Tag Archives: community

Sustaining Our Communities

In physics, centripetal forces propel objects toward the center and centrifugal forces drive them away. And today, our societies and communities are engaged in an epic battle between these two opposing forces. I once attended a Salzburg Seminar and the most compelling presentation I heard was from a sociologist analyzing the Bosnian War. He explained how the Serbs destroyed villages by first attacking the places in which villagers gathered – like libraries, cafes, schools, and houses of worship. The rationale was simple, if you destroy the places where people come together, you shatter the cohesive spirit of a community. And while we’re hardly besieged by a warring tribe today, technical and societal forces are exerting a strong centrifugal force on …
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A Nation of Cranks?

We’ve become a nation of divided cranks. Too many of my friends have made up their mind about everything, dug in their heels, and either turned their face to the wall, as they say in hospice, or steeled themselves to fighting for their entrenched opinions. If only we lived in a simple binary world of absolutes instead of in the complicated, nuanced world where some things can be true and false at the same time. We wouldn’t need all this troublesome education, reading, art, science, and conversation. We could just eat, drink, watch television, and give those who disagree with us the digital digit. Friends send me anti-vax, anti-immigrant, anti-abortion, anti-religion, anti-wind, anti-hunting, anti-single-payer memes… the list is endless and …
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No Main Is an Island – John Donne, 1624

The Solstice Holidays are a time for us to pause and think about who we are, our purpose on earth, and where we reside in the universe of religious tradition, family, and material wellbeing. The word “community” has changed greatly in my long lifetime. My parents and grandparents lived out their lives in their towns. Rare trips were made to see a distant relative or to fight wars overseas but we mostly stayed where we grew up. By the age of twenty, my own children had travelled far and wide. Many young people are migrating away from small communities into cities. Millennial communities are global and digital. To the young, our tired racial and gender biases are artifacts of our …
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