Proximity and resources

May 11, 2011
David Driedger |

Winnipeg experienced its tenth homicide last week.  The shooting took place around the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation parking lot at Portage and Young.  We were likely just leaving our house at that time to run a few errands.  I am trying to retrace the moments to see if anything comes to mind.  We would have been close enough to hear the shooting.  Learning about the shooting does not seem to phase me personally, despite the proximity.  In the larger media and civic perspective this will of course be another blemish on the neighbourhood.  I think the reason this shooting does not phase me is due to something I have been thinking more and more about lately which is the question of resources.  I have sketched out a preliminary account of the type of resources I am talking about.

1. Psychological resiliency – This resource is present to the extent that an individual is able to navigate personal circumstances without having to directly rely on someone or something else for daily activities.

2. Financial stability – This resource is present to the extent that an individual is not chronically vulnerable or at risk of losing or being unable to acquire the basic necessities of food, shelter and clothing.

3. Family or intimate relationships – This resource is present to the extent that when personal help is occasionally needed the individual can generally rely on a small group of people to help meet the need.

4. Community support – This resource is present to the extent that one’s immediate home and work environment is generally safe from immediate threats.

5. Physical health – This resource is present to the extent that an individual does not need to rely on other people to perform daily tasks of life.

6. Cultural capital – This resource is present to the extent that one’s status (through race, education, position, belief, orientation, etc.) creates options rather than denies them.

8. Personal or communal memory of strength – This one just dawned on me.  I think an important resource is a direct memory of strength.  For instance in our Anabaptist background we have a history of various generations who suffered through extreme persecution and still were able to survive and even prosper.  This resource is present to the extent that an individual or community finds strength and hope in their direct history.

Any changes or additions?

I know these are not ground breaking insights but when I begin to use this thinking I can see how local, civic, national and global events can create a sense of anxiety and fear because a person’s immediate environment is already so unstable.  I can also see how removing one or two of these resources can create a domino effect and create strain and depletion on other already limited resources.  I am a little humbled to think of how high I score on most of these resources.  The lowest may well be 'community support' and this was an intentional choice for me to try and invest my limited resources in an area that appears to function with chronically limited resources as a whole.

How are we as Mennonite Church Canada doing in the practice of giving and receiving resources.  How do we choose our 'proximities' in light of the resources available to us?  Do we use our existing resources to horde what we have or to open them to others?

Author Name: 
David Driedger
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