Those who sign on and depart the system of anxious scarcity become the historymakers in the neighborhood.
— Dr. Walter Brueggemann, Journey to the Common Good

The Economics of Compassion Initiative believes that traditional top-down measures to alleviate poverty are historically exhausted. These measures have rigidly associated poverty with crime, violence, brokenness and despair and developing strategies that address poverty by focusing on fixing what’s wrong. The ECI’s re-imagined approach focuses not only on changing a community’s economic circumstances but changing the communal story. Changing the communal story shifts the question from “how can we fix what’s wrong” to “how do we create a life for people carved out of their own imagination.” The ECI’s approach maintains that you can’t have enduring economic and social change by building on a community’s brokenness, you must begin with a community’s strengths. There is a “hidden wholeness” beneath the brokenness that must be foregrounded for integral development. We appropriated the metaphor of “beloved community” to identify that type of change we desire in our communities. The metaphor of the beloved community requires the transformation of souls as well as the transformation of society.

ECI follows five principles in order to build a beloved community.

All people need the freedom to live the life they aspire to; therefore ECI supports and facilitates the breakdown of boundaries that inhibit that aspiration.

 

Every human person has equal dignity; we must value and respect life in all its diversity. Therefore ECI recognizes and promotes the strengths and gifts of people, communities and all forms of life.

 

Sharing knowledge and resources are indispensable conditions for achieving beloved communities. Therefore ECI will connect with and share models of Beloved Communities as the emergent model for abundance of all life.

 

 

 

In order to regenerate the Common Good in the Spirit of Jubilee all persons need equal access and participation in the power structures of society. Therefore ECI considers debt and ownership relationships in light of the common good; supports education and opportunities for those in economic exile returning to society. ECI is committed to the process of democracy in all relationships.

Present and future generations are entitled to Earth’s bounty and beauty through the integrity of Creation. This can be maintained through a loving, caring, ethical, ecologically sensitive culture. Therefore ECI embraces efforts that overcome barriers to the health of the earth and its creatures and will not support systems with bottom lines of money and power.