A Community Building Building Community

Every weekday sometime around 11:30 am I find my way over to Lakeview Presbyterian Church’s third space where I enjoy a better than home cooked meal prepared by First Slice and spend an hour or so in fellowship with friends. Up until April 22nd we had been temporarily meeting in the sanctuary, waiting for the completion and opening of third space which is the name for the old Parish House just west of the Church on the corner of Broadway and Addison in Chicago.

Pastor Joy Douglas Strome shares in the above video their community’s dreams for third space and explains how they arrived at the name as well as the secret, or maybe not so secret to community builders, to creating community in a 21st century modern city. If you are interested in building a community today, I believe this video will provide a good blueprint.

The house built in 1911 provided educational programs to a rapidly growing Lakeview Community. In 1870 2,000 residents, mainly celery farmers populated the area. By 1887 the population reached 45,000 residents, leading to the eventual incorporation into Chicago in 1889. (Wikipedia)

Over the years the space was used for teaching English to immigrant populations, providing sanctuary for Central American refugees, providing alternative education for at-risk youth, serving a hot lunch to neighborhood senior citizens are strong evidence of a church history that proclaims the gospel in actualized missions that serve both neighborhood and city.” (Church Website)

Thanks Pastor Joy and Lakeview Presbyterian Church Community for your continuing to make community thrive in a time when many of us believe real, honest-to-goodness community is something of the past. You’re proving us wrong.

Posted by Dan O’Donnell, a layman who has covenanted with the Chicago Community of Passionist Partners. In addition to the standard covenant, Dan promises to work at connecting all partners known and unknown, to a conscious following the the way of Jesus, the way of the cross which Dan believes transforms all failure, democratizing the human journe

A Conversation with Ann Marie on Community

I often feel challenged by the craziness I see in the world around me. I turn on the News and I hear about the latest killings, fires and mayhem interspersed with advertising (actually, a more accurate statement might read advertising interspersed with a little news) that insists I must take this particular medicine, or drive this new car, or travel to that corner of the world if I hope to experience life and be happy.

I believe there’s another way. I can search for like-minded people, persons who believe in collaboration and sharing and align myself with them in community. In the next couple of weeks I would like to tell you the stories and the opinions of some of the many good people I’ve met in my search for community. Today’s post starts with a conversation with Ann Marie Cunningham sharing what drew her to a religious community when she was younger, her experience of community then and today and her hopes for the future.

This interview appropriately took place at the Lakeview Presbyterian Church in Chicago where I and twenty or so other older adults, participate in the Senior Lunch Bunch five days a week.  I write “Appropriately” because this coming Easter, Pastor Joy Strome and her church members will dedicate their new “Third Space – a community building, building community”.  Hopefully more to come about this growing community in a future blog.

Posted by Dan O’Donnell, a layman who has covenanted with the Chicago Community of Passionist Partners. In addition to the standard covenant, Dan promises to work at connecting all partners known and unknown, to a conscious following the the way of Jesus, the way of the cross which Dan believes transforms all failure, democratizing the human journey

“Why Wonder Why”

“Just as modern mass production requires the standardization of commodities, so the social process requires standardization of man…”   (Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving)

Sometimes I just wish I could be a great singer, or a famous writer, or just anything but me. At those times, I turn to my old buddy Kermit the frog and listen to his words of wisdom, especially his: “…why wonder why…”

When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why, but why wonder why
Wonder, I am green and it'll do fine, it's beautiful
And I think it's what I want to be

Thank you Joe Rapozo, Jim Henson and Sesame Street.   It’s Not Easy Bein Green.

Each day each of us get to be who we are and that’s enough.

Posted by Dan O’Donnell, a layman who has covenanted with the Chicago Community. In addition to the standard covenant, Dan promises to work at connecting all partners known and unknown, to a conscious following the the way of Jesus, the way of the cross which Dan believes transforms all failure, democratizing the human journey

We Are All Called to be Builders

Can you imagine a world “of hopes, dreams and visions…where prophets speak…where peace and justice meet…where outcasts and  strangers bear the image of God’s Face and the cross stands as witness”?

