Twenty Fourteen.

It’s been over a year-and-a-half since my last post. In the ensuing 18 month typhoon, I’ve learned much about myself, my family, my friends and my community. I didn’t intend to write a year-end recap (or year-and-a-half-end), but as I sat at my favorite coffee shop, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the sweetest memories from this unusual period of my life.

Honor

When we left SoCal in September of 2013, we were loved, cared for and blessed on the way out the door. I had resigned my position in nonprofit leadership and church leadership within a two-month time. Leaving Rooftop 519 and leaving Desert Foursquare Church were stark contrasts: one was bittersweet while the other was bitter-bitter. With each day that passes, the memory of being honored by my church family and denomination becomes more meaningful. Thank you to all who welcomed and loved us.

Gratitude

About once each month I sit down with one of the kindest and most discerning individuals I’ve ever known. I call our meetings “thermals”, the updrafts that help birds and hang gliders travel to higher elevations without much effort. He asked me about my time in the Coachella Valley, with full knowledge that we had some real struggles during our three years. “I’m very grateful for my time,” I told him. “You can’t be grateful and bitter at the same time,” he replied.

I hold onto that, and I’m so glad for my experiences, great and sad alike.

Ashes

When things fall apart, God can do something even better. It is nearly impossible to reconcile this against present and pressing pain, but I believe it to be true. God does his best work in the ashes.

I wish I could list each person who has meant so much to me during this time. From my cigar buddy to my employer, and my denomination to (especially) my wife. I am exceedingly glad for each person who helps me through this broken life.

Looking forward to an amazing 2015,

Shawn

The single greatest experience in 2014 was the opportunity to travel with Elijah to meet his family. This lead to an opportunity to help my Liberian friends during the Ebola crisis and recovery.

The single greatest experience in 2014 was the opportunity to travel with Elijah to meet his family. This lead to an opportunity to help my Liberian friends during the Ebola crisis and recovery. My sincerest gratitude to all who have helped during this time.

This is a Christmas present from my 17 year-old son, Andy. He took a picture from about 14 years ago and recreated it for his mom and me.

This is a Christmas present from my 17 year-old son, Andy. He found a picture from about 15 years ago and recreated it for his mom and me.

My favorite picture from 2014, a shot from just above Mowich Lake near Mt. Rainier.

My favorite picture from 2014, a shot from just above Mowich Lake near Mt. Rainier.

Resignation from Rooftop 519

Yesterday morning, I submitted my resignation, effective immediately, to Rooftop 519. It isn’t easy when you help birth an organization from idea to fruition, but it is easy to take action when there is only one option.

I love our purpose and our team. Some of the best adventures of my life were done under the banner of Rooftop. We did incredible work in the lives of the kids we help. Equally amazing is the change in hearts of those who help these little ones.

My resignation was based on a perpetually divided vision… a difference in culture and values. The most recent being a belief in how to address conflict. When a personal difference developed to an impasse, I asked for a “mediated reconciliation”. I called a special meeting this Monday night to discuss it with them. This follows a Matthew 18:15 process of restoring relationship.

Our meeting began at 7 p.m. The board chair prayed. There was an instantaneous (and scripted) motion to adjourn the meeting. The majority ruled in favor of adjourning. My formal grievances and proposed solutions were never heard. It was over.

I wrote and submitted my resignation the next day, Tuesday. That night there was another board meeting. The board chair prayed. There was an instantaneous (and scripted) motion to terminate a very good man’s position on the board of directors. He asked for a reason, and he was simply told they didn’t need one.

Here is the resignation I submitted on Tuesday:

June 11, 2013 

Dear Rooftop 519 Board of Directors,

Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of this organization. I appreciate the gifts of time, talent and treasure you have all brought to our effort.

This letter serves as my resignation. I had proposed for reconciliation, but it appears we do not have the same objectives. Therefore, I can no longer remain in my position.

Please select a board representative to work with me through this transition. I intend to have all Rooftop 519 responsibilities completed by the end of this month. Should it please the board, June 28, 2013 will be my final day as President/CEO.

Sincerely,

Shawn Manley

One Wednesday I received an email that acknowledged  receipt of my resignation. They had not accepted it. They would not give me a liaison. They would not give me a timeline. They made unreasonable demands. It mentioned that they were praying for me a couple of times. I was forbidden to contact individual board members. Not one of the remaining board members called me, or would even return my calls. One board member sent a snarky follow-up to the initial email from the board chair. Proverbial salt in a wound.

I am not sharing my second resignation letter because doing so would uncover individuals in a dishonorable way, not because I dishonored them, but because there is gross negligence by key leaders. I don’t make that statement lightly.

My resignation leaves them in a difficult position. Rooftop 519 is an organization with no financial partners, no volunteers, huge liabilities and no leadership. I didn’t set them up to fail, but instead, they have rushed head-long into a path of oblivion.

God doesn’t really care about organizations. He cares about people. I am excited because the people of God continue to march forward, and a 501 (c) (3) dissolution (or whatever action) doesn’t stop Kingdom work.

