Friends Housing Cooperative

Several weeks ago I wrote a blog post on AFSC’s website, Acting in Faith, about the history of Friends Housing Cooperative in North Philly that started in the 1950s.  Looking through the archives, Esteban’s word’s kept echoing in my conscience:  We’re done with the testing phase; let’s get to work in inserting these alternative structures of ownership and collective action into the mainstream!

Easier said than done, of course.  But what strikes me is that more people don’t know of America’s rich history of cooperatives, and how reluctant we are to ask our elders about what they learned from experimenting with these models in the 60s and 70s (let alone every other “Great Awakening” that has occurred in American history).

Is it time for another “Great Awakening”?  Are enough people beginning to wake-up to the changes that need to take place within our selves and in our world in order to survive on this planet?  I’m not a big proponent of “surviving” for the sake of surviving.  But it does seem that the country and the world are on the verge (or in the midst) of a “Great Turning” as Joanna Macy calls it.

What is the role of religion in all this, you might ask?  I think our religious traditions and spiritual practices will play a major role in mitigating the shocking effects of change that are happening at an increasing rate.  This new Awakening will be influenced by religions and spiritual traditions from across the world, from Buddhism to Hinduism from mystical Christianity to Native spiritualities.  Globalization is having a dramatic effect on our collective spirit, and we will need the depths of each tradition to help us.

What an invigorating, tragic, terrifying time to be alive!  I hope we’ll all give living and working together a shot–it is the greatest challenge; it is our humanity.



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