In 2018, I had the chance to help address the root causes of violence in my community. After all, no matter who we are, where we hail from, what we do, I believe that, in this day and age, we have all been impacted by violence – either directly or indirectly. As such, it is all of our responsibility to be there for one another, to lend a hand, to ensure one another’s safety and well-being.
One of the highlights of that experience was gathering together a group of local, well-known, highly-respected clergy members. For our first meeting, I asked the participants – two Catholic priests, two Methodist pastors, an imam and a rabbi – to come prepared to share the definition of “social justice” from their faith perspective. I thought that if we could establish that, we might be able to identify ways to mitigate the root causes of violence and give our community a path forward.
It was miraculous. Though the participants’ faith traditions varied (that said, they were all Abrahamic faiths), though their life experiences were different, though they were addressing the disparate needs of many members of the community, it turned out that every one of their definitions of social justice was the same proving that we weren’t coming from such different perspectives after all. Instantly, we had established common ground, common language, common goals. We were working toward the “common good.” I still get emotional thinking about it.
Are you working for the common good? What actions have you, are you or will you take to support your community? As you move through life, as you interact with others, I implore you to find ways to seek the common good. Here are a few ideas:
- Educate yourself. Educate others. Learn about what’s happening in your community. Read and listen to news articles from a variety of sources, interact with your elected officials, talk with your neighbors. Find out what the issues are, formulate your own opinions, take action where needed.
- Get involved. Select a cause or a specific community organization to support and step up as a volunteer. Donate your time, treasure and/or talent. Bring along some friends, family members or colleagues so you can work together to advance the cause. Even if you show up on your own, you will no doubt leave with countless new friends who, like you, sought to promote the common good.
- Be a resource. Serve others in your community by making yourself available. If you have a particular expertise or access to information and other resources, be generous. Demonstrate your commitment to your community by being there when called upon.
All these years later, I am still proud of the work that clergy group did. In fact, what became known as “KC Common Good” is still going strong – with support from many of those original clergy members. They have been joined by others. Together, they educated me, helped me to get involved, and certainly served – and continue to serve – as resources for me and for everyone in our community.
Find ways to serve your community and support the common good. It will benefit you and everyone around you. Happy Networking!