"Let's not be just safe space. Let's be brave space."
I think it was Jessica Vazquez Torres (or was it Alexia Salvatierra?) who challenged us (the Proclaim community) this way, more than a year ago. And the idea has been echoing inside me.
The church started talking about being a "safe space" when we realized that real harm was being done to people, for example, sexual abuse of children, as a way to declare that can't be here. But as we started talking about the discrimination people experience in church, and started trying to explain how words can make vulnerable groups of people feel unsafe, the language started getting misunderstood, and co-opted, into making everyone feel comfortable.
And everyone being comfortable is pretty much impossible- what we mean is, people in power, people we think matter, being kept comfortable. And that's contrary to the work of justice, and to true safety for the people who need it most.
Brave space is where we really wrestle with these tensions, where we can challenge each other about the way we talk and the way we accidentally reinforce all kinds of supremacy and dominance. It cares for oppressed groups, but isn't particularly comfortable for anyone. But it's the work that will lead to deep peace.
I don't know very many spiritual communities that are truly brave spaces this way. But I'm yearning for some.