: the state of being related to the people in your family
: a feeling of being close or connected to other people
Fr. Gregory Boyle S.J., founder and executive director of Homeboy Industries, the largest gang intervention, rehabilitation and re-entry program in the country visited the campus of Loyola New Orleans September 15, 2014. To a full house, he talked about the importance of universal kinship. One of his main points: to heal our broken world we must find our way to being in relationship with one another. This form of “kinship” transcends differences and opens up to what Fr. Boyle calls “the power of boundless compassion.”
Often folks on campuses are set up to cooperate with one another but not truly collaborate. Cooperation simply means I agree to do something for you to assist you in getting something done. Collaboration means folks form true partnerships to create together. Collaboration would call us to be "kin"- partners in the outcome. Not such a radical idea, but often difficult in practice.
In Fr. Boyle’s book, “Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion,” he writes “Mother Theresa diagnosed the world’s ills in this way: we’ve just forgotten that we belong to each other. Kinship is what happens to us when we refuse to let that happen. With kinship as the goal, other essential things fall into place; without it no justice, no peace. I suspect that were kinship our goal, we would no longer be promoting justice—we would be celebrating it.”
There are so many places on a campus for kinship to develop. We tend to gravitate to places where we feel “one with others.” For students it can be a class, residence hall, leadership meeting or music recital or athletic practice; for faculty/staff it can be one’s office, the endless number of committee meetings and the faculty/staff dining room. The place isn’t nearly as important as arriving in the space and being authentically accepted. Fr. Boyle believes that “kinship is not serving the other but being with the other. Jesus was not a man for others; he was one with them. There is a world of difference in that.”
As we move into the season of fall, let us remember what Fr. Boyle teaches “no life is less valuable than another.” Let us throw light on the ways in which we bring goodness to our work together.