I feel like a failure. This post started with a conversation Ninaad and I had earlier today regarding extremism in the Muslim world, after reading about the blogger in Bangladesh who was hacked to death. Ninaad was concerned about the steep, increasingly violent turn which has been emerging from extremist factions. I  found myself asking the questions of what makes these movements dynamic. What draws us in and what makes us a part of it?

Basic building blocks


Do-able actions.

Purpose: It’s a core element of being alive. We all need a purpose.
Contribution: Our way of giving into the world. Our contribution adds value into the world, and that in turn makes our existence meaningful.
Do-able actions: In order to contribute, we need to know what to do. We need tangible, do-able actions.

Easy enough. We want to have a reason to exist and we want to DO something.

Dynamic leaders
There’s gotta be someone inspiring at the top. Someone who has a vision.

All powerful movements, extremist or not, have this in common.

So, what makes the difference between becoming a follower of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi over Thich Nhat Hanh? Why join the PTA when you can join ISIS?

It is far easier to critique than create
A film critic can rip apart a movie like *that*. Could that same critic actually make a good film?

This was my lightbulb moment. There are plenty of dynamic leaders out there invested in good, community-serving causes. However, it takes a long time, a skilled team, and a certain amount of luck to create anything beautiful. When you are fighting the good fight, there will come a time (probably several in a lifetime) when you feel like you are senselessly spinning your wheels. There is a very likely chance that you will never see the end result of the good you are working to achieve.

Baddie movements, on the other hand, excel at critiquing. So long as there is a will, there will be a way to find fault with others. Purpose is defined by showing non-believers the true, appropriate way to be. When people are unwilling to be convinced, they should be controlled.  Stop someone from reading certain books. Stop someone from receiving services. Stop someone from existing.

When your MO is to critique and control, it becomes easy to find do-able actions. Being able to DO something, to see a clear connection between your action and the greater cause, is a powerful motivator.

Which brings me to my


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I volunteer at a rape crisis center. As a volunteer, I commit to signing up for 2 shifts per month (staffing our hotline or hospital advocacy). Before becoming a volunteer, I was employed as the agency’s Volunteer Coordinator. During my time at the agency, I worked HARD to create a sense of community between the volunteers. Friendship is the key to a great team. I started a new job before I was able to roll out the next phase of my plan – to create leaders within the volunteer group. Before I write any further, it should be noted that our volunteers are AWESOME. They are among the first on scene when a victim comes into the hospital. Both in the hospital and on the hotline, they hear tough-to-handle stories and sit with survivors through the first phases of trauma. DARCC Volunteers. Are. AWESOME. For the past 4 weeks, the agency has been without a Volunteer Coordinator. I posted the above in our FB group, with the idea that if we could cultivate a few leaders within the volunteer pool, that might take some of the load off of the incoming person AND it would make us more cohesive and dynamic as a team! We could DO so much more.

As you can see, 25 people people saw my post. Of those 25, only 2 replied.

How do you inspire people to take ownership and become leaders within a movement, especially one they already care about? How do you inspire them to hold, not only themselves, but each other accountable to the good we are all capable of creating?


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