Posted by Dan O’Donnell, a layman who has covenanted with the Chicago Community. In addition to the standard covenant, Dan promises to work at connecting all partners known and unknown, to a conscious following the the way of Jesus, the way of the cross which Dan believes transforms all failure, democratizing the human journey

Facing Hate Head On

“Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love… Our aim must never be to defeat or humiliate the white man, but to win his friendship and understanding.” (Martin Luther King Jr. 1958 Speech)

I know and believe Dr. Martin Luther King’s statement above almost better than I know any other reality, but that doesn’t stop me from getting upset and ready to throw a few punches when I watch the news reporting the craziness going on in my world today. I also know, simply sitting at home in my living room, and just watching the news will paralyze me eventually letting those images of hate so vividly presented on the television get lost in the hodgepodge of other “news”. I can’t let that happen. I must do something to counteract the hate in my world.

Now, to many my preferred course of action will seem like pollyanna and totally ineffective, but I believe there are two actions I can and must take to stop the hate. I believe with all my being, these actions will truly make a difference. First, I must take those vivid images with me. I must never forget that today someone, somewhere is hating, and as Dr. King states in the above video, I must love that hater and then just as important, or maybe more importantly, secondly, I must identify with the “hated”. That’s right, I must identify with the hated.

I absolutely cannot do that by myself (by myself, I would throw the punches) and so I choose to join other believers on a regular basis and pray, meditate and then most importantly make a plan of action to be a source of love in my world. Together, if we are true to our mission, we will stand with the marginalized and oppressed, we will counsel the doubtful, feed the hungry, cloth the naked… you know the rest and yes, I believe we will redeem the hater.

Dan O’Donnell

Dan O’Donnell, a layman has covenanted with the Chicago Community. In addition to the standard covenant, Dan promises to work at connecting all partners known and unknown, to a conscious following the the way of Jesus, the way of the cross which Dan believes transforms all failure, democratizing the human journey

What is Real?

If I watch television today (I do this less and less) I get bewildered. Viewing programming like the news, I see and hear about a world full of murder and mayhem. Then I watch the advertising which seems to take up more and more of the televised time, and I get the impression that life is good—good that is if you drive a particular car, live in the right neighborhood, take the right vacations, have that “certain” look, none of which do I have or do nor frankly want.

With apologies to all the great teachers in my life, I believe that television is not only the best educator around today, but I’m afraid for many the only one in their lives. Schools and churches continue to pretend to teach, but they can’t compete with these screens we’ve allowed to take over our time and lives.

What’s missing in television, especially in what is hyped as “reality TV” is just that, the real. Margery Williams in her Velveteen Rabbit asks: “What is real…” I love her answer (you can read the book or watch the Youtube video) just as much as I like Justin Graves’ in his TEDxYouth talk above, Living with Purpose nails for me what it means to live an authentic life. He does it with no apology or cover up. In short he is everything I want to be. Thanks Justin.

Dan O'Donnell
Dan O’Donnell

Dan O’Donnell, a layman has covenanted with the Chicago Community. In addition to the standard covenant, Dan promises to work at connecting all partners known and unknown, to a conscious following the the way of Jesus, the way of the cross which Dan believes transforms all failure, democratizing the human journey

Ready to Start a Movement?

Dan O'Donnell
Dan O’Donnell

A young school psychologist for the school where I worked once defined a leader as a person who takes people where they want to go. That description has always fascinated me. Before I heard her definition, I thought it was the leader’s job to take people where she wanted to go.

Seth Godin tells us leadership is finding a group that is not together and organizing them. In his February 2009 TED Talk, he gives us a short history of how we have created change using factories and then television, he presents lots of examples of change makers (leaders) and finally he talks about the role of the heretic, that is, the one who looks at the status quo and says, I don’t like it. The role of the leader, Seth tells us is to identify who you are upsetting, who you are connecting and who are you leading? He says the answer to these questions leads to a movement. Then he gives us 24 hours to create our movement. Any takers?