A number of years ago, a good friend and I spent a couple days at a Bed and Breakfast in the Amish Country in northern Indiana, not too far from Chicago. Sitting on the front porch after touring all day and seeing the horse and buggies passing by was almost surreal. How do the Amish do it? I still wonder, how, that is, do they survive economically in this country with such a diametrically opposed economic system? I also wonder if we could learn from them. I think so.
Robert Neuwirth in his June 2012 TEDGlobal Talk, “The power of the informal economy” taught me things I never learned in Economics 101 at DePaul University in the mid 1960’s. I suspect they are still not teaching these facts either in their 100 level courses or the 400 level ones. Neuwirth ends with saying: “I just want to end by saying that if Adam Smith had framed out a theory of the flea market instead of the free market, what would be some of the principles?” I like his question and think it especially good for us as we struggle to find jobs and meaningful employment today for all our college graduates leaving school with thousands of dollars in debt.
In an April 21, 2016 post “Leap of Faith” on the Fellowship for Intentional Community’s Blog, A couple in their late 60’s tells of their joining a younger couple, buying a couple farm buildings and acres and starting a community. I found the entire post very interesting, but in case you don’t have the time, I found the following quote especially apropos for anyone interested in developing community.
I also asked Alina what makes the farm work. She said (not in these words) that we know each other very well, we generously share things without feeling territorial, we don’t keep score, we all work together as a team, and we talk to each other about important things at dinner.
I wonder if such thinking has any place in our discussions regarding the communities we as Passionist Partners are trying to develop? I wonder especially if meeting once a month is enough to develop community? I wonder if it’s not time to rethink this whole thing we call community?