The answer, if you follow John McKnight's work, is to rely on each other particularly when we come together in voluntary associations, networks and neighbourhoods.
John and Peter Block's book Abundant Community has hit a sweet spot in America. Americans, like other citizenry, must reclaim their authority to solve their own problems and stop relying on an oligarchy of financial, intellectual, media and marketing elites, experts and needs makers. Abundant Community chronicles the hidden assets of Americans – their care, commitment and concern for each other. The power and love of citizens are alive and getting better in our neighbourhoods and the voluntary associations that proliferate in our communities. There you will see an abundance of people who come together to support each other, to enjoy their passions and to define and direct solutions to what challenges them.
American media seldom portrays these hidden assets and their social inventions. American politicians rarely rely on them. Abundant Community does. John and Peter encourage us to take back responsibility for our children, our health, our fun, our learning and our safety.
For those who haven't yet read their book have a look at their Abundant Community website. John and Peter continue to write, to illuminate, to profile and to provoke – all in the service of what's already working. Here for example is a brief quote from a longer interview with John on the importance of hospitality:
When I think about the importance of keeping the “door open,” it doesn’t seem to me to be a question about power. It is a question about hospitality. Hospitality is, classically, the welcoming of a stranger. It is a feeling that you have a relationship with people you don’t know. And, why would you have this kind of a feeling? Because, the stranger has come from over the horizon and knows about places you’ve never been, knows stories you’ve never heard, and tells you poems that light up your life. If your door is closed, you live an arid life. So, a good life depends on an open door. I suppose you could say that a good life depends upon whether you have the power to welcome people.
From time to time Peter and John host telephone webinars.
I'm delighted to be their featured interview next Tuesday August 28th at 2:00 (EDT) 11:00 Vancouver time (PDT). The topic is: Innovators Out of the Box. Click here for details on how to connect either by phone or internet.