Community: The Structure of Belonging ペーパーバック – 2018/7/17
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The expanded and revised edition of Community tackles the hysteric rise of isolation and fear in a digitally interconnected world.
As a response to the increasing violence in our culture, the widening ideological divides, and the growing gap in economic well-being, there is greater awareness that a deeper sense of community is desperately needed. But even as we acknowledge the need to build community, the dominant on-the-ground practices about how to engage people, civically and organizationally, remain essentially unchanged. We still believe community is built with better messaging, more persuasion, and social events for people to get to know each other better. All of which is naïve.
In this new edition, Block draws on a decade of putting these ideas into practice to emphasize what has worked and extract those thoughts that were nice but had no durability. He explores how technology, instead of bringing us together, has driven us into more isolation. New examples show that community building can be a more powerful way to address social problems than more traditional policies and programs. And encouragingly, Block insists this is really simple, once we decide it is essential. He offers a way of thinking that creates an opening for authentic communities to exist and details what each of us can do to make that happen.
“This book challenges the conventional wisdom about what you and I can do as citizens to shape our future. It offers concrete examples of what citizens can do and have done by drawing on resources in their families and communities.”
—David Mathews, President, Kettering Foundation
“This book is the basis for health and happiness in any society. A must-read.”
—Quentin Young, Chairman, Health and Medicine Policy Research Group, and former President, American Public Health Association
“‘What we need is here.’ That line from a Wendell Berry poem sums up the theme that runs through this vital and timely book. This book is a treasure. And it can help us recover the treasures hidden in plain sight within and among us, renewing ourselves and our democracy as we go.”
—Parker J. Palmer, founder of the Center for Courage and Renewal and author of A Hidden Wholeness, Let Your Life Speak, and The Courage to Teach
“Don’t wait for a politician, scientist, infomercial, or lottery ticket to come to the rescue. Read this powerful book and help yourself, your neighbors, and your planet to satisfying and sustainable solutions found only in community.”
—Jim Diers, former Director, Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, and author of Neighbor Power
I would particularly recommend this book for pastors. I strongly feel every pastor should read this. Church should be a community, not an event, and to put it bluntly, the wonderful picture this author paints of what community should look like is only possible in the Church, and the Church has a responsibility to live into that.
It gives us a common language for talking about what makes community transformation different from human service/government planning and programs.
It integrates many important strands of transformation thinking, making transformation feel more accessible.
It helps us see what transformation looks like and connects that vision to concrete practice.
Community: The Structure of Belonging is divided into two sections. The first is titled The Fabric of Community and is for me what makes this book so important. In this section Peter provides the "why" and the "what" of community transformation. (Those of us who normally skip straight to the "how" should read Peter's previous book, The Answer to How is Yes.) In this section, we learn to not continue repeating the program, system, service problem solving that keeps us from really restoring community. We learn what transformation is, what it means to be a citizen. If we really get the message of this section, we start to BE community transformer, not just DO community building.
The second section is The Alchemy of Belonging. This is the tool kit for doing community transformation. Convening, invitation, small groups, forming the questions, holding the conversations of possibility, ownership, dissent commitment and gifts are covered here. This section expands the information that has been available on Peter's website that was developed and used in Cincinnati by A Small Group (as in Margaret Mead's axiom, "Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world. In fact it is the only thing that ever has.")
In the back are two extra gifts: Book at a Glance, a 10-page sentence outline of the entire book, and Role Models and Resources, which expands the concept of an annotated bibliography and offers countless opportunities for further reading and learning.
The gift of this book is a strong set of principles and usable instructions for restoring community. The challenge is to our willingness to stop what we are doing and learn what will lead us to the communities we desire.