You Are the Guest: Chat Box Comments

John and Peter Online / Dial-up Conversation ~ December 12, 2016

You Are the Guest

Conversation with Peter and John

December 12, 2016 – Chat Room


About every six weeks, for the last five years, John and Peter have hosted online / dial-up conversations with community-building pioneers as their guests. For their December 2016 dialog they decided to share some of their latest thinking and invite listeners to share their experiences in building new connections and relationships to strengthen our neighborhoods and communities.

John and Peter’s opening dialog was organized araound four questions:

  • What’s shifted in our thinking

  • What’s been confirmed

  • What gives us hope for the future

  • What are we worried about

In addition to the transcribed discussion here, some of the issues raised by listeners, and their responses to John and Peter’s dialog, were grabbed from the conversation’s chat box and are posted below. Download or listen to the entire conversation here.


We need guidance as we work to create a new ABCD initiative in Aurora, IL. just got a 1.9MM grant to form a new innovation lab.

Hi Maggie, this is Norlyn Dimmitt … [email protected] You’ve introduced me to Kim at ABCD, but they are tied up transitioning.

what gives you hope for the future? 

Here’s a reflection from Mike McCarthy from Hawaii:

Only 50 states – only 50 governor’s – only 50 legislatures – only 50 constitutions – only one United States because of the help of each state.  The real glue is each person with each community working for the collective ambition and collective action for the common good: we each have to be the change we want the world to become.  We all come from the same community the same place – we are the same people in the same communities —  we are all indigenous people of Island Earth.  So, Live Aloha every day all the time the best you can:  the aloha response will help to save yourself and help to save the world.  Just live it.

Hey friends, this is Rich Jones. I love Maggie, Peter, and John! Could you chat more on the “invisible community” that surrounds us?

I like what both Mr. Block said about the screens and how that relates to what Mr. McKnight said about the kind of people we surround ourselves with.

Ideas on how to keep the municipality from usurping the grass root growth.

I am doing physically what I can. I created our neighborhood. We have 1071 households and I am going to go door to door to get people

And create a TimeBank in my neighborhood. To link the neighbors.

It is important to remember that those we surround ourselves with don’t always have to be live people but we can still be affected by them.

I’m interested hearing re facilitating use book ‘The Other Kingdom’ in small group / college class discussion. Discussion Q’s? Syllabi? Related video?

We need more real people and real trees in our lives.

Maggie, I just e-mailed you some information on the incipient initiative, which I’m trying to infuse ABCD wisdom into (but I’m a neophyte).

The article Peter is talking about from Quartz is on the Abundant Community website

The title is “Communities, Not Countries, Are Best Equipped to Fix the World’s Economic Woes” and the link is on the home page of www.abundantcommunity.

What has shifted in me is to awaken from complacency and to intentionally resist status quo / group think, including my own. Not sure what it is yet.

Thanks Maggie! Glad to be in “abundant community” with y’all…and, it’s really not so invisible!

what gives Peter and John hope for the future? from Austin TX Stephanie Nestlerode

Good words Peter…we do have to work with everyone…even folks who don’t listen to themselves and others…we still have to listen.

To MacJohnson: Nothing that I know of from Wiley, the publisher. Will see what they might some up with. In the meantime, let’s see what Peter and John come up with

Building on Peter’s comments, we need to reexamine/revise what we mean by the American Dream. I find Phyllis Moen at Univ of Minn. on target.  Moen in 2005: The Career Mystique: Cracks in the American Dream

To MacJohnson: Pls let me know how to email you. Mine is [email protected]

I’ll give you an amen on community organizing John!

Moen’s 2016 book, Encore Adulthood, describes shared challenges of older adults approaching retirement and young adults today.

My city focuses on the problem of crime and violence. Their answer more police officers. What can I do to change the conversation?

Cornel West: Hope is not the same as optimism….To live is to wrestle with despair yet never to allow despair to have the last word.

Guest 55–Community policing that get’s people in neighborhoods taking actions that prevent crime

THANKs so much! the youth at Standing Rock embody Crazy Horses prophecy of all races coming together in community … a wave of the future.

Thank You!! this was wonderful.

Youth have not yet been tainted by the systems of the world.  Especially indigenous youth

Thank you both for sharing your insights and gifts with us today. You are good.

Crazy Horse was provided that vision by the Great Spirit. It’s a message that is available to all people–should they choose to listen for it.

Guest 55, contact me at [email protected] We are changing the conversation in Aurora, IL. Norlyn Dimmitt

Really like the chat comments. Great “symphony” of thoughts, questions, comments, with Peter and John giving their perspective and words to guide us.

Yes, alternative journalism would be refreshing.

I encourage everyone to visit BridgeAlliance.US, and to imagine how the transpartisan movement can collaborate with the ABCD movement.

What was the name of the journalist in Toronto?

Peter Pula in Toronto. Axiom News

axiom news…peter pula

Peter, One conversation we can have is one of justice that aligns with restoration and decisions grow out of community. Thom Allena

Excellent John! Essential mechanism is the connecting youth to elders! / The Educating Neighborhood / [email protected]

I admire your commitment to aol–it’s much like your devotion to abcd!!

Thank you all…

Thanks, everyone. We will post the audio and link to download it later today, as soon as available.

We will also transcribe the conversation and post it asap on

Thank you, Peter and John. John, you changed my life in 1989!!! My daughter, who lives with multiple disabilities, has benefited from that change!!!!

[email protected]

deeo gratitude

So happy to hear Peter Pula (a friend of mine) mentioned!

Tues, Feb 21, 2017, at 1 pm EST, with Mike Basher, Vice President of Retail Operations for Fare & Square, the first nonprofit grocery store of its kind throughout the nation


Home page image: Tsahi Levant-Levi


About the Lead Author

John McKnight
John McKnight is emeritus professor of education and social policy and codirector of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute at DePaul University. He is the coauthor of Building Communities from the Inside Out and the author of The Careless Society. He has been a community organizer and serves on the boards of several national organizations that support neighborhood development.

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