Exploring Community Partnerships: An Orientation & Practices for Beloved Community Building

Exploring Community Partnerships: An Orientation & Practices for Beloved Community Building

*Ongoing working draft for discussion*

What’s already going on in the community? 

  • History, traditions (sacred and secular), Data/stats, stories & texts (sacred & secular)
  • Environment (Creation, ecology, land, plants & animals, bioregion, food-shed, watershed), 
  • Economic climate (biz community / private sector): work-jobs, 
  • Civic sector: nonprofits, faith communities, and who’s here? (cultures & communities), 
  • Public sector: local gov’t: political climate & policy, 
  • Education, housing, health, food & ag, arts & media, 
  • Public spaces & commons, 
  • Examine local & regional health and connectivity

Elements of cultural polarization – 

  • economic stratification, 
  • deep woundedness, trauma, alienation, and isolation from systemic racism, white supremacy, white dominant culture and Christian nationalism, xenophobia, poverty, and patriarchy,
  • 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 media stories (ie: inappropriate assumptions 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

What’s Needed?

Contemplative Commitment

Explore values & virtues (inner work) and 

cultural contexts & communities (outer work), 

rooting and grounding in ancestors, teachers, mentors, community and friends (home?), & 

commit to what has heart, meaning, & purpose 

—> Tree of Contemplative Practices:

Cultivating communion, connection & awareness 

  • Stillness
  • Ritual/cyclical
  • Generative
  • Movement
  • Creative
  • Relational
  • Activist

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 strengthen equity and help heal 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.

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 

Collaboration: Identify ways to assist, contribute, collaborate, & share skills, talent, gifts, insight, & resources

Compassionate community accountability: communication is everything, for cultural healing, & restorative justice (echo)

Curiosity: Continuous curiosity, learning, dialogue, contemplation, deliberation, reflection, 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 & holy friendship

Good works, right livelihoods, and growing beloved community