“We live in a time when soaring numbers of people who have previously been oblivious are becoming aware of their privilege and don’t know what to do about it. They want to learn to live beyond it but don’t know how. For them to approach a black friend or gay friend or Muslim friend at work and say, ‘Teach me,’ might be a little awkward. . . . But you’re that guy!”
A friend, singer-songwriter and peace activist David Lamotte, recently joked.
I am that collaborator who can help your community curate intersectional space into which folks of diverse experience are willing to enter, try on new stories and scripts (ways of thinking and doing) and risk across their differences (race, age, gender, class, sexual orientation, physical abilities, faith traditions, etc).
People from every different background and experience seem to be asking the question: How do we get to where beloved community becomes possible?
Presentations can take the form of storytelling, speech, sermon, seminar, conversation or some combination thereof.
“When some people speak, you want to take notes. When Melvin speaks, I want to belong.”
~Brian McLaren, Author, Speaker, Activist
I co-edited Faith Forward: A Dialogue About Children, Youth and a New Kind of Christianity, contributed a prayer of hope to the 2009 release The Audacity of Faith, am working on The Stories in Which We Find Ourselves: A Bible Story Project and am an intermittent contributor to various online outlets.
- Helping others tell their own stories
Much more than just writing or editing for hire, it’s helping people find their own voice and say well what’s inside of them to say. My team of associates and I make stories come alive through voice-over, video, graphic depiction and animation as well.
I help communities of goodwill find courageous responses to intractable challenges. My team of associates and I provide the highest caliber creative problem solving, process facilitation, program development and curriculum design. The good people at Imaginal Labs and The Difference are some of the associates with whom I collaborate, using the world renowned DesignShop methodology.
Hosting is an art. I host a number of gatherings in collaboration with others, including the annual Wild Goose Festival and Faith Forward.
If you are interested in engaging me to speak, consult, host or write, reach me at 678.685.9845 or melvinbray(at)gmail(dot)com. Let’s explore the possibilities!
Melvin Bray (melvinbray.com, @themelvinbray) is an Emmy® award-winning storyteller, writer, educator and social entrepreneur who resides with his wife, three kids and two dogs in the West End neighborhood of southwest Atlanta, GA. He is an active participant in multiple vanguard networks working to cultivate more sustainable approaches to a life of faith, including Faith Forward, Auburn Seminary’s MountainTop, CommonUnity and the Table to Action Project Atlanta. He is co-editor of Faith Forward, Vol 1 and Vol 2 (Copper House, 2013, 2015), which explore the growth edges of children’s and youth ministry, and coordinating author of The Stories in which We Find Ourselves, reimaginings of the biblical narrative that put the goal of beloved community front-and-center. Melvin works to help communities of goodwill find better stories and scripts–better ways of thinking and doing–that move them toward beloved community (collabyrinthconsulting.com).
Unless the purpose of the gathering is specifically to problem-solve toward these very ends, Melvin will only participate in gatherings where:
- No less than 30% of the rest of those who present are also people of color (across the racial/ethnic spectrum); no less than 50% of those who present are women; no less than 10%, identify as lgbtq. I encourage intentionality be given to the age, faith, disability and national origin demographics in the room as well. The purpose of this is to normalize a gathering dynamic in western culture that is more indicative of the world in which we actually live.
- A reasonably similar level of diversity shows up at every stage and on every platform: from the planning to the execution, from the main stage to the plenaries, from the art to books to social media. The purpose for this is to institutionalize one’s commitment to pursuing beloved community.
- Any social identity discussed is represented by someone of that identity. The purpose of this is to make normative people’s right to tell their own stories.
- If the gathering is talking about land in anyway, indigenous people are a part of the conversation. The purpose of this is to give ear to the wisdom long marginalized of those whose relationship with the land has proven itself most sustainable over the longest period of time.
- An articulated intentionality is given to functioning in an eco-friendly manner. The purpose of this is to acknowledge our inability to become our best selves at the expense of the rest of GOD’s good creation.
- Intentionality is given toward establishing a democratic learning environment that honors multiple learning modalities and doesn’t just privilege “the sage on the stage”. The purpose of this is to do what matters in ways that matter.
Melvin is always open to exploring the possibilities of engagement with any community willing to make these commitments. And should that community desire to move this direction, but just doesn’t know how to begin, Melvin is willing to help.