A Caution in Pursuing the Common Good

A Caution in Pursuing the Common Good

Whenever I hear the term Common Good I think of Thomas Paine’s infamous pamphlet Common Sense,which challenged the British government and the royal monarchy, but did not challenge the institution of slavery. As an African-American woman I enter the Common Good conversation cautiously because I know that in our society we have a habit of taking what is good for Western hegemony and making it the standard for everyone else.

As we pursue the Common Good, let us remember what was once considered common and good during earlier points in American history: chattel slavery, indigenous genocide, and institutionalized sexism. To truly come to a Common Good, we need to honor a diversity of voices and challenge our assumptions about what is common and what is good. Our default is to take what is good for our culture, gender, or community and make it the common standard for all. I have experienced being invited into organizations that were aiming to do good in the world, but an expectation existed that I would be silent about my unique concerns as an African woman. I know that denying my reality can never be good for my spiritual, physical, or social well being.

The Common Good does not mean pursuing a society where everyone agrees, but it means pursuing a society in which enough civility exist for people to disagree and be true to their authentic beliefs. The Common Good cannot exist without the notion of justice. We have to caution against a “we are the world” mentality, where any tension or difference is seen as a threat to the Common Good. Are we willing to create a Common Good with people who are different from us? Are we willing to create a Common Good with people who worship differently or don’t worship at all? If we are from a dominant culture, are we willing to interrogate what has been considered “good” in our culture and make adjustments if we realize that our good directly correlates to someone else’s bad?

These are essential questions if we are going to get serious about pursuing the Common Good. In pursuing the Common Good, we must interrogate our current economic system because the Common Good cannot exist when we have a few living in overabundance while others live in constant deprivation. For instance, a commonly held belief in American society is Adam Smith’s notion of an “invisible hand of the market,” which will magically adjust any problems in our economic system; this notion deifies the market while subsequently dehumanizing humanity. When we trust more in the market than in our ability to be co-creators with the divine, we diminish the image of God that has been placed in each of us.

Pursuing the Common Good means “loving your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). A key component of the Golden Rule is loving yourself. As a woman and an African, I do not want to enter into a “Common Good” that will cause me to sacrifice my culture, while others are allowed to normalize their culture as common and good for all. While reading Jim Wallis’ new work On God’s Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn’t Learned About Serving the Common Good I was struck by an example given from the Biblical book of Revelation. In Revelation, we read that all tribes are together worshipping God — not as a melting pot where all the tribes have been absorbed into a hegemonic flavorless soup, but as distinctive cultures united under the Spirit. What is especially profound about this passage is that all the tribes worshipped in their unique language and this was pleasing to God.

The Common Good is not about coming together under the guise of false unity where everyone downplays their difference, but it’s about creating safe spaces where difference can exist while we work towards a society that is just for all.

"This blog post is part of The Huffington Post's 'Common Good' series and Sojourners' Common Good Forum, inspired by Jim Wallis' latest book, "On God's Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn't Learned about Serving the Common Good.Click here to read the rest of the blog posts in the series.

Onleilove Alston is a Faith Based Community Organizer, writer and speaker living in Harlem, and a member of Emerging Voices. Follow Onleilove on Twitter @Wholeness4all.

Image: Social speech bubble,  Cienpies Design / Shutterstock.com

Comments

A National Bank would be better than having singular state banks. A National bank gave more control over the issuance of cash and credit. Exchanging approaches with remote countries would be done at one site rather than numerous locales. Hamilton did not need the same issue with the banks that the states had with duties. A national bank is the main thing that kept a financial calamity. http://www.essaymania.co.uk/

That abnormally in actuality why will allegedly be the a lot of able acclimatized ashore your kids http://www.monclerjacketsoutletvip.co.uk added blossom of their aggregate of years.

I read this article because it is not including worthless information. The author clearly describes the information. Thank you for sharing this types article. I am waiting for next article. This is very informative site.

I like this article. It is well written and is good to read. Thank you very much for sharing it with us.

A caution in moving and approaching for the common goods. Improved for the benefits and advantages of the http://www.summeressay.org/ with certain and actual reviews. Process is for the right and authentic and with the primary goals of the induced nature of the caution and precautionary terms.

Thanks for sharing. I hope it will be helpful for too many people that are searching for this topic.

Switch over approaches with in the sticks countries would be through at one site to a certain extent than numerous locales. Hamilton did not could do with the same question with the banks with the intention of the states had with duty. http://www.myassignmentservice.com/essay-writers-available-for-hire

Hamilton did not could do with the same question with the banks with the intention of the states had with duty.

http://www.menslifeline.com/

24Option.com is legit. We are confident in saying that 24option is a legit broker with a positive reputation in the industry from the traders and business partners

Ces villes Suivre production de montres mécaniques styles et diverses variétés Factory. Par exemple, l'usine de Shanghai dans la marque Shanghai, Seagull, pierres précieuses couronne, la capitale de la licence de l'usine de Beijing, http://www.repliquemontreluxe.com Tianjin licence brillant usine de production de "5.1" de la marque, Dongfeng, les licences de l'usine de Guangzhou Yangcheng, usine de Nanjing octroi de licences de production Zijinshan, usine de production de cartes Xi'an Yan'an, cartes rouges, cartes lotus usine Shijiazhuang, Qingdao et Dandong usine a ses propres usines de production ont également été la marque des montres mécaniques.

Pages

Add new comment