Blogs

Al Etmanski

Al Etmanski's picture
Al Etmanski is a community organizer, social entrepreneur and author. He is a founding partner of Social Innovation Generation (SiG) and BC Partners for Social Impact. Previously he co-founded...

Sarah Arthurs

Sarah Arthurs's picture
Sarah Arthurs has a B.A. in Theology, a Masters in Educational Psychology and is a Registered Psychologist. She has worked as a therapist, college instructor, parent educator, community developer and...

Yvonne Hollandy

Yvonne Hollandy's picture
Yvonne Hollandy has been immersed in generative dialogue and the new narrative arts with Axiom News since 2007. A 15-year professional background in graphic design, and a life-long love of the arts...

Griet Bouwen

Griet Bouwen's picture
During preparations for the 5th Appreciative Inquiry World Conference, held in Belgium in 2012, Griet Bouwen bounced into the work of Axiom News and recognized her mission in its vision, themes and...

Peter Pula

Peter Pula's picture
Peter is the Founder of Axiom News. He has also founded and led a community newspaper and a corporate communications agency. He has served as a member and chairperson on the boards and committees of...

Michelle Strutzenberger

Michelle Strutzenberger's picture
Generative Journalist  

Chuck Peters

Chuck Peters's picture
Chuck Peters is President of The Gazette Company in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He can be reached at chuck.peters@thegazettecompany.com.

Cormac Russell

Cormac Russell's picture
Cormac Russell is Managing Director of Nurture Development, Director of ABCD Europe and a faculty member of the Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) Institute at Northwestern University, Chicago...

John McKnight

John McKnight's picture
John McKnight is emeritus professor of education and social policy and codirector of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute at Northwestern University. He is the coauthor of Building...

Peter Block

Peter Block's picture
In addition to The Abundant Community, co-authored with John McKnight, Peter Block is the author of Flawless Consulting, Community, Stewardship and The Answer to How Is Yes. He serves on the boards...

Newest Blogs

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Belonging is best created when we join with other people in producing something that makes a place better. It is the opposite of thinking that I must do it on my own. That wherever I am, it is all on my shoulders and that perhaps I would be better off somewhere else. The opposite of belonging is to feel isolated and always (all ways) on the margin, an outsider. I am still forever wandering, looking for that place where I belong. To belong is to know, even in the middle of the night, that I am among friends.

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In the midst of the growing awareness of and innovation in thinking about the need to build community, the dominant practices about how to engage people, civically and organizationally, remain essentially unchanged.

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This book is written to support those who care for the well-being of our community. It is for anyone who wants to be part of creating an organization, neighborhood, city, or country that works for all, and who has the faith and the energy to create such a place.

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You have more power to achieve the changes you are after than you think. Not as much as you might like. But more than you realize.

The trick is to claim it. And not let the boundaries of that power be defined by others, particularly government.

How much should you claim?

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The reflections of the last two blogs in mind, I’d like to share an ABCD practice I find really helpful in hatching possibilities from inside out. Or in coming to our senses. Please remember you don’t require all of your senses to engage. Helen Keller had three senses, yet led a more sensational life than most people with five sense ever do.

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Jane Jacobs' (an American-Canadian journalist, author, and activist who significantly influenced urban studies) advice to communities is to stop being subservient to those with grand visions and “Do what’s right for now and the future will turn out as well as it can.”

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There are two recurring complaints addressed in this letter:

  • Generative journalism just publishes “nice” and “positive” stories and doesn’t face reality
  • The phrase, “emerging narrative of gifts” is a string of buzzwords that are ultimately meaningless.
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The United States seems to be veering dangerously close to Constitutional crisis. And within this budding crisis, both major parties claim to be standing up for the true intentions of the nation’s founders. So, who’s right?

The answer is: neither, and both. The founders laid out a quite a brilliant and comprehensive plan. But their vision is often misinterpreted and oversimplified at all points along the political spectrum. Many have some of it right. Few truly grasp the broadest original intentions, in all their wisdom and critical relevance for today.

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Try describing something you see in the place where you live without using a metaphor. Right now, I see a tree outside my window, with brown, red and green flecks on its bark. It’s leaves are being moved by a gentle breeze and shadows are casting across it at different points, changing very rapidly. Now I see the reflection of sunlight on one of the leaves of the tree, which has a dew drop that is yellow in one spot because of its refraction of the sun. On the limb of the branch above the one with the yellow hued dew drop, I see a brown squirrel, moving swiftly downwards towards the base of the tree. Now it’s on the ground. The ground on which it’s moving is…..

Wow, it’s really hard not to fall into a metaphor…

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Ecovillagers Alliance is a nonprofit initiative of educators, organizers, systems engineers, and storytellers. We came together from a crazy quilt of past attempts to establish community control of land and buildings by different models—co-ops, land trusts, co-housing, communes—none of which quite addressed the inhumane realities of modern urban real estate. So we went back to the drawing board to ask: what instrument of neighborhood real estate stewardship would be democratic, just, and sustainable?

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The stories we tell shape our culture. Journalism as a civic art, to be of real assistance to democracy, has a few things to overcome.

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I have come to see capitalism as the ideology or worship of capital, of money. Absentee investment is the root of so much in the way of dissociation. Money for money’s sake, and not for what it can do. Instead, we should look at intimate and engaged investment, that puts the power of money to good use.