from What Matters? by Wendell Berry
From the point of view of community it is not an improvement when the number of employed workers is reduced by the introduction of labor-saving machinery… By using more people to do better work, the economic need is met, but so are other needs that are social, ecological and cultural.
the difference between a competent poverty and abject poverty . . . A home landscape enables personal subsistence but also generosity. It enables community to exist and function.
From Community and Growth by Jean Vanier:
To accept our weaknesses and those of others is the very opposite of sloppy complacency. . . It is essentially a concern for truth so that we do not live in illusion but can grow from where we are and not from where we want to be or where others want us to be. It is only when we are conscious of who we are and who the others are, with all our wealth and weakness, and when we are conscious of the call of God and the life he gives us, that we can build something together.
Community is a place where people can live truly as human beings, where they can be healed and strengthened in their deepest emotions, and where they can walk towards unity and inner freedom. As fears and prejudices diminish and trust in God and others grows, the community can radiate and witness to a style and quality of life which will bring a solution to the troubles of our world. The response to war is to live like brothers and sisters. The response to injustice is to share. The response to prejudice and hatred is forgiveness. To work for community is to work for humanity.
We should always be attentive to disagreements and give people time to express them in the greatest possible clarity and peace, without feeling guilty or that they are being disloyal to the group or to the leader. It is so important in a community for each person to feel free to speak according to the truth of his or her own conscience. It is sad when the individual conscience is stifled and dulled by the fear of disloyalty, or, even worse, of religious disobedience. Community is not the stifling of the individual conscience but rather the enhancing of it, in truth. Communities must learn to accept and cherish differences.
From Joan Chittister’s commentary on the Rule of Benedict:
Simplicity is more than the key to personal freedom… Simplicity is also the basis of human community. Common ownership and personal dependence are the foundations or mutual respect. If I know that I literally cannot exist without you, without your work, without your support, without your efforts in our behalf, without your help, as is true in any community life, then I cannot bury myself away where you and your life are unimportant to me. I cannot fail to meet your needs, as you have met my needs…We rely on one another.
From Deep Economy by Bill McKibben:
It is our economic lives…that play the crucial role in wrecking or rebuilding our communities. We need to once again depend on those around us for something real. If we do, then the bonds that make for human satisfaction as opposed to endless growth will begin to reemerge.
From The Active Life by Parker Palmer:
When we live in community, many things that we think we must buy in the marketplace suddenly become available free of charge.
From No Future Without Forgiveness by Desmond Tutu:
Forgiving and being reconciled are not about pretending that things are other than they are…turning a blind eye to the wrong. True reconciliation exposes the awfulness, the abuse, the pain, the truth…it is a risky undertaking but in the end worthwhile, because in the end dealing with the real situation helps to bring real healing.
Our maturity will be judged by how well we are able to disagree and yet continue to love one another.
We can love others–with their failures– when we stop despising ourselves–because of our failures.
We try to claim God for ourselves and for our cause, but God’s love is too great to be confined to any one side of a conflict or to any one religion.
From Practicing Peace, a compilation of quotations edited by Catherine Whitmire:
We have to learn to love difficult, unlovable people…Part of the cost of discipleship is living with the other disciples.—Beth Allen
From Reaching Out by Henri Nouwen:
We need someone who encourages us when we are tempted to give up, to forget it all, to just walk away in despair. We need someone to discourage us when we move too rashly in unclear directions or hurry proudly to a nebulous goal.
From “The Cracked Mirror” by Wangari Maathai:
There is enormous relief and great anger and sadness when people realise that without a culture not only is one a slave, but one has actually collaborated with the slave trader, and that the consequences are long-lasting. Communities without their own culture, who are already disinherited, cannot protect their environment from immediate destruction or preserve it for future generations. Since they are disinherited, they have nothing to pass on.