Pandemics aside–though this is being written in late 2020, as the vaccine is being very slowly rolled out, the pandemic continues and will for a long while–it’s hard to build community. The last ten months have made it remarkably clear that I don’t have to have much human interaction, and that the particular interaction I do have is based on choice–the family I live with, the church I serve, and the friends I text back or call on occasion.
But we are bigger than our little spheres of participation, or, we can be. (Note, again: this is being written mid-pandemic. Please practice social distancing protocols. Please do not increase your sphere of actual physical contact at this time.) I want a bigger community, and it means putting myself out there.
The scripture that’s guiding this goal comes from the Apostle’s letter to the Romans:
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.Romans 12:21
We only get through this, together.
Goal #1: Find and do service work.
My plans, upon landing in Wichita in July 2019, was to have a year and a half to acclimate, and then find non-profits to work with, lobby with, and serve alongside. I’ve served on boards for education centers and advocacy groups in Texas, and I want to bring that experience to Kansas. But I want to do things differently this time.
I will find and fill three roles: board member, support person, and worker bee.
1. I’ve been invited to serve on a board, and, if I accept and if I am accepted, I’ll post about our work together. I only serve on working boards–we meet every month, we leave with task lists, we hold each other accountable and there’s forward motion.
2. I will be a support person for one or two organizations I agree with–this means showing up to events (when we can hold them again), writing checks, and answering calls for action.
3. And I will be a worker bee, ideally, once every other month. (Is it a great amount? No. Doable? Yes. And more than I’ve done the last year? Yes.) I enjoy cooking for Humankind Ministries. I loved working at a food bank in Dallas, where a lady named Marisol called me Chico and ordered me around. I can pick things up and put them down elsewhere–why not for the greater good?
Goal #2: Engage Politically
The polis is a society focused on community; to engage politically is to not become a partisan hack, but to acknowledge the world in which we live is organized in particular ways, and thus change can be affected by being organized in particular ways.
- I will get in touch with my city council member, having paid attention to monthly meetings.
- I will know my state representative and state Senator, and make contact with my Congressional rep, and two Senators.
- I will support the parties and candidates I believe are doing the best work for the common good. I will speak out against parties and candidates that are acting harmfully, especially towards the least of these.
Goal #3: I Will Play With My Friends
One of the best things that’s happened in my life is my D&D group, which I fell into about ten years ago, with friends I made in divinity school. We’re now scattered across the country, and many of us have kids, and all of us have demanding jobs, but we find time to catch up, and to unwind with a tabletop roleplaying game.
My goal is that I will play D&D twice a month–our game is on Fridays, my day off, and I have made the commitment to run every other week. We will see!
Want to find out where gerrymandering and fantasy mapmaking intersect? Surely it’s discussed on the blog–check it out!