Why a podcast season on the Quaker testimony of integrity? What makes it relevant now?
Host Dwight Dunston and Pendle Hill executive director Francisco Burgos give an introduction of the Quaker testimony of integrity and offer their definitions and groundings. Francisco interviews Dwight about the testimony’s relevance to community and authenticity, Dwight’s experience recording The Seed’s second season, and what listeners can expect from upcoming episodes.
Read the transcript of this episode.
Dwight Dunston is a West Philly-based facilitator, hip-hop artist, educator, and activist who has brought his creativity, care, and compassion to schools, community centers, retirement homes, festivals, and stadiums all over the country and internationally. His love of people and his belief that our stories and histories hold the key to our healing and wholeness has inspired him to design unique workshops, classes, and programs that support individuals to feel more rooted and heart-opened to themselves and to others.
Francisco Burgos is the executive director of Pendle Hill. Francisco comes to Pendle Hill from the Center for Community Initiatives at the Monteverde Institute in Costa Rica. He was born in Santo Domingo, but identifies as an internationalist. Francisco was a poet, an educator, a father, and as a self described dreamer whose visions are grounded in reality.
The Seed is a project of Pendle Hill, a Quaker center, open to all, for Spirit-led learning, retreat, and community. We’re located in Wallingford, Pennsylvania, on the traditional territory of the Lenni-Lenape people.
Follow us @pendlehillseed on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and subscribe to The Seed wherever you get your podcasts to get episodes in your library as they're released. To learn more, visit pendlehill.org/podcast.
This project is made possible by the generous support of the Thomas H. & Mary Williams Shoemaker Fund.
[I Rise Project]
Dwight Dunston 0:26
You're listening to The Seed: Conversations for Radical Hope, a Pendle Hill podcast where Quakers and other seekers come together to explore visions of the world that is growing up through the cracks of our broken systems. I'm your host, Dwight Dunston.
This season, we're creating a space to explore the Quaker testimony of integrity. Together with our guests, we'll talk through the challenges and possibilities of aligning our intentions and actions, and embodying our values with authenticity and grace.
Francisco Burgos 0:59
Welcome Dwight, and welcome to all our listeners that has been joining us in this journey with The Seed: Conversations for Radical Hope. We are launching Season Two, and the seed is growing! So this seaosn, my friends, will be focused on the Quaker testimony of integrity. And we want you to work with us the pathway of exploring integrity with different lenses, different voices. For friends that has been joining us on this journey that don't know that Quakers use several of what we call testimonies as guiding, living principles: peace, community, integrity.... This space, it's an invitation, you know, to others to explore the world through the lens of what we are sharing. And we want to start this season a little bit different by making the host of The Seed the guest of The Seed.
Dwight Dunston 2:04
Yeah, here on Season Two, we focused the intention and the energy on that theme of integrity. And it has been, yeah, some of the most illuminating, heart-opening conversations on that theme on that value that I've intentionally had, I would say, in my life.
Francisco Burgos 2:27
And in this conversation with you, I would like to ask you: when you think about integrity, can you give me a definition of, at least, a shape in the different layers that that testimony signifies for you?
Dwight Dunston 2:46
Yeah. What it brings to mind for me is this alignment between the head and the heart, and then the heart and the hand. So an idea or ideals, and, you know, the ways that they root in our heart space. You know, how we're guided, our sense of purpose. And then taking that grounding in our values and sense of purpose and actually getting to work, you know, with the hands, like putting it into action: putting our hands in the dirt, right, planting those seeds or picking up those tools, for justice, for liberation, for love, for peace, for connection, really living that in practice. So integrity is this connecting force that connects the head, heart, and hand. For me. That's, that's what I think about. And then this season, my definition of integrity has been, you know, grow new leaves and shed old leaves through conversation. So I'm just so curious, what is what does integrity mean to you, friend?
Francisco Burgos 3:51
Well, for me, integrity in particular means that if I said to you, Dwight, you know, you have a friend in me, what does this mean? This for me, looking through the integrity lens, means that when you are in need, I will be next to you. But when you are in a more celebratory experience, I also will be next to you. So this is one side of the coin. The other side of the coin is, I am going there as I am: with my vulnerabilities, and at the same time with my gifts. And that way we can grow together. So for me, integrity is a living dynamic, where I am willing to put myself fully in front of others and say, let's work together and build the world that we want.
Dwight Dunston 4:51
Yeah, it's actually for me really--there's some fear in living with integrity. James Baldwin has a quote in The Fire Next Time, "To act is to be committed, and to be committed is to be in danger." And I think when you're really trying to live within your integrity, you are going to act in ways, or show up in ways, or respond to situations in a certain way that might actually put you in danger. And that can be potential to be ridiculed or made fun of, ostracized. That could be, yeah, in danger, because what you say might disrupt a status quo, or the way things are operating in society are in a situation. It can be, yeah, a physical danger, you know, it could put you at risk of harm, bodily harm. And so there's fear that comes up for me when I think about that word 'integrity' and living into my definition of integrity, because I have to confront this reality that everybody might not, you know, be vibing with that truth that I'm trying to bring to that moment, that situation. As a hip hop artist, I often reflect on when I MC, when I'm rapping, or playing music, playing instruments. Wow, there's just so much integrity, there's so much truth coming out in those moments of ciphering, of jamming out with other people. Right, and I actually am less concerned about the messing up. I'm just kind of in the spirit of the of the moment. Something for me greater is happening when I'm in those moments, and I feel grounded and rooted. Yeah, with the definitive force that I've been moved from.
