Openness to Encounter
For most of us during childhood we are surrounded by an intimate network of friends and family. We are not required to step outside from this circle of people. This all begins to change as time passes. By the time we enter university or employment we begin to symbolically as well as literally "move-out" of our homes. This can be daunting.
At the very same time we are encouraged by all to actively "network", to build up a map of contacts who can help us advance in the world. The comfort and intimacy of an inner circle, it seems, can be switched out for what can easily become a superficial list of connections. This is perhaps too harsh, and not to mention too simple, an account of what networking can be.
Indeed, recently a very successful form of networking took place at the Cardinal Hume Centre under the auspices of Together for the Common Good. The event brought together young Christian professionals from around London. Drinks and food were shared, conversations had, and a group discussion took place over the nature of the Common Good. This debate centered on three examples of the Common Good at work: in the collaboration of Bishops Worlock and Sheppard in the 1980s; the employment of ex-prisoners; and the resettlement of refugee children.
One additional theme also emerged that was particular striking given the "networking" nature of the event:
How can we pursue the Common Good within the context of our own personal and professional lives?