The Stranger

Hospitality is the welcoming of strangers. This is a… major property that defines an abundant community: There is always a welcome at the edge, regardless of how bonded the members of a community might be. A neighborhood is not really a competent or abundant community if strangers are not welcome. Hospitality is the essence of community competence.

Bring to mind one group or association that you frequently connect with. What are the common points that bring you together? Is it an affinity for plants or motorcycles? Is it a life stage like caring for aging parents or being unattached and able to travel frequently? Is it a belief or culturally familiar religious group?

Now consider who might be the strangerin such a group? How might you make an effort to engage the stranger as a group- to welcome them and be curious about them. How would you do this without asking them to conform to your group’s sameness?

At our final 2018 Common Good Fellows video conference call one organizer said this was a group of people that he would have never chosen to hang out with, and that, in contrast to likeminded or sameness, this group gave him something new he hadn’t experienced. How might you be such a stranger to a group, or welcome such a person into an existing group or association.

 

 

McKnight, John. The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods (pp. 78-79). Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Kindle Edition.

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