What Would Jesus Blog?

Archive for February, 2012

Organic Community

by on Feb.06, 2012, under Uncategorized

I’ve been running tekton.ic, a ministry to the Notts alt scene, for about three months now, and although there’s been a lot of positive sounds from people involved, it’s felt like there’s been a certain lack of purpose and direction to the work that’s bugged me. On the one hand, I don’t want to be too prescriptive – I don’t want to rigidly come up with a master plan that must be followed, with aims and objectives and stages and numerical criteria by which I can assess my success. On the other hand, I don’t want to be so vague and undefined as to make my work nothing more than ‘a few people who go drinking occasionally’.

We have a principle at work – ‘talk to your teddy’. Sometimes it takes someone to just listen to you and occasionally point out the obvious, to make it clear where you’re going wrong. Of course tekton.ic is aimless – I’ve not defined an aim for it! In my desire to give it the freedom to be whatever it will be, I’ve not set any structure in place, or given it any tools.

And so, I turn to people who write books on the subject – in this case, Joseph Myers, and his excellent Organic Community. In the very first chapter, he talks about the dangers of a master plan, and encourages a mindset of organic community building. Instead of asking ‘where are we going?’, which requires an answer that’s some form of ‘There!”, an organic community asks “What are we hoping for?”, which lends itself to much more creative answers. Later on, he talks about descriptive rather than prescriptive language (“It looks like this” rather than “it will behave like that”) , and finally, moving from being a programmer to a creator of an environment.

I met with someone today who said very similar things, and whose wise words prompted me to pick up OC again. He suggested that I write down my overall vision for my ideal world looks like, the values that drive me towards that vision, and what I believe the next step is. With those in mind, I have something to show people that I talk to – and the process of creating them will in itself be instructive and encouraging.

I’m gonna go make a first attempt at those things now. Wish me luck!

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