We need our neighbors and a community to be healthy, produce jobs, protect the land and care for the elderly and those on the margin.
We are discovering that it takes a village to do more than raise a child. It is the key to a satisfying life. It turns out we need our neighbors and a community to be healthy, produce jobs, protect the land and care for the elderly and those on the margin.
Our consumer society constantly tells us that we are insufficient and that we must purchase what we need from specialists and systems outside the community. We outsource our health care, child care, recreation, safety and satisfaction. We are trained to become consumers and clients, not citizens and neighbors. John McKnight and Peter Block take a thoughtful look at how this situation came about, what maintains it and the crippling effect it has had on our families, our communities and our environment.
Right in our neighborhood we have the capacity to address our human needs in ways that systems, which see us only as interchangeable units, as problems to be solved, never can. We all have gifts to offer, even the most seemingly marginal among us. This book suggests how to nurture voluntary, self-organizing structures that will reveal these gifts and allow them to be shared to the greatest mutual benefit. Block and McKnight recommend roles we can assume and actions we can take to reweave the social fabric that has been unraveled by consumerism and its belief that however much we have, it is not enough.
Each neighborhood has people with the gifts and talents needed to provide for our prosperity and peace of mind — this book offers practical ways to discover them. It reminds us of our power to create a hope-filled life. It assures us that ultimately we can be the architects of the future where we want to live.
"What we need is here." That line from a Wendell Berry poem sums up the theme that runs through this vital and timely book. No one is better equipped to help us test this truth than John McKnight and Peter Block. 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. Palmerauthor of A Hidden Wholeness, Let Your Life Speak and The Courage to Teach and founder, Center for Courage and Renewal
The Abundant Community is a book that reminds us that our greatest strength as a people comes from the gifts of caring, aware communities and neighborhoods.