Tag Archives: community

Do Something

If not us then who?

 

 



 

Let’s Talk About It

We are talking about Celebration this month in The Espirational Community on Facebook.  While due to the founders of this site’s personal backgrounds this is a Christ based Website this site and The Espirational Community  is a place for people of all faiths to gather, discuss and praise the God of us all. Please consider this your invitation to join our community and participate in the discussion of this timely topic.

What “outsiders” teach us about community

Image Copyright 2017 by R.A. Robbins

Recent attempts in the U.S. to limit what it means to be an American and exclude those who don’t measure up sadden, frighten and disturb me.  When will it stop? Will you make the cut? I’m not sure I will. The example being set by our President that it is okay to bully, belittle, mimic, degrade, name call or even possibly physically attack people who are different is being readily accepted and adopted by some Americans, including Christians.

But what would happen to our country if these attempts at exclusion should be successful?  Would our country really be better or would we lose our greatest strengths?

Let’s look at what “outsiders” have taught and continue to teach us about community.

  • We are stronger together.  Community is often created by outsider groups as a means of survival.   It is not unusual to see people who live with disabilities, poverty, discrimination, or other negative labels help others join together in community.  Sometimes these groups fight for their basic human rights. It might be easy to ignore one individual, but larger groups grab our attention. We can accomplish more as group than we can on our own.
  • Burdens shared are burdens lightened.  It is not unusual for members of outsider groups to help each other out.  Many times when no one else will. This might be by sharing food, information, prayer, physical work, or sometimes money.  Many years ago I was part of a small informal group of graduate students who would pool our meager resources and prepare and eat dinner together.  We not only ate better we enjoyed each other’s company.
  • Communities hold each other together during times of tragedy.  When we see people coming together to help and support each other in the aftermath of tragedy, whether the death of a friend or loved one, a natural disaster or the latest mass shooting, we see community at it’s finest.  The largest funeral I ever attended was that of a young woman who after years of being labeled mentally ill took her own life. People who did not even know her personally attended to support and encourage each other. Those labeled mentally ill recognize the fragility of life and reality and the need for others to accompany us on our journey.
  • We have much to learn from the customs and traditions of other cultures.  Americans have seen throughout the history of our nation that immigrants and even those brought to this country in shackles and sold as property have helped build our country with their blood, sweat and tears.  The work ethic of immigrants has sometimes put us to shame. But instead of learning from this, how many times have we judged, accused or reacted out of fear? We have also learned and adopted/adapted the culinary traditions of other cultures.  Can you think of one uniquely American food?
  • Different is not a dirty word.  The bullies of this world win only if we believe what they say and that we deserve the way they treat us.
  • Perseverance pays off.   Members of “outsider” groups have so much to teach us about perseverance.  Parents of children with disabilities dedicate their time, money, love and effort to helping their children grow and have the best life possible.  Their children persevere in learning to do things differently than other people. Adults with disabilities worked for the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act and still fight for their right to work, live and contribute to our society. Civil Rights workers in the 1960’s persevered in their efforts to create a world that works for all  Despite setbacks groups like Black Lives Matter and others continue the work.. Generations of immigrants have come to this country and persevered in the often difficult struggle to create a better life and helped create a better country along the way. Even people the world may consider outsiders because they think in different ways sometimes come together to create new technology, save lives, explore space and send man to the Moon and beyond.

 

Unfortunately, as with most things that can be a force for good, community can also be used to exclude and keep others out.  That is why it is so important to learn from the mistakes we have made along the way as well as listen to and learn from those those whose cultural traditions and perseverance have offer much needed lessons to teach us.  

