Why We Changed Our Name to Gravity Commons

We started Gravity in 2015, and up until recently the official name of the organization was Gravity Leadership. But we recently changed our name to Gravity Commons. Why? Two reasons:

1. The scope of our work has widened

Over the years the scope of our work has steadily widened to include more and more people who don’t necessarily think of themselves as leaders, especially in church settings. Gravity has never really been a typical “leadership organization” anyway, and the things we care about and thus tend to talk about have drawn an audience of people who are finding the faith they inherited untenable, for a variety of reasons.

We find ourselves working with many people who are asking questions they can’t ask in their own churches, because they’ll be seen as “on a slippery slope”. People who are trying to find their way into a new way of following Jesus, a new way of holding their evolving faith, and they need safe and generative places to explore all this without being pandered to or dismissed.

So having “Leadership” in the name of the organization didn’t seem to reflect who we had become, and the breadth of the people we were actually serving. We still work with leaders, of course (lots of them!). Often the people asking these kinds of “dangerous” questions are the leaders of the churches they can’t ask the questions in (lol?). We work with anyone wanting to develop a Christian spirituality rooted in love that fosters resilient faith in everyday life, leaders included!

So that’s why it made sense for us to remove “Leadership” from the name, but why change it to Gravity Commons?

2. We want to cultivate catalytic conversations

“Commons” is the English legal term for land that wasn’t owned privately, but belonged to everyone “in common,” accessible to all members of a society. (Beginning in the early 1500s, the “enclosure” of the English commons was the process of transferring these common lands into private property, thus depriving commoners of their rights of access to the land.)

We think that the commons is as apt metaphor for the kind of “access” we’d like to create to generative conversations about faith in the chaos of the 21st century. It seems that our sweet spot as an organization is in making spiritual formation practical and accessible to everyone, and cultivating the kind of catalytic conversations that allow everyone to learn together in real time. We’re not so much “content creators” as we are “conversation conveners,” I think.

When everyone participates in and contributes to the conversation, the learning of the whole community is multiplied exponentially. We want to create these kinds of spaces, both in-person and online, and so “Gravity Commons” felt like the right name for an organization that seeks to do this.

Join us in cultivating a new “commons” for faith

Our podcast has been the primary way we’ve sought to cultivate and share these kinds of conversations, and we will continue to do so in that format. But we also wanted to create a way to cultivate a real community where we can all contribute to the conversation.

That’s why we created the Gravity Community. It’s kind of like an online “commons” for people who want to explore their questions about faith and learn together how to follow Jesus in the 21st century.

Think of it as the best of social media: not a huge platform everyone is on, populated by trolls and bots, funded by selling your information to advertisers, but a smaller bespoke community of real people with a common interest who want to learn from one another and befriend one another, funded by us: the people who actually use the network.

These are the kinds of spaces we want to create (in-person and online). Spaces were we can elaborate on ideas, have real discussions, and find ways to speak and act meaningfully together for justice and the common good.

That, in a nutshell, is the heartbeat behind our new name, and our new endeavor. Join us, won’t you?


This work by Gravity Commons is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

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