Strategic Shifts at 30,000 Feet
The point of recess isn’t entirely recess, although that in itself is entirely worth pursuing. A key benefit of it, though, is renewed perspective and deeper insight to do your work well. As part of Issue 005, we’ve looked at what we envision healing to be, and also some thoughts on why a trip to the ocean can be so energizing. What comes out of recess, if pursued rightly, can be worth more than hours and hours of trying to push through your normal work.
To illustrate what that looks like, there was a period of time in July where I was able to step back from work and for the first time in months find some time not thinking about LIBERATUS. (Literally—the thing about creating something new is that it is almost always on your mind). I always feel like time on a plane, looking at the world from 30,000 feet leads to deeper perspective, and that time in Omaha and San Francisco and Atlanta led to a good deal of refining plans and presentation. I wrote this, for example, in my journal on July 17 (copied here with only minor edits):
Time away from DC always seems to bring new perspective, and after going to Omaha and San Francisco—and hitting the trail for a 13.1 mile run yesterday, it seems I have clarity to make several strategic shifts which I think will be critical for our long-term growth.
To start with, I’ve rewritten the mission and vision:
VISION: (the preferred end state) healing through freedom
METHOD: (our approach) to redefine freedom for our time as the creative pursuit of Truth and Beauty
MISSION: (how we achieve the vision) to pursue truth and beauty creatively through an online journal, and to invite others into the pursuit
GOAL: (what we are trying to accomplish specifically out of our vision and mission) to empower writers within American political culture to engage culture through a weekly journal telling the story of healing through freedom
*: The method and goal were refined after July 17 as I worked out some more kinks with my donors and board.
Important notes on these changes:
1. Extremely simplified vision; emphasizes healing. (Healing ultimately IS the vision, and the rest is simply working out how we go about that).
2. References to Capitol Hill removed, although that will still be the starting point. However, the mission is broad enough to look beyond Capitol Hill.
3. The mission is focused to an online journal, instead of “building projects”, answering the question of “what we do.” It gives us space to make the journal the best of its kind.
4. The mission also gives us space to have “spin-off” projects because we want to invite others into the pursuit. We can invite them by asking them to:
d. Share our vision
So all of these other project ideas may happen, but they will happen as “spin-offs” of the journal.
5. We can grow the journal:
a. Weekly posts/issues
b. Capitol Hill writers
c. Video-cast vision
d. Interviews with other thought-leaders
e. Book reviews
f. Current events
g. Truth/Beauty page
Why bother sharing all of this? One reason is that we needed to make sense of the changes for those who have followed our creative process from the beginning, from the early stages when it wasn’t this clear or refined. Another is to show that time away does indeed produce some very good results.
During another trip to Atlanta, the idea of spelling out our core values hit, which will give us greater space to expound on our vision and mission and what it means and how we want to go about what we do. It explains our operating philosophy. So after working through these with our board of directors, here’s what we’ve settled on for now (comments below are definitely welcome!):
LIBERATUS Core Values
Our work is a creative pursuit of Truth and Beauty.
We were created to reflect our Creator.
We will demonstrate Truth and Beauty in all we do, including our lives and presentation of our message.
To capture Truth and Beauty we will invest in high quality over high quantity, including printing and design, web and media, and relationships.
To work creatively we will pursue a rhythm of work, rest, and reflection.
We will rest through personal fitness, healthy food and lifestyles, and regularly taking in natural beauty outside of the city—and infusing that beauty into our work.
We will let perfect love cast out the fear and doubt that accompany any creative pursuit.
We will value creating and speaking Truth beautifully over seeking recognition or forcing change in culture.
We will continually create experiences for reflection in order to find solutions that would otherwise be lost in the chaos of political culture.
Healing is possible through a deeper knowledge of freedom.
Pursuing Truth and Beauty means we will experience human brokenness more deeply, first in ourselves and also in our culture.
Because we see human brokenness in our own lives, we will offer not condemnation but freedom and abundant life while casting vision for bold change.
All people are in need of healing; we will pursue healing personally so we can empower others to do the same.
Our deepest desires are for life with God in the Kingdom; we will let deeper affection for a fuller life replace our substitutes.
True healing and deep freedom lead us to work towards restoration of the world as God created it.
We can engage with anyone to pursue Truth.
We will wait for the Spirit's leading to engage with anyone, whether they are with us or against us.
Being led by the Spirit will require humility: at times we will leave others to pursue the outcome of their ideas even if they aren’t rooted in Truth.
Because there is absolute Truth, we will value how we pursue and debate it more than we will value being right.
We will appeal to what others know is true through our framework of healing and freedom, even if they don’t yet believe the gospel.
We will pursue healing and freedom by learning from the human experience and perspectives of all people.
What I hope, more than anything, is that, as we set the guiding tone for LIBERATUS, other people will see a spirit of grace and forgiveness and inclusion and hope placed in a Kingdom ruled by freedom greater than anything we have yet imagined. I hope that we can all reset our affections on the one who set us free, leaving us shouting not out of fear and hate, but out of joy and abundance, “LIBERATUS—we are set free!”