 

We are a community

Copyright 2017 by R.A. Robbins

Each of us must rededicate ourselves to serving the common good.  We are a community.  Our individual Fates are linked; our futures intertwined; and if we act in that knowledge and in that spirit together, as the Bible says: “We can move mountains.” — Jimmy Carter

The Warmth of Community

Copyright 2017 by R.A. Robbins

“It is not more bigness that should be our goal.  We must attempt, rather, to bring people back to…the warmth of community, to the worth of individual effort and responsibility…and of individuals working together as a community, to better their lives and their children’s future.” —  Robert F. Kennedy

The Woman Power of This Nation

Copyright 2017 by R.A. Robbins

“The woman power of this nation can be the power which makes us whole and heals the rotten community, now so shattered by war and poverty and racism. I have great faith in the power of women who will dedicate themselves whole-heartedly to the task of remaking our society.”  Coretta Scott King
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/community

Create Stable Communities

“What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, Palm Sunday: An Autobiographical Collage

Caring for Each Other — an oldie but goodie

This month I have decided to bring back an old post from 2017.  This is still timely today.

CARING FOR EACH OTHER

I have been blessed to have experience several wonderful examples of community throughout my life so far.  I grew up in a church that was a close, loving “church family.”  We cared for each other, prayed for each other and helped out in tangible ways when needed.  I did not realize at the time how much work it took to build and maintain such community until a new pastor came and it was quickly destroyed.

In college I was a part of small group of students and faculty who were the “spiritual core” of our campus community.  That group provided a place for me as a student who didn’t fit in other areas of campus life.

I have also experienced community in “outsider” groups.  People who are often overlooked, ignored or excluded by the rest of society.  There is much to be learned from the way these groups come together to take care of each other.

Since I have experienced community I feel lost when it does not exist.  I have tried to find it and have had hopes that I had found it, only to be disappointed.  I’m not sure there are many people left who understand the concept of community or know how to build or live in it.

But one thing I know for sure, is that creating a sense of community where we care for and support each other is something that we desperately need right now.  In fact, I believe it is the only thing that can heal the wounds created by the last election here in the U.S. and that continue to be created.  As the new regime continues to force harmful policies on our country, people are going to be harmed.  People are facing the possibility of losing not only their insurance coverage, but their access to medical care at all.  Right now, people are afraid of being forced from the country they have come to love and call home because of their ethnic or religious heritage, even if they are citizens.  People are being attacked because they are Muslim, or even “look” Muslim.  Jobs are at risk. Families are at risk of being torn apart.

Who is going to help pick up the pieces?  I believe there are good, kind-hearted people out there who will respond to these needs, either out of their spiritual practices or because it is just the right, moral and ethical thing to do.

I have been struggling with what to do in the aftermath of the election.  Until recently the only thing I really felt “called” to do was pray including joining online prayer and meditation gatherings for specific causes.  We attended an Indivisible meeting in our community, but their strategies just don’t feel right for me to implement.  Then while driving into the Walmart parking lot I encountered human need first hand — a family including three young children, not from an Islamic nation, but who could have been mistakenly labeled as such holding a sign saying “lost job, please help.”  In the part of the country where I live this left me a bit shaken to say the least.

I felt fear for this family, but it also left me with a clear focus on what I am to do.  I am to help pick up the pieces of human lives damaged by nationalistic policies as I am able and the need arises.  I am open to what that might mean in terms of action, and I am trusting Spirit to guide me.  In this specific instance after a brief talk with the mother, I went back to Walmart and bought a gift card wishing I could do more.

It’s wake up time folks!  If this country is to survive we have to stop blaming people we see as not the right color, nationality, religion or who have not realized our idea of the American dream in terms of wealth.  It is time to start protecting the vulnerable, caring for the sick, feeding the hungry, and mourning with those who mourn.

In short, it’s time to be more Christ-like.

Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the wold.  For I was hungry and you gave me to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.

Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?

The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these you did for me.

Matthew 25:34-40 — New International Version.

We must become bigger than we have been

Cloudy Sunrise #1
Copyright 2016 by R.A. Robbins

“We must become bigger than we have been: more courageous, greater in spirit, larger in outlook. We must become members of a new race, overcoming petty prejudice, owing our ultimate allegiance not to nations but to our fellow men within the human community.” —  Haile Selassie
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/community