Ministry Theme of the Month

Ministry Theme of the Month


The greatness of a community is most accurately measured

by the compassionate actions of its members.-Coretta Scott King

From Parker Palmer:

Whether we know it or not, like it or not, honor it or not, we are embedded in community. Whether we think of ourselves as biological creatures or spiritual beings or both, the truth remains: we were created in and for a complex ecology of relatedness, and without it we wither and die. This simple fact has critical implications: community is not a goal to be achieved but a gift to be received. When we treat community as a product that we must manufacture instead of a gift we have been given, it will elude us eternally. When we try to “make community happen,” driven by desire, design, and determination—places within us where the ego often lurks we will exhaust ourselves and alienate each other, snapping the connections we yearn for. What can we do? Relax into our created condition and receive the gift we have been given.

Old Thinking New Thinking
Community is a goal. Community is a gift.
We achieve community through desire, design and determination. We receive community by cultivating a capacity for connectedness.
Romanticized community. Community can withstand hard times and conflict can help us become happy and “at home.”
Leadership is not needed in communities. Leadership and the authority to lead toward community can emerge from within.
Suffering is bad and should be avoided. Suffering lets our “hearts break open” enough to hold both a vision of hope and the reality of resistance.

This writing is from Thirteen Ways of Looking at Community 
“The Inner Edge”, © Parker J. Palmer, 1998

  • How do you think about community?
  • How do you feel about community?
  • How do you experience community?