
that Kreiner was expressing the essence of Judaism.
A Christian minister said he was conveying the
teachings of Jesus for our time. A Buddhist said,
If the Buddha were alive today, he would be
saying what Charlie is saying.
Maggie Finefrock, then head of Harmony, now of
the Learning Project, said, When we sponsored
him as a speaker through Harmony in a World of
Difference in 1990, someone skeptically asked me
who would show up for a class titled
Homophobia, Racism and Oppression.
That night there was standing room only.
Charlies clear perceptions and skilled
responses to violence in our society have inspired
many of us to examine our own lives and leadership
and carry on community work with more courage,
compassion and skill.
In University of Kansas religion professor
Robert Minors book, Scared
Straight: Why Its So Hard to Accept Gay
People and Why Its So Hard to Be
Human, are these words: I owe my
initial inspiration to an international mens
workshop leader, Charlie Kreiner. His fingerprints
are all over this book.
The Rev. David E. Nelson, past convener of the
Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council, says,
In my identification of who I am, I often
say, I am part of the human liberation
movement. I first heard that line from
Charlie Kreiner. It belongs to him, but it also
belongs to any of us whose spiritual practice
involves working for the liberation of all human
Kelly Gerling, a leadership development
consultant, recalled Kreiners insight that
the differences among people are not the reason for
prejudice but rather the excuse, and that to
remove the motive to find an excuse to think of
others with hostility and to abuse them
requires a process of healing that he so
skillfully demonstrated and lived.
Thomas F. Edgerton, who attended a Kreiner
workshop in Kansas City, says, I have never
met any one man who so wanted each of us to
prosper, to heal, to hope and to share the healthy
vibrancy of the human condition with
Leadership, Kreiner said, is not a role or
holding a position but an activity that frees other
people. To lead others, one must be able to lead
oneself. To lead oneself, one must heal from the
ways one has been hurt. To heal, he asked this
question: What is keeping me from loving
every person on the planet?
©2007 Vern Barnet does interfaith work in
Kansas City. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more here.
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