Francisco Burgos 6:38
I wonder, while you recognize those feeling at the same time, what are the space for nurturing your integrity? Assuming living with integrity these days is a brave action, yeah? So yeah, how do you nurture that?
Dwight Dunston 6:57
Yeah. Yeah, I think it, for me--and that's why I had to ask you the question to just define integrity right here, hearing it from you. Because I really do get inspiration and grounding from connecting with people I trust around how they hold these values, you know, in their own lives, the places that they really thrive in relationship to those values. But also, where you struggle, you know, where your shortcomings are, where your learnings, you know? Maybe the moments where you're still recovering from living out of step with that value, in this case, integrity, right? The healing that you're still yearning for, that you're still cultivating. And the another thing I was thinking of when you're like, how do you cultivate integrity: I think there's a part of slowing down, that is required to actually root in a sense of integrity, root in that value. And that's what we try to do on this podcast. You know, I've been very blessed to host this podcast, and talk to incredible people. And I hope we got 20 more years of the podcast.
Francisco Burgos 8:02
Dwight Dunston 8:04
And I get to continue to talk to people, but a part of what has been really profound to me is the way that me and the guests are able to slow down with one another. There's so much intention that each of us bring--certainly I bring them with some of the questions I'm asking--but I see them bring it with their presence, their spirit, their stories, their experiences. And so to me, that feels like an art form too, you know, in the ways that feels like we're co-creating a painting, or portrait, or mosaic, you know? And so yeah, yeah, that's what I think about.
Francisco Burgos 8:33
Well , when I think about the space that we call The Seed: Conversations for Radical Hope, I truly feel this as a living poem, yeah?
Dwight Dunston 8:42
Francisco Burgos 8:43
And the lines of this poem are being written by every single conversation that we are hosting here. You know, today, I have the privilege of hosting the host. And this is amazing, you know! So when we think about this as a unique platform for inspire conversation, generate conversation...the world needs a lot of conversation, my friend. What are you hoping for season two of The Seed?
Dwight Dunston 9:15
Yeah. I hope that people listen, and hear it, and hear the conversations, and that it inspires them to get in touch with their own definition of that word that we're going to be sharing and grappling with. It wasn't all--listen, you'll hear on the season. Everybody didn't have a clean cut relationship with integrity or how it's lived out in community, right. But I hope that listeners hear this season and get more curious about the places and spaces they feel like they've lived in deep alignment with their own definition of integrity and bring a lot of grace and just tenderness and sweetness to maybe the place they've been out of alignment. And yeah, feel inspired to move with more intention, you know, after they hear an episode, or after they hear the whole season, that they're just more intentional about how they live, that they are more intentional about how they move in community, and maybe more intentional about how they slow down and come back to themselves.
Francisco Burgos 10:19
Hmm. Well, I think that we are inviting people to keep contributing to this community garden. Yeah. But as you were hosting those conversations and holding those conversation with the different people that participated--can you share with us a little bit what are the things that people may be expecting from, from these great episodes that are coming our way?
Dwight Dunston 10:45
Definitely. I think people can expect to hear our guests which, yeah, they are coming from many different fields and expertise and experiences, and all over the country. They're really grappling with the way that defining integrity for themselves, and the way that they, or the communities that they're a part of, live out that value, in the every day or in the scope of a certain amount of time, and their professional, personal lives or thinking about the ways they grapple with it their entire lives, right. We have people who will tell stories of, of the values instilled in them as young people, and then how that carries to some of the big work that they do in present day life, as artists, as activists, as theologians, as facilitators. And so folks can expect that and yeah, thinking about the communities they're part of, but specifically how integrity connects to conversations folks have been having in their faith community. And certainly there's Quakers on this season of the podcast as the were on the first season. So we'll we'll talk about integrity as it relates to that Quaker foundational principle. But certainly expanding out beyond Quakers specifically to just thinking about how does faith, or hope and integrity, really live in relationship with one another. And yeah, it's not all ways easy, you'll hear some folks really struggle with their own sense of integrity, and how it has been defined for them, and how they've had to redefine it based on their own life experiences. Based on the ways it's been reinforced by certain members of the community, or the ways that that word integrity has been misused, and actually wielded in a way that that looked to have power over, you know, create this sense of power over others, as values often do, right? We can we can pit people against one another, and hold a value at the center of that conflict. So people really get into that word, that definition, how it gets lived out. And yeah, I'm excited for folks to listen and share back what's coming up for them from those listenings.
Francisco Burgos 12:56
The real conversation is not just with the ones being in this recording studio. The real conversation is the ones that we are able to inspire. And again, we are just gardener, my friend.
Dwight Dunston 13:11
That's it, baby, that's it.
Francisco Burgos 13:13
Yeah. Well, Dwight, thank you so much for being with me this afternoon. And I really look forward to the full developing of the second season of The Seed.
Dwight Dunston 13:23
Thank you, Francisco. It's always a pleasure. Always a pleasure. And I'll see you out there in the garden.
[I Rise Project]
Dwight Dunston 13:46
Pendle Hill is a Quaker center, open to all, for Spirit-led learning, retreat, and community. We’re located in Wallingford, Pennsylvania, on the traditional territory of the Lenni-Lenape people. Visit us at PendleHill.org.
Many of our guests are teachers, leaders, and speakers at Pendle Hill. For a full list of these upcoming education opportunities, visit our events page at pendlehill.org/learn.
This podcast was produced and edited by Ariel Goodman with editorial support by Pendle Hill Education Associate Anna Hill, and advising from Education Director Frances Kreimer. Our episodes were mixed by Leah Shaw Dameron. Our theme music is the I Rise Project by Reverend Rhetta Morgan and Bennett Kuhn, produced by Astro Nautico Records.
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