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Catalyst 2.0 Prayer Guide : What If to What Is by Chris Thompson

What if To What Is

by Chris Thompson   

Acts 2:44:  All the believers were together and had everything in common.   

Changing “what if” to “what is” may merely be the change of one letter, but it can also be the difference between justice and injustice; between health and happiness and misery and disappointment; between dreams deferred or denied, and dreams realized . . . between death on a cross, and resurrection.   

One year ago, I and others meeting in the most diverse square mile in the United States, where more than 60 languages are spoken, began to ask “what if?” We began to wonder, to explore the possibility for refugees and others marginalized by economic and political persecution. We visioned together, dreamed together, and decided together, the future of this community and the use of the community’s resources—decisions too often made by so-called experts, by politicians, bureaucrats, and outsiders.   

We asked, “what if the community invested resources in a common fund for community transformation? What if every resident could join in a process to decide the use of those community funds? What if the process was one of consensus, not competition, of dialogue and deliberation, not advocacy and argumentation?”  With those questions in mind, an experiment in direct democracy—the community trust—was born.   

On a night in August, nearly one hundred individuals speaking ten different languages and representing a variety of ethnic groups and nationalities met in small groups of eight to ten in the hallways, commons, and classrooms of a local school to share visions of a safe community, an educated community, a housed community, an employed community, a connected community, and a playful community.  They spoke in Somali, French, Farsi, Arabic, Nepali, and English, to name a few of the languages.  They discussed potential areas of community focus—areas needing resources and attention based on their shared visions of community; and they decided—together.      

When results were announced . . . participants in the room smiled, laughed, clapped, and cheered on that August night . . . Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu; Somali, Bhutanese, Burmese, Congolese, African-American, Afghani, Ethiopian, and others. 

What if?   

Catalyst 2.0 will offer the opportunity for our community to discover the greatest needs in the Kansas City area.  Begin thinking now what those needs are and how best to respond.  And be willing to participate in the process.
Posted by Terri Soper at 12:00 AM
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