June 15, 2018 Common Good

What Stories Are You Listening To?

In a communal culture, everything is personal, neighbors know me by name, I am valued, I have gifts to offer the community. There is opportunity for gifts to be given. There is an order to how we organize our world, but it is not rigid. There are creativity and spontaneity. There is tragedy, and we mourn and move on together and know that we have found our way. Families and neighborhoods have reclaimed their functions in achieving the aspirations we share for our children, our health and security, our environment and economic enterprises. Three other cultural traits of an abundant community are worth noting: the way it treats time, allows for silence, and values storytelling. 

Chaos theory in physics says that atoms move in chaotic ways, it can’t be mapped, until it comes together to form something and moves towards some sense of order.  Physicists call the fundamental nature of how atoms work “relationship”.  In our communities, we know that relationships can be messy, chaotic, and sometimes painful.  Yet, there are gifts flowing, and as we recognize those gifts, we begin to see creative possibility, imagination, and innovation in how we relate and organize as we claim our agency in community and tell the stories of how we come together.

How do you make time for Chaos?  How do you feel about the current balance in your week between the stories you consume through media like Netflix and YouTube and the time you make to hear stories from your neighbors or strangers whom you encounter face to face in your community and workspace?

Slow down for 2 more minutes to take account: Is there one decisionyou could make today to create a little more time to hear such stories? Share this decision with someone else while its fresh in your mind: a phone call, a note, or a memo to share more next time you’re with them.



McKnight, John. The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods (p. 92). Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Kindle Edition.

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