Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Five habits of the heart that open and hold people together in community

Image found at Good Housekeeping.com

The 'Five habits of the heart' are principals discussed in Parker Palmer's book - "A Hidden Wholeness." I'm in the process of working out how these principals can positively effect small group dynamics in communities - specifically church ministry.

1. An understanding that we are all in this together: We are dependent upon and accountable to one another.

2. Have an appreciation of the value of 'otherness': Hospitality affirms the many ways we can receive and learn from the stranger - allowing 'otherness' to enlarge and revitalize our lives.

3. Have the ability to hold tension in live-giving ways: the genius of the human heart lies in its capacity to hold tension in ways that energize and draw us forward, instead of tearing us apart.

4.Hold a sense of personal voice and agency: Educational and religious systems tend to teach us to be an audience to performance rather than participants in a drama - creating a tribe of passive people. There are ways to find one's voice and learn to speak it, and know how it feels to make a difference when one does.

5. Develop a capacity to create/foster community:we must help each other become gardeners of community if we want democracy to flourish. (With the support and encouragement communities can raise up more folks like "Rosa Parks".)

It's Mr. Palmer's perspective that for people to practice and live out these habits it is necessary to provide individuals space for solitude as well as supportive communities to develop these skills.

What habits of the heart do you find more challenging? Which ones seem more natural to you? I feel that these habits are integral to the foundation of healthy systems that will develop and fulfill the needs of the community is is called to serve. May my vision be expanded in the way necessary to help these habits of the heart become functional habits of a healthy communities.

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