Kindness as a Stance

In an increasingly polarized and politicized world, what is the role of kindness — and how might it be used to help us revive abundant communities?

Recently featured on CBS, “The Antidote” is a new documentary that weaves together stories of ordinary people drawing upon compassion and kindness to improve the lives of fellow community members.

Featured community organizer De’Amon Harges works as The Roving Listener with Broadway United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, IN. Harges considers kindness “a stance… something that we decide to do and we stand by.” His work with his neighbors and a collage of local collaborators flows from one cornerstone principle of kindness: “Love thy neighbor.” The main thrust De’Amon’s role, he says, is to “kidnap people to fall in love with each other.” One of the most recent project that has sprung from the group’s years of neighborhood “abundance listening” is a bike shop that employs neighborhood kids as entrepreneurs and mechanics while building community among neighbors.

His and his partners’ work is rooted in a curiosity about the giftedness of neighbors in their under-appreciated neighborhood, rather than what they lack. “We normally ask how poor people are and how can we help them,” Harges explains, “instead of asking, ‘What gifts do you have and how can we celebrate those?'”

Also featured from the documentary are a high school religion class in Modesto, California helping students see the “golden thread” running throughout all religions and the work of healthcare professionals to serve people experiencing homelessness with dignity and kindness.

How might embracing a “stance” of kindness serve as a starting point for each of us to cultivate abundant community in our own place? These stories serve up fresh inspiration and ideas.

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