I am working with my highly trained and capable friends to bring Elijah to the healer. We really have an amazing team. We may carry other children to healing in the future, but for now, I am just focused on each hour of each day. Elijah will be here this August for treatment at Shriner’s Hospital in Portland.

elijah cover photo-01

This is Elijah Anderson. He will be coming from Liberia to Portland Shriner’s Hospital this summer for skin grafts.

I would like to offer my public apology to any volunteer or partner that I offended through this process. Experiencing a loss is never easy, and I although I am not perfect, I am making an attempt to bring honor . I humbly confess to being stretched incredibly thin these last several days, and frankly, I don’t have the answers to many of the questions.

My sincere thank-you to everyone who has sent me nuggets of love an encouragement, especially my awesome wife. For the first time ever, my monthly cell minutes are gone. My phone rings off the hook, and my text inbox is bursting. You are awesome friends, and you are the reason why my faith and hope are greater than ever.

My cell is 424.653.8323. Call or text me… I would love to hear from you. May God work all things together for good, and may he grow something great in our ashes.

Through the Roof,

Shawn Manley

Proverbs 24:14 Know also that wisdom is like honey for you: If you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

“Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records.” William Aurthur Ward

Justice 2013

One week from today I will be in Philadelphia at the 2013 Justice Conference. Rooftop 519 and Artists Inspring Action have teamed up to create Justice Does, a huge, interactive mural that will engage people in stories and themes of Justice.

See the wallpaper on my blog? That’s a tease of the artwork we’re creating for this experience (credit to Jacob Herring and Pope St. Victor for their work).

This vision started one year ago at the 2012 Justice Conference. Now is our opportunity to use beautiful, meaningful art to depict our growing theology of justice. We have the chance to inspire more people to serving the poor, widows, orphans and strangers.

Biblical justice will never be boiled down to a description, a soundbite or tweet. It is a holistic experience and understanding of the compassion, complexity and beauty of the heart of God is bending towards those in need. Thousands of us will push together at the Justice Conference. Would you please push with us by telling our story? #JusticeDoes

Justice Does

At the end of this month, I have the very rare privilege of co-leading a team of artists and dreamers in one of the largest installations ever created. This mural will be constructed at the third Justice Conference in Philly on February 22 & 23. It is large in size (30′ x 24′), scope (art inspired by multiple themes of justice), and participation (we are hoping to equip over 5,000 people to participate in the mural’s creation).

One year ago, Rooftop 519 was preparing to participate in the 2012 Justice Conference. This is our birthplace. Our first patient, Exodus, went home to Liberia just days after the conference in Portland, Oregon. When our team of volunteers showed up, we were overwhelmed with the incredible response the conference leaders and attendees gave us. We were inspired to action, and we experienced an awakening of our theology of justice.

Artists Inspiring Action was there too. They experienced a similar sense of awakening.

Jacob Herring from Artists Inspiring Action creating "stretcher art" for Rooftop 519.

Jacob Herring from Artists Inspiring Action creating “stretcher art” for Rooftop 519.

While I was at the conference, I began dreaming about a way to engage people in the beautiful and inspirational art we created together. The founder of Artists Inspiring Action, Shane Kalai, was struck with the idea. We had to wonder, “Would the Justice Conference leaders be crazy enough to support this artistic act of worship?”

Ken Wytsma and Erin Lytle are the brains behind this growing collective of dreamers and Jesus-activists. When we set out to share this idea, I never made any assumption that they would give us anything other than their blessing. They have exceeded nearly every hope, even giving us the largest space in the center of the conference.

A video that explains the #justicedoes project is on our indiegogo page. I would love your help in spreading the word. Please consider making a gift to support this mammoth effort. We need your help to do this.

Here is a sneak peek of the touch card featuring art from Jacob Herring andPope St. Victor. I hope to see you in Philly!

handout

The Long View

I just put an appointment on my Google calendar for March 1, 2023. That’s the furthest I’ve ever planned anything. It is my 10,000 day anniversary. I don’t know why I looked it up, but it sounds like a reason to celebrate (thanks interwebs – your calculators are great!).

The older I get, the longer I see into the future. People in their teens rarely look past tomorrow (except for vacations, birthdays and graduation). People in their twenties usually see the next several years. At 38, I’m wondering what kind of grandparents my kids will be.

In October of this year I celebrated my statistical half life. Events like these help me to think about planning and vision, as well as success and achievement. Although we can never count on tomorrow, we should be able to count the success of tomorrow, should God grace us with one more day.

Some things that excite me about 2013:

  • I have the privilege of being in Portland in a few weeks with some of the most gifted minds in Christian stewardship.
  • February will bring the Justice Conference. There are some truly ground-breaking things happening here.
  • Keep an eye out for Ryan and Selena Frederick’s blog, Fierce Marriage. I’m so grateful to minister with these two people.
  • Desert Foursquare is hosting Nations Films in Palm Desert four a premier of their newest movie.
  • August may find me doing a multi-country tour for Rooftop 519.

To all who allow me to share in life’s adventures, my sincerest thanks for a great 2012. Thank you for everything.

Shawn