Push back from the community

The final morning of the Abundant Community conference was like none other that I have attended. They gave participants a chance to push back on the things they had heard the day before. This showed great courage on behalf of the speakers, and it modeled true community. A speech, in essence, is an “empire” expression. A discussion is by its nature communitarian.

I did not take notes of the various comments, but they were excellent. I did write down the essence of one person’s comments: “Community also creates rigid lines that separate.” And, “there was little mention yesterday of justice.”

Peter Block then responded. As with my previous posts, these are basic paraphrases, not quotes. Here are my notes from Peter:

Patriarchy is held together by force. Structure is not bad. We’re trying to create structures that affirm community, invite widespread participation, that challenges certainty. … Part of your congregational role is to create structures that promote community.

I am broken, but I resist being fixed. All efforts of self-improvement have an element of contempt in them.

Doubts and reservations create a need for me to customize what I hear.

How do you help people become committed and not compliant (in an organization you lead).

“Take it to scale” is an effort of empire.

“Speed” is an effort of empire.

They are obstacles to transformation.

Dissent is important. It’s the beginning of the conversation that may lead to commitment.

When you allow people to have their doubts and reservations and you don’t have an answer for them is the beginning of community. The leadership function is to be a catalyst and then to organize the structure.

What commitments do you have that you no longer mean?

Create space for people to change their minds.

What are you mad about that nobody knows?

You want to help people express their doubts. When released, they no longer control me.

The Walter Brueggemann added this important note:

In our world we have to accommodate empire. The important thing is that we be aware of it.

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