6 Benefits of Local Responsibility, Local Investment and Local Ownership

by Mark Votava

images (34)

I have seen so many people abandon what is local.  I am constantly being drawn away from local ways of life to a life of upward mobility, speed and fragmentation.  But I am finding that living locally with others in community bring a sense of peace.

When I root myself locally, I am less lonely.  I am happier because my life is not scattered in all directions by freeways and airports constantly.  I am able to center myself in resting, listening, loving, humility, grace and compassion through face to face relationships in everyday life.  This is becoming rare in a society that values technology, speed and entertainment to an extreme.

But I am coming to find that this abandonment of what is local is not healthy.  I have become filled with anxiety when the local has been lost in me.  Life becomes about making the most money we possibility can at an extremely fast pace that is centered on escaping the local context we live in.  Face to face relationships, social capital and the common good of neighbors is forgotten in our relentless pursuit of upward mobility.

This is no way to live.  This is not the way of the spirit of love, compassion or humility.  Are we destroying the world because we have abandoned locality?  This is the dilemma we find ourselves in today and must face in order to bring some healing to our world we live in.

Here are some thoughts on the benefits of local responsibility, local investment and local ownership.

1. We become cocreators of the future

We are to be cocreators of the future of the place we inhabit together.  It is our local responsibility, our local investment and local ownership that will develop the parish imagination among us.

Tom Sine writes, “Incredibly, God invites us to be cocreators in giving imaginative expression to God’s new creation in the here and now…” 

2. We escape the franchise approach

We are called to be “imaginative expressions” of the body of Christ in everyday life together in the parish.  There is no franchise approach to this.  When we cocreate with God through the parish imagination our expressions will be organic, grassroots, creative, contextual, relational and based on our gifts together.  All our assets will come together to create the parish imagination in everyday life.

3. We begin to subvert the empire and the status quo

This is the cocreation of beauty in our world together in everyday life.  Our expressions of local responsibility could subvert the empire.  Our expressions of local investment could subvert the status quo.  Our expressions of local ownership could subvert the systems that are creating fragmentation, loneliness and isolation.

4. We engage with society in the place we live

Local responsibility, local investment and local ownership take a great amount of engagement and risk.  The parish imagination is about engagement with society in the place we live.  There is no running from our culture within the parish imagination.  The parish imagination cocreates within the twenty-first century world.

Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch say, “It is truly an adventurous thing to embrace the risky call to societal engagement in our own neighborhood…” 

5. We realize our gifts, assets and passions

Our local community is calling out to the parish imagination within us.  Our local community is calling out to our gifts, assets and passions.  We have so much to offer the place we inhabit together in everyday life.

6. We create a local fabric of social justice and care

The parish imagination is helping us to be grounded in our incarnational ways.  The parish imagination is helping us to live intuitively by local responsibility, investment and ownership.  The parish imagination is helping us to create a local fabric of social justice and care among us.

What are some ways you have taken local responsibility seriously?