Communities Are a Subset of Networks

Build Community
Photo by Niall Kennedy

I have long been interested in the need for and value of communities and the fact that we have lost the value and sense of communities to a large degree in our modern society. I have said many times in private and even in public that most of our problems in society would be improved if not altogether eliminated by a revival of community life. Prior to reading Communities vs Networks however, I had never really paid attention to the specific similarities between networks and communities. After pondering the post however I would suggest that rather than networks and communities being on different ends of a continuum the reality is that communities are networks by definition even if most networks don’t rise to the level of community. Allow me to support that claim by sharing tweaked versions of the statements from that post which contract networks and communities:

  • Networks May Be Artificial, Top-Down; Communities Are Organic, Bottom-Up (originally “Networks Are…”)
  • Networks Allow Passivity and Consumption; Communities Require Action and Contribution (originally “Networks Encourage…”)
  • Networks Can Be Location Independent; Communities Are Usually Attached to a Place (added “Usually”)
  • Networks Often Divide a Person Into Parts; Communities Nurture the Whole Person (added “Often”)

Based on those statements a community would be defined as a network that functions organically, requires action and contribution, and nurtures the whole person and that such groups are usually attached to a place. The question in distinguising communities then isn’t whether the group is more like a community or more like a network. Rather, it is how much the particular network fits the definition of community. Continue reading

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Asking Questions within the Divine Institution of the Lord’s Church

Asking vs Advocating

Supporters of Kate Kelly love to repeat the claim that “she was only asking a question.” They consistently assert that she was a faithful member of the church and would have been satisfied if President Monson had prayed about whether women should receive the priesthood and then shared the outcome of that inquiry. All of this is meant to emphasize that her choice to agitate for change was simply an attempt to make herself heard and not an indication of her being doubtful of the person she acknowledges to be the Lord’s appointed mouthpiece today. Let’s examine that assertion.

While I will examine this assertion of supporting the prophet with a focus on the Kate Kelly situation I hope that readers can recognize that this exercise in examining the implications of what it means to sustain him and how that relates to our actual actions. I would also like to explicitly acknowledge that there are times when we must be vocal in order to affect change. The issue I am dealing with is how to recognize the boundary between advocacy and apostasy. Continue reading

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O Remember, Remember

I drove through the cemetery last night at dusk to take flowers to the graves of deceased relatives for the first time in my life for Memorial Day and as I saw the balloons and flowers and the many other families doing the same I understood Memorial Day in my heart for the first time in my life.

Before yesterday I had understood in my head the purpose of Memorial Day – to honor those who have gone before, with a special emphasis on members of the armed forces who have sacrificed to preserve our liberty – but despite all the Memorial Day celebrations I’ve attended over the years it was all abstracted from my reality. I wrote about Memorial Day 6 years ago and my lack of connection to the holiday was painfully obvious when I reviewed that post today. Continue reading

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Systemic Problems

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Image by Jeremy Brooks

“You start out with a lack of due process, a lack of notice of what it is you’re accused of doing,” [Larry James] said. “A lack of adequate preparation. A lack of any rules to govern the process or procedure. So it just lends itself to abuse.” (The System by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian ch 15 “The System at Work” – p. 216)

Larry James is talking about the NCAA enforcement process and the abuse he alludes to shows up in ways such as DeVier Posey being suspended for 10 games during his senior season at Ohio State because he was overpaid by $3 on a summer job (a suspension that would have ended at 5 games if he hadn’t challenged the original accusation that he was overpaid by $727 – double the suspension for being 0.4% guilty). Hopefully Mr. James isn’t personally aware that his statement was also perfectly describing the CPS investigation process. Continue reading

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Traits of Manhood

A discussion about Rites of Manhood on the Sons of Adam podcast concluded with a challenge to come up with a list of defining traits for mature manhood. What I expected to take an hour or two of thinking took much longer.

The Challenge

At first it seemed straightforward to try to make a list of manly traits. As I tried to do that I realized that I had to decide what I was listing. Traits that are consistent with manhood include traits that are simply part of being an adult whether male or female (like taking responsibility) while other traits that are consistent with manhood are traits that are natural to males whether they have achieved manhood or not (such as a proclivity for physical exertion).

Others may choose differently than I did but I chose to approach this from the perspective of what traits I would seek to instill in boys in order for them to achieve manhood. This means that my list more closely aligns with a list of traits that are consistent with being an adult than with a list of masculine tendencies. I did try to define how each of these traits is important as it relates to being genuinely manly.

The order of the traits listed is simply the order in which they coalesced in my thinking.

Continue reading

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