Tips for creating your own Knit Club
Updated: Feb 23, 2018
Sure, you can sign the West Bloomfield Declaration. But perhaps you'd like to develop your own.
This blog is about what seemed to "work" for our West Bloomfield Knit Club. Adopt freely.
For starters, we started. We had three folks (co-leaders) who thought the effort might be worthwhile. By reaching out to friends, we quickly assembled as diverse a group as possible, making a good effort to balance the political spectrum. Although mostly retirees ("elders" Hank likes to call us) we were able to suck in a few millennials and teenagers to edify and expand our discussions.
We needed a game plan to initiate/guide discussions, so we made up what Paul termed a Thought Experiment: What if Moses came down from the mountain today? What kind of updated "rules of the road" might he offer today?
This was our only theological thrust. Even though we met at a small, centrally-located church, we purposely kept religion out of our discussions. Why? Because a) not everyone is religious and this group is increasing; b) the Bible has been around for almost two millennia and mankind is still messing things up pretty badly, so let's try a fresh approach. We also tried to avoid all "labels" and plain old words that might inhibit fresh, new thinking...or throw us off track or down a rabbit hole. Political nomenclature (Republican, Democrat, conservative, progressive) embodies that danger. Hear one word or phrase ("illegal immigrant" for example) and all of our old thinking instantly reappears. Old thinking is not usually helpful for new thinking. As Einstein is said to have said: "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that caused them in the first place."
Okay, the stage is set. First meeting starts. Here's how we proceeded:
Sit in a circle, everyone introduces himself/herself and why they came
Write the Thought Experiment on a white board (What if Moses...etc)
Nominate a talented Meeting Secretary to take notes
Discuss; see what ideas resonate with most or all
Capture these potential "consensus statements"
Discuss them afresh every time a new person joined the circle
Modify to achieve 100% concurrence. Or reject!
Rinse and repeat...about twice monthly worked for us
Secretary sends out write-up of last meeting before each new one
Finally, categorize the various Consensus Statements and write them up into a first draft Declaration. Vet this document with the whole group.
After a couple dozen or so meetings, declare victory and make your own website and PR plan.
Our meetings were fun. Good, respectful listening was always the rule. We rarely, rarely deviated. People felt free to share fully and take their time doing so. If someone got lost or off track, we'd take turns co-facilitating to get the conversation back on track. We also made sure that everyone's reactions and opinions were encouraged. Did it ever get a bit heated? Sure. But only occasionally. It was our overall experience that respectful discussion among people with differing views brought out the best in everyone.
Have fun, and feel free to email this website if you have questions or want a little help. West Bloomfield "Knit Club" folks are available to visit and assist your group's start-up within the region or by Skype.