Deeper Community Partnerships: Practices for Beloved Community Building

Exploring Community Partnerships: An Orientation & Practices for Beloved Community Building – – * Ongoing working draft *

What’s already going on in the community? – “Context Matters”

  • 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, 
  • Public safety, legal, and criminal justice reform
  • Examine local & regional health and connectivity

Elements of cultural polarization – 

  • Economic stratification 
  • Deep wounds, trauma, alienation, isolation, marginalization, exploitation, dominance, and violence 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

What’s Needed?

Contemplative Commitment

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 towards the 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 toward better understanding cultural contexts and complexities to strengthening cooperative collaboration – – –

Ultimately organizing alignment, direction, and commitment towards:

  • Growing Fruit(s) of the Spirit
  • Fellowship and friendship towards holy friendship
  • Nurturing purpose and vocation towards good works, right livelihoods, and more ministry together
  • Nurturing belonging and the beloved community