Exploring Community Partnerships:
An Orientation & Practices for Beloved Community Building
* Ongoing working draft *
What’s already going on in the community?
- History & traditions, data & stats, stories & texts (sacred & secular)
- Environment (Creation, ecology, land, plants & animals, bioregion, food-shed, watershed),
- Economic climate (business community / private sector): work & jobs, banking & finance
- Civic sector: nonprofits, faith communities, and who’s here? (cultures & communities),
- Public sector: local government: political climate, political representation, and public policy
- Education, housing, health, food & agriculture, arts & media,
- Public spaces & commons,
- Examine local & regional health and connectivity
Elements of cultural polarization –
- Economic stratification
- Deep wounds, trauma, alienation, and isolation from systemic poverty, racism, white supremacy, white dominant culture and Christian nationalism, xenophobia, patriarchy & sexism, etc.
- Identity threats and conflicting moral worldviews
- Institutional failings
- Systematic misuses of power and toxic leadership
- 21st century ripple effects and manifestations of slavery, genocide, and indebtedness
- Immoral, biased, or false stories (ie: inappropriate assumptions, incorrect facts, or immoral agendas), as well as
- The same old tensions and temptations of control, greed, and unholy/immoral power
VUCA: Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity
VUCA 2.0: Vision, Understanding, Courage, and Adaptability
Explore values & virtues (inner work) and cultural contexts & communities (outer work)
Rooting and grounding ourselves in the cloud of witnesses, our ancestors, teachers, mentors, community, and friends …. sense of place, identity, home, etc. (?)
Commit to what has heart, meaning, & purpose
Cultivate communion, connection & awareness
What is faithful and may potentially bear fruit?
Context matters & Compassionate Communication (with humility and transparency) is everything
Care: Nurture compassion and trust, relational health, intentionality, authenticity, transparency, deliberative cultures, wellbeing of self and others, radical hospitality & generosity, & restorative justice
Cultural work: Honoring dignity, worth and potential of everyone, cultural humility, cross-cultural empathy and compassion, cultural agility, and exploring culturally appropriate actions that help bridge cultural divisions across race, ethnicity, class, gender, religion, politics, etc.
This includes getting beyond our own point of view, cultural boundedness, and social location, letting go of self-centeredness, self-interest, and self-importance. Practice self-emptying continuously – dying to yourself, your culturally created self – to understand the myriad of issues at play.
Over time, moving toward collective work of mutual learning, appreciation, and delight, and hopefully toward community building and healing divisions …
Cooperate: Be cooperative, agile, adaptable, & flexible. Overcome siloed service delivery, fragmentation, dis-connectedness, & lack of coordination through local mutually beneficial networks and alliances
Courage: Exercise courage muscles and create brave spaces – courageous conversations and actions
Creativity: Exercise creativity, imagination, and vision >>> collaborative and cooperative co-creation of beloved community building ….. don’t forget fun, beauty, humor, and play
Collaboration: Identify ways to assist, contribute, collaborate, & share skills, talent, gifts, insight, & resources
Compassionate community accountability: communication is everything – for forgiveness, cultural healing, & restorative justice (echo)
Curiosity: Continuous curiosity, learning, dialogue, contemplation, deliberation, reflection, experimenting (trial & error), and intentionality >>> better understanding cultural contexts and complexities to strengthening cooperative collaboration ….
. . . . . .
Ultimately organizing alignment, direction, and commitment towards:
- Nurturing belonging, purpose, and vocation
- Fellowship & friendship >>> holy friendship
- Good works, right livelihoods, and more ministry together
- Growing Fruit(s) of the Spirit and nurturing the beloved community