June 26, 2018 Common Good

Organizing Around Possibility (Verse Disappointment)

Another way of thinking about creating a competent and abundant community is to consider it a form of community organizing. Being connected in the way we are speaking of develops confidence that we can create change based on the gifts of all: the neighbor, the deviant, the care filled, the troubled, the elected official, and the formal leader.

This parallels how traditional community organizing developed common cause, which was by identifying a common enemy and relying on opposition to create a sense that we were in the same boat. Saul Alinsky, the father of community organizing, framed it as being bedfellows, having no permanent friends. This can be powerful and has a noble history; it is just not what we are talking about here. Plus, bringing people together against an outsider is the opposite of hospitality.

Community competence based on abundance is about bringing people together around possibility, not disappointment. This is in line with combining our gifts and valuing association. What we are giving voice to in our discussion is a more relationship-based organizing.

How might you notice a possibility and bring people together toward that? Notice, today, one association or group that you presume to be for a short term. What is one way that you could grow closer with that group, making it possible to be friends for the years to come? What might make that possible?




McKnight, John. The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods (p. 78). Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Kindle Edition.


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