Update on Neighborhood Gatherings

Hi Friends, Family and Neighbors,

Thought I’d provide another update on our Neighborhood Gatherings to those interested.  Unfortunately, I can’t share the same kind of optimism and excitement that I’ve shared in past updates.  I’m afraid that we’ve become stuck and I’m not sure what to do about it.  Yes, we still have Gatherings at our house every Tuesday, and we are still having fun (the last Progressive Dinner was great!), but we are not seeing growing numbers of involved neighbors and we have not been able to see the start of a network of Gatherings.  On the other hand, I’m more convinced than ever that, (1) we (human beings) are facing economic, ecological, and social crises that could lead to a major collapse of global civilization, and (2), the root cause of the various crises is a pathology existing in the way we humans relate to one another and with nature.  Just this morning I read a news article here that should act as a warning to any complacent person.  At this point in our evolutionary history, we don’t need change, we need transformation.  
There is hope – and no, it isn’t in the “Rapture”, the strange twisted interpretation of biblical apocalyptic writings of J.N. Darby.  Those who are waiting for God to miraculously teleport them off this planet before the Unelected go through the Great Tribulation, are part of the problem if their belief system lulls them into disengaging with those seeking solutions.

If men [and women] are unable to perceive critically the themes of their time, and thus to intervene actively in reality, they are carried along in the wake of change.  They see that the times are changing, but they are submerged in that change and so cannot discern its dramatic significance.  And a society beginning to move from one epoch to another requires the development of an especially flexible, critical spirit.  Lacking such a spirit, men [and women] cannot perceive the marked contradictions which occur in society as emerging values in search of affirmation and fulfillment clash with earlier values seeking self-preservation.  The time of epochal transition constitutes an historical-cultural “tidal wave.”  Contradictions increase between the ways of being, understanding, behaving, and valuing which belong to yesterday and other ways of perceiving and valuing which announce the future.  As the contradictions deepen, the “tidal wave” becomes stronger and its climate increasingly emotional [“Tea Parties”].  This shock between a yesterday which is losing relevance but still seeking to survive, and a tomorrow  which is gaining substance, characterizes the phase of transition as a time of announcement and a time of decision.  Only, however, to the degree that the choices result from a critical perception of the contradictions are they real and capable of being transformed in action.  Choice is illusory to the degree it represents the expectations of others. – Paulo Freire, Education for Critical Consciousness.

I think the reason why our Gathering has become stuck, is that we’ve adopted a trivial purpose for gathering (planning for Neighborhood events).  My drive for unification (love) – my desire to create community, has overpowered my drive to engage in social transformation (power).  I haven’t achieved a balance between power and love.  Love without power is anemic. I think some of the ideas that I’ve presented in my website (www.neighborsgathering.com) are pointing in the right direction.  I’ve failed to introduce dialog into our Gatherings to discuss them.  Not too late though.

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