Community Memory: Sabbath Meditation

A good reminder about listening, community, and telling each other’s stories:

[W]hen a community loses its memory, its members no longer know one another. How can they know one another if they have forgotten or have never learned one another’s stories? If they do not know one another’s stories, how can they know whether or not to trust one another? People who do not trust one another do not help one another, and moreover they fear one another.”

– Wendell Berry, “The Work of the Local Culture,” What Are People For? (San Francisco, CA: North Point Press, 1990), 157; I actually read this quote here.

I definitely think there is something to Berry’s linking the lack of knowing each other’s stories to a lack of trust and, “moreover,” to a growing fear of each other. One angle to take is to consider our news media and the type of “stories” it chooses to tell–and the extent to which those stories are told.

But another angle is more personal–do we know our neighbors’ stories?

Who hasn’t heard “Good fences make good neighbors”? Well, maybe it should be this: knowing each other’s stories makes neighbors, plain and simple. Whether they’re ‘good’ neighbors or ‘bad’ neighbors will probably be up to you.

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3 comments on “Community Memory: Sabbath Meditation

  1. Bonnie says:

    Dot and Bill are the best neighbors ever!!!

  2. Christi Hemati says:

    I’m stealing this quote to post on facebook. I love it.

  3. elizabeth says:

    Christi, it is a good one, isn’t it?

    We missed seeing you all when we were in Austin this weekend. –E

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