Every community creates its own culture—the way the community members learn, through time, how to survive and prosper in a particular place. Displaced people lose their culture. But it is also possible to lose a community culture even though you stay in a place. Many of us have lost our culture, even though we live in a neighborhood, occupy an apartment, see others from a distance.
The question is how to create another way of life, so that we could say, “In this place, we have a strong culture where kin, friends, and neighbors surround us. We are a group of families who have a special kind of relationship. Together we raise our children, manage health, feel productive, and care for those on the margin.”
The culture of community is initiated by people who value each other’s gifts and are seriously related to each other. It takes time, because serious relationships are based upon trust, and trust grows from the experience of being together in ways that make a difference in our lives.
As you read the above quote, is there an example that comes to mind of where you or your community has lost culture? What is the special kind of relationship that you and your neighbors and friends share? How are you building a culture together?
In these summer months, consider how you might invite a few colleagues or neighbors into a shared evening experience. Maybe it’s a game night, a cocktail night, a pie eating party, a music jam, a potluck, or kickball game. Avoid the temptation to make it one more activity in a busy week—instead leave space so that it is more “home spun” made by those who share it.
McKnight, John. The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods (p. 117). Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Kindle Edition.