Here you will find writings that give some insight into Trinity’s programs.

Peer Leadership and the Practice of Community in a Diverse Society

Posted on Sep 25, 2017 in

 

Alan lecturing at the Necropolis.

Alan lecturing at the Necropolis.

In our present world when we talk about community in public at all we usually talk about it in terms of deficit, as an artificial entity that has to be fixed or made better, or as a story-line in Public Relations to promote ourselves and attract tourists.

For a Peer Leader these are both superficial understandings, and limited as practices of community.

Communities are extensions of ourselves, and express the ways we understand ourselves and interact with one another.

It would be more insightful, and more useful, if we understood that when you put a person with an innate sense of being attuned to his or her surroundings, and who is also socially ‘wired’, into close proximity with others, the result is the variety of human made versions of community we see in history.

But before we look at communities in history, it is more beneficial for a Peer Leader to look at the actuality of our present idea of community, what it is composed of and how it works.

Looking closely at any gathering of people living together in a defined space we see that any community is made up of:

  1. People
  2. Their Associations
  3. Institutions
  4. ‘Services’ towards the “common good” ie  maintaining some degree of equitable functioning of the whole
  5. Narratives – popular ideas and fictions- news sources local national      global – (all related to the functioning of our ‘Autobiographical Self’)

The primary dynamics, or motivators, for action in a community are:

  1. Meeting Needs – physical, social/emotional, intellectual, spiritual
  2. Expressing Desire, our core passion to live and experience
  3. Searching for and creating Identity

The ways that people meet their needs, express their desire, and search for identity, is then extended to their relationship to their physical surroundings-which would imply that physical communities are ultimately the expression of our prevailing consciousness in a particular era.

Consequently, primary energies in a community flow or manifest – in an order of importance determined by the consciousness of an era- in the following areas of endeavor:

  1. Commerce and technology
  2. Health
  3. Law
  4. Politic/ Advocacy/ Management of Services
  5. Art
  6. Education and Learning
  7. Faith
  8. Recreation and leisure

All these areas of activity in community are extensions of ourselves, and platforms for the exercise of our creativity, while remaining basically reflective of our consciousness of ourselves and our surroundings in a given period.

Consequently, any significant approach to community can not be primarily  conceptual or theoretical or managerial alone, but one that is based in the multiple demands and consequent complexity, or messiness, of real life, and inspired by the hope and intent that our approach will produce useful outcomes for the positive welfare of all its citizens.

Peer Leadership and Community – Part Two

Posted on Sep 2, 2017 in

Pawns on a flat surface connected by lines.

 

For me Peer Leadership is the leadership of the future.

For the moment I’m not going to talk about the individual characteristics and skills leaders need to be successful in a diverse society. But the way a leader and their community connect and in the end ‘create’ one another.

It is likely that leaders in the past were as much the product of their own skills as they were of their community. In a race-based society leaders were exemplary of either how their community saw themselves or wanted to see themselves.

Leaders also arose as part of the process of a great cause. And had to develop the means of expression, and the charisma of having ‘lived’ the cause in order to succeed.

The challenge with both of these experiences of leadership is that life in our diverse communities is not so simple anymore. And while race-based leadership and cause-based leadership are still around, the entire picture of our communities is so much more complex than either race or cause-based leadership can address.

A leader now finds him or herself among equals- or if this idea of equality seems like too much of a stretch given the last vestiges of patriarchy and the apparent high status of wealth and celebrity- let’s say the present leader finds him or herself among peers.

We are all peers to one another. Thanks to technology and the media we can find out just about anything we need to know about one another. Thanks to the constant flow of information we are all in communities- or indeed are community makers. We belong to all kinds of groups- based on friendship, beliefs, hobbies, activities, books, music, common experiences to name just a few – and add internet use and the opportunities to find peers and community building is endless.

While fame and wealth may still stratify our communities, most of us believe in some form of equity and justice in human affairs even if we don’t always experience them. Most of us can fend for ourselves- more or less- in terms of meeting our needs in everything from finding places to live to feeling part of significant friendships and associations. And for perhaps the first time in history the plight of those who cannot fend for themselves for whatever reasons is on the agenda of most communities.  So the role and expectation of governance and politics in communities is changing in terms of defining our sense of place or the degree to which they determine our vision of how we organize and run ourselves.

We are all peers in this new landscape. And in this landscape where one race cannot actually dominate, nor one cause- even if absolutely necessary like the sustaining of our global environmental commons of atmosphere, oceans, and icecaps- completely motivate, we must all develop the mindset of a Peer Leader.

This mindset will begin with greater attention to one’s personal growth and development combined with more engagement into community process and social development. As we take more responsibility for our personal growth, as well as our surroundings, our practice of community will change.