The third step to community building involves a commitment to the common good. If we first of all recognize that all people have value by virtue of being human and recognize that there are going to be differences of opinion in a group of people, there are going to be issues that we actually agree on believe it or not. You might not believe it in our polarized political culture today, but there are things that most people still agree on.
Communities do this all the time if you think about it. Your local Little League is probably run by a bunch of people who might not agree on very much, but they want to have a baseball league for their children, so they work towards a common goal. They don’t just shut down because they can’t agree on other issues in their lives. They agree that Little League baseball is beneficial for their children, so they develop an organization.
These are the types of institutions in that geographic communities are based upon. These are interest-based communities grounded in local communities. The temptation in our social media age is to run away from our geographic community and find our interest-based community immediately online. We run away from the people around us because we want to find people who are just like us in what seems to be every way.
However, by doing that, we fail to find these opportunities in our own communities. We failed to maybe find out that our Buddhist neighbor shares our passion for chess. Once we discover that passion, even though we still might disagree even severely on certain issues, it doesn’t mean that we cannot sit down and play a game of chess or start a chess club at our local community center.
I’m just like everyone else. I wish that everyone would see the world exactly as I do. I especially wish that everyone would come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ because I do believe that decision has eternal consequences that I would not want anyone to have to experience.
However, I know that the reality is that many people are not going to see the world exactly as I do. I have to be able to somehow live with that fact, and I think that the three steps I have proposed here are steps in the right direction.
First, we have to recognize the dignity of all people. If we can’t do that, then how are we ever going to love our neighbor as we love ourselves?
Second, we have to recognize that there are going to be differences between people. Specifically looking at geographic communities, our neighbors could very well be a lot different than we are. We can’t pretend we’re all the same, and we can’t force everyone to be the same. It just is not going to happen or be healthy for our community. That drives people away if nothing else.
Finally, we have to work together despite our disagreements. Even if we don’t agree on everything, there are causes that we can get behind and do good deeds for our community. We don’t have to agree on everything, but there are plenty of things that we can do to make our geographic community better together that most people will agree upon.
I know that this sounds utopian, and maybe I am still a jaded young adult. However, I am of the belief that even in our polarized society, there are still issues that we can come together on and will be beneficial for society if we do. We can still have our disagreements, but we cannot allow that to destroy all of the good that we could do in our town state or country.