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When diving into the whole arena of civic/community engagement, most people are almost instantaneously bombarded with advice and information on how to link together organizations, where to get funding, and how to build the community with resources that come from outside. We are told that there are systems and processes that hold the key to a better life. John McKnight and Peter Block steer the reader in a different direction in "The Abundant Community". Rather than looking externally McKnight and Block encourage the reader to look within the community to find an abundance of resources.
McKnight and Block start the book with an examination of how we have succumbed to consumerism in a manner so pervasive that we have eroded the very foundation of community. This examination shows how we have traded the inevitable imperfections in services or fallibility in humans for highly efficient systems which revolve around flawless management, fiscal performance, and scalability. "The Abundant Community" proposes a better, more connected way of living.
Rather than learning to blame problems on a lack of governance or those around us, McKnight and Block teach us to turn to our own resources and the resources already present in our community (the people) in order to build community competence. "The Abundant Community" is revolutionary in its message. By mobilizing community members to be more connected and more welcoming the community the can become the solution to its own problems. Instead of making the community and our lives more efficient, the authors focus on how we can create a life that is more compassionate. Within their vision, the gifts that exist among residents become a pooled resource and create a community of abundance.
To quote the welcome to "The Abundant Community", "This book is an invitation into a new possibility for each of us to live a more satisfying life".