12-minute episode exploring the theme of belovedness, especially love of the self. Including contributions by Steve Johnson and Stephanie Barrow. Hosted by Anders Peterson.Read More
6-minute episode with a Father’s Day story and blessing for presence. Hosted by Anders Peterson.Read More
Check out Middle Circle’s new podcast! This 10 minute episode hosted by Anders Peterson looks at Ash Wednesday and the ancient saying “remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.”Read More
Check out Middle Circle’s new podcast! Find a quiet place and experience this 25-minute podcast exploring hardheartedness and the call to love. This episode includes a loving kindness meditation led by Anders Peterson and a call to action by members of Middle Circle and First United Lutheran Church.Read More
How are you processing the outcome of the election? How have you been feeling about those who hold views different from your own? How are your relationships with family, friends, or colleagues that voted differently than you?
Metta bhavana, or loving-kindness meditation is one practice that invites us to cultivate love for ourselves and others, even when we may not be feeling it in the moment. The practice originates with the Buddhist tradition, but can be used and adapted by anyone regardless of religious background.Read More
Middle Circle's philosophy circle recently discussed: What is gender? As follow-up to our conversation we wanted to invite all those who are interested to checkout the PBS News Hour Brief but Spectacular video highlighting iO Tillett Wright's work in "expanding one's circle of normalcy" when it comes to gender and sexuality through the Self Evident Project.Read More
The bombing of the Brussels airport this week is tragic, and so is every event that has involved the death of innocent people. In recent decades, religious radical terrorists have had the center of our attention, but we've been trying to hurt or kill one another someway-or-another for one reason or another since as long as we've had opposable thumbs.Read More
The concept of "Middle Circle" was a birthed out of data collected during our human centered design process and the book, The Vanishing Neighbor, by Marc J. Dunkelman. Hats off to one of our original designers, Amanda Nelson, for introducing the human centered design team to the book. Here's a short blurb about the book by the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company.
The Vanishing Neighbor: The Transformation of American Community
Marc J. Dunkelman (Author)
A sweeping new look at the unheralded transformation that is eroding the foundations of American exceptionalism.
Americans today find themselves mired in an era of uncertainty and frustration. The nation's safety net is pulling apart under its own weight; political compromise is viewed as a form of defeat; and our faith in the enduring concept of American exceptionalism appears increasingly outdated.
But the American Age may not be ending. In The Vanishing Neighbor, Marc J. Dunkelman identifies an epochal shift in the structure of American life—a shift unnoticed by many. Routines that once put doctors and lawyers in touch with grocers and plumbers—interactions that encouraged debate and cultivated compromise—have changed dramatically since the postwar era. Both technology and the new routines of everyday life connect tight-knit circles and expand the breadth of our social landscapes, but they've sapped the commonplace, incidental interactions that for centuries have built local communities and fostered healthy debate.
The disappearance of these once-central relationships—between people who are familiar but not close, or friendly but not intimate—lies at the root of America's economic woes and political gridlock. The institutions that were erected to support what Tocqueville called the "township"—that unique locus of the power of citizens—are failing because they haven't yet been molded to the realities of the new American community.
It's time we moved beyond the debate over whether the changes being made to American life are good or bad and focus instead on understanding the tradeoffs. Our cities are less racially segregated than in decades past, but we’ve become less cognizant of what's happening in the lives of people from different economic backgrounds, education levels, or age groups. Familiar divisions have been replaced by cross-cutting networks—with profound effects for the way we resolve conflicts, spur innovation, and care for those in need.
The good news is that the very transformation at the heart of our current anxiety holds the promise of more hope and prosperity than would have been possible under the old order. The Vanishing Neighbor argues persuasively that to win the future we need to adapt yesterday’s institutions to the realities of the twenty-first-century American community.