Tag: community

Connected Minds

It was some random link that someone sent me on Twitter – can’t remember who – but there is some excellent stuff here that could definitely feed into our discussion. I’m going to quote their precise here. Would love to know what you think:

“We think of ourselves as rugged, self-determining individualists, but our very existence rests on connected brains and minds. Social species such as ours do not fare well when forced to live solitary lives, and the impact of loneliness on individuals can be surprisingly damaging. Residents of transient communities and isolated individuals lack rich attachments, meaningful connections and enriching encounters, which can be deleterious on a physiological as well as psychological level.

An individual’s complete involvement in a thriving, engaged and altruistic community is more than spiritually beneficial. As a social species, humans create emergent organisations beyond the individual—structures that range from dyads, families, and groups to cities, civilisations, and international alliances. These emergent structures evolved hand-in-hand with supporting genetic, neural, and hormonal mechanisms because the consequent social behaviors helped humans survive, reproduce, and care for offspring sufficiently long that they too survived to reproduce. We are only now beginning to truly understand the ramifications of our individualistic lifestyles, as our social brains struggle to cope with isolation, loneliness and failing communities.

Join Professor John Cacioppo, author of the bestselling book Loneliness and co-founder of the study of ‘social neuroscience’ as he outlines the vital importance of altruistic behaviour, social connection, and inclusive communities in this exclusive and important RSA event.”

POSTED 16.09.09 BY: paulabbott | Comments (3)

An experiment in community thinking. David asks what it means to share a fridge in the city

POSTED 04.07.08 BY: paulabbott | Comments (2)

Moot Weekend Away & Sad Parting

Pleased to say that the Moot weekend away was great – catching up with people, great food and some good discussion and planning concerning Moot’s future – more on that to follow in the fullness of time.

However – it is also a sad parting – as Aaron leaves us to prepare for moving to New York via a stint in Northern Ireland. He is coming back for one weekend before he goes in January.

So yet another core person to Moot spreads their wings. Aaron has been a really important member of Moot for sometime, and personally – has been a great friend and tower of support. It has been hard saying goodbye to so many people, and Aaron was a particularly special person……

I hope he comes back, there is a good chance he could in a year or so, but this photo – of which I am showing a bit for blackmail purposes, will be totally revealed to the world if he does not return. Nothing more needs to be said!! I am saying no more or he will kill me! Aaron is seeking sponsorship to spend a year in the States – and will get involved with our sister group ‘transmission’.

So so long Aaron, we miss you already – and look after yourself!!

POSTED 27.11.07 BY: paulabbott | Comments (3)


As part of the service we did at Greenbelt we invited people to wash the hands of a stranger. [Mike has posted some other stuff here.]

So often Christian spirituality can become about an individual pursuit, about trying to find God within ourselves and attempt some sort of internal transformation. Part of the point of the soap ritual and the service generally was to suggest that God may be found in others. In being present to others we are being present to God. Somehow God is present in this interaction. [See also Ian’s post on the importance of community.]

At the end of the service we handed out a number of bars of soap so that the ritual might be repeated after the service. I was wondering where all those bars of soap ended up…? Did anyone repeat the ritual? What happened?

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POSTED 15.10.07 BY: paulabbott | Comments Off on mootsoap

Theology and Community

Thoughts on Karl Barth Pt.1

I’m currently reading “The Word of Christ and the World of Culture – Sacred and Secular through the Theology of Karl Barth” by Paul Louis Metzger.

This will be the first of a few postings on my thoughts about this book. It’s not actually a Karl Barth book, but a book by someone about Karl Barth’s books, which is hard to get your head round. However, my first thoughts are a step back from that to something broader.

For me the writings unfortunately end just where I start to find them interesting – as they veer towards sociology.
Is it the role of theology to guard against wandering away from authentic belief?
If that is so, do we allow the theologians to be our conscience, pulling us back everytime we stray too far leftfield?
Or is it everyone’s individual responsibilty to be theologically adept – to plunge into an undeniably closed discourse that requires us to delve into a realm that is (sometimes) far too insular to allow the average person of faith to grasp meaning?

My feeling is that a sense of community is vital in this. It is a source of conflict that could yield tremendous wisdom for all – if we allow it to.
Both the theologian and the average christian have a responsibility towards each other.

The community must call the theologian to account. It is simply not acceptable for theological discourse to maintain a sub-cultural insularity; it must allow it’s relevance to be explained clearly in order for the undeniable benefits it has to be manifest in the church. It is important to explain what the difference is (for example) between something like anhypostasis and enhypostasis, what the relevance is, and why it matters, in clear terms that people can understand.

Barth is undeniably a modern – and it is true that we live in a postmodern age, and therefore that meta-narratives need to be questioned responsibly. Otherwise such discourse will run the risk of seperation, irrelevance, and dissonance.

However to put the other side of the argument, it is equally important that theology be allowed to question the community, and draw that community back to orthodoxy when it strays too far.
For that, everybody needs to be inquisitive enough to insist on a sense of responsibility. We all need to “do theology”, in order to rest and rescue it from death by academia – to make it within our grasp if it is not.

I have deliberately posted this comment to take up the thread on theology that has been wandering betwen different blogs recently, as I think it is a helpful one.

But only if we remember that without responsibility, Christ’s church dies.

POSTED 20.02.05 BY: paulabbott | Comments Off on Theology and Community

Reflection on violence

A man i’ve got to know was recently murdered in an un-provoked attack. He was the manager of a local takeaway, 60 years old and killed by an 18 year old, who hit him over the head with an iron bar.

I’m angry and very sad.

The whole incident is tragic.

Without wanting to make a sermon out of a tragedy it does confirm a though i hold with conviction. Imagination is the key to change; without it, an 18yr old can f**k up his own life, take another and destroy many others. Where is the conscience? The restraint? The thought that these actions may so profoundly affect the world in which I and this stranger live? THere is no thought to the consequences, to responsibility, to the idea that the ‘other’ may be affected by my own actions. Without imagination there is no compassion, no society.

If there is one thing I long for it is a re-discovery of imagination. Through art, questions, pain, faith, education and dialogue i trust that imagination can be nurtured.

Can this be seen as a major task for the global church – in fact for all faiths? I hope so – the stakes are so high and we are already losing the lives of others, the earth and ourselves.

POSTED 05.12.03 BY: paulabbott | Comments Off on Reflection on violence