We Are About: Building Community

As we round the bend on the final points of the JTN manifesto, I couldn't help but notice that the last four declarations on our list all share a common theme:

All of them touch upon how we'll build community here.

And so I decided to group all four of these points together in one final post, with a few words on each one.

So here they are . . . the final four pillars of our JTN manifesto:


1. Learning with each other and from each other.

No one person has a corner on this market. We are all beginners, and we are all teachers.

Thomas Merton liked to say, "We do not want to be beginners. But let us be convinced of the fact that we will never be anything else but beginners."

We have so much to learn from one another, and it is of great value in this community to give and receive from each other on this shared journey.

We will share stories and questions and discoveries and quandaries . . . and we will listen, and hold space, and seek to understand, and in humility receive each other's wisdom.


2. Celebrating acts of love and nonviolence within this community and around the world.

In a previous post, I mentioned that we will shortly begin a recurring feature on this blog called Repentance Thursdays. I'll share more about this when it officially launches (perhaps as early as next week), but it affords at its root a weekly opportunity to repent as a community of our individual violences of heart and deed.

But here's the beautiful thing . . .

As we choose to grow together along our rough edges, we will also make plenty of room to celebrate our ongoing growth in love.

That's where another new weekly feature will come into play.

Moment of Love Mondays will intentionally create space for us at the beginning of each week to reflect on the specific ways we chose to love in difficult moments the previous week.

(Interestingly enough, Kirsten and Katy-Did already offered two great glimpses into what this type of story-sharing can look like for us each Monday morning in the comments section of the previous post!)


3. Finding specific situations and places to actively choose and practice nonviolence.

Our fellow tribemember Sarah offered this suggestion for our JTN manifesto when it first debuted -- and I love it!

  • What if we, as a community, actively chose to demonstrate nonviolent action in response to specific situations that crop up in the greater world?
  • And what if -- eventually -- we coordinated group efforts along these lines?

I think it's possible.

In fact, this notion falls right in line with the original JTN vision I promised I would share with you at the conclusion of this series (and which is coming, as promised, in the next post later this week).

I would count it a great privilege to explore what this could look like with you.


And finally:

4. Forgiving ourselves and each other when we fail to live this journey well.

Let's face it. This journey is not easy.

It is, first of all, not one most people choose willingly.

And once chosen willingly, it is full of its fair share of fits and starts.

But just as this journey is about learning to extend compassionate grace toward those we might find difficult to love, it is also about extending that same compassionate grace toward ourselves and everyone else here.

We will bumble along.

We will discover our many egregious human frailties.

We will want to hide our eyes from these shortcomings.

And we will sometimes find it hard to love and forgive ourselves and each other these failings.

But here is grace.

And grace is here.