I keep noticing this word—some in its variations conspiracy and co-conspirator—about which a curiosity now arises. Are several of us receiving a similar transmission about its paradoxical wisdom today? Because I want to say this week demonstrated multiple conspiracies in which I get to participate, contribute, grow into…as a sacred calling, a heart’s desire.
Use of the word first arose for me in my Princeton Gratitude series, a Conspiracy of Gratitude, shared between a graduating MDiv student and a president of a seminary. I chose the word because I liked the collision of the word’s negative aura with the positive in gratitude. A (relatively new) friend used the word in our work “to co-conspire on a rest revolution.” I was immediately drawn to the phrase, recognizing its validity for me in describing our impending collaboration(s). Another friend lists those with whom she works closely in the world as co-conspirators. In each instance, the word is paired with gratitude, rest, celebration, and sacred contributions in the world. As I named it with a rabbi-friend, he noted his own delight with the phrase conspiracy of gratitude.
Which brings me to the etymological underpinnings, assumptions, that contradict the negative feel of the word. Spire – breath; con – with. Breathing with. Close cognates, like inspire. The monthly publication of Princeton Seminary has been InSpire for a long time, bringing inspiration, church architecture, and theological education into literate relation. Inspiration…the drawing of air into the lungs. Spirit, ruach, breath. Then conspire…to act in harmony…to draw air into the lungs together.
Maybe what I like most about this today is precisely the use of a pejoratively-associated word—conspiracy—with all sacred, all desirable invitations. What does it mean to co-conspire for connection within systems that prioritize our disconnection, that intentionally aim to fragment us into fear and division? To co-conspire for rest when markets thrive most in frenzied fearful use, urgency? To co-conspire for ethical living, for love-infused-stewardship of faith amidst demonization, polarization, anger-run-amuk within the church?
What conspiracies of connection do you get to participate in today? Which are you willing to create for yourself, to risk into, beyond your expectations?
We in the world need co-conspirators for what already is between us and what could be, with some breathing-with moment/days to come—interdependence, connection, gratitude, grief, grace.