Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Invitation - A song about Community

Invitation - A song about Community

We live in a culture defined, in many ways, by speed.

We also live in a world in which knowledge, creativity and human capital are more valuable and marketable than at any time in history. The productivity and profits of any endeavor today depend more and more on insight, collaboration, ideas and agility than on documentation, discipline and consistency. Documentation and the others are still valuable, even essential. They are just not enough anymore.

Depth over speed is knowing that connection comes before content.

Depth over speed is understanding that, as Peter Block says, Leadership must move from Hero to Host and from commanding to convening.

As an interesting example of seeking connection before content, Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh has some things to say about taking time to be together before attempting to negotiate peace.

He says it's not fair or reasonable to expect people who are at odds with each other and who have had little or no experience with peace in their own hearts to come together and expect to negotiate peace. He describes a more mindful approach:
"When we come to the table, we shouldn't negotiate right away. We should spend time walking together, eating together, making acquaintance, telling each other about our own suffering, without blame or condemnation. It takes maybe one, two, three weeks to do that. And if communication and understanding are possible, negotiation will be easier."

I wrote this song in 2009 about the experience of spending time with friends in community as part of A Small Group Cincinnati.

It starts with the idea of INVITATION as opposed to persuasion, petition, pitch or promotion and the power of knowing each of us is coming into every engagement by choice.

It includes the ideas that in a world in which speed has become a given, we can choose to focus together on DEPTH, that even though talk of need and problem solving is so common, we can choose to talk about GIFTS. We can pay attention to the space and structure of how we gather and know that the stories we tell and the questions we ask each other have power to shift our experience of ourselves, our neighborhoods and beyond.

It makes the invitation to join in a new conversation about life and community -- and I am still learning about these new conversations, myself, so I welcome the curiosity of anyone interested in exploring them together.




This is the Invitation
To a new conversation
Of depth over speed
Of gift over need
A new Listening…

The structure of how we gather
Speaks of what really matters
Telling a new
Story of who
We are to each other

This is the Invitation
Community’s Restoration
By just showing up
We’re gifted enough
To birth a new world

Though we don’t know
what it will look like
We’re feeling that world’s alive
Like it’s ready to bloom
Here in this room
The seeds in each life
So Community’s New Frontier
Is finding all that we need, right here
To weave a rich, local life
Into a tapestry lined
With the connections we share

This is the invitation
To join a celebration
Of neighbors & friends
Connecting again
Creating the new…

Of neighbors & friends
Connecting again
Creating the new

My neighbors & friends
I’m glad to come in
And be here with you.

Words & Music by Randy Weeks
with thanks to Peter Block and A Small Group

Copyright Randy Weeks - randy@weeks.org April-July 2009

Recorded 7-27-09 at Monastery Studio, Cincinnati, OH
Production & Engineering: Ric Hordinski
Acoustic Guitar & Vocal: Randy Weeks
Electric Guitars & Bass: Ric Hordinski
Drums: Josh Seurkamp

Copyright 1978 - 2024 by Randy Weeks
(This old site has been online since 1995... I'll redo it eventually, maybe...
Meanwhile, consider it a museum piece from the early web).

Thanks for visiting www.weeks.org
Your comments, questions, criticism, musings, yawnings and collaborative contributions are welcome.