core values

60% of the world will soon be living in a city.  We must seek to understand the urban context and make this a place of active and positive diversity rather than places of fragmentation.

The world has come to town.  No longer do we live in cities of one or two ethnicity.  No longer do we have countries identified and divided on the basis of blood and language.  Rather, the world now looks like a series of circles with spokes emanating out of them.  You can now grow up in a little Vietnamese fishing village Texas!   The peoples of the world are in the process of being displaced and mixed up.

We must learn to let cultures be cultures.  A different culture might have different beliefs about what colors go together, what foods and tastes are good, and how traffic should be controlled (or not controlled as the case may be).  We must be content to love these places and peoples as they are, not as we think they should be. 

We must address the issues in such a way that respects the existing system.  There is no need to transplant their system with ours, for at their foundation both are flawed.  Thus, we seek to improve all systems in their own context rather than displace them.  We must improve them in ways that are sustainable and reproducible.

The world is not a series of places, countries, systems, cultures, and beliefs.  That is to say, it is not merely those things apart from people.  These things only exist where people exist.  Thus, the only way to change these things is to change people.

Rather than trying to improve the world systemically and universally we should focus on the parts which make up the whole.  Any solution that is good for everyone is good for no one.  People do not operate as one collective unit but divide themselves along certain lines both natural and unnatural.  We seek to understand these divisions and networks and follow the lines that exist.  Systemic answers result in enslavement--actual or mental--and systemic group incompetence--none of us are as dumb as all of us.  Lasting solutions can only occur in specific contexts.

People only change as they receive new information.  A chief virtue in life is to serve others through hospitality.  It is only as we live life together that we learn and grow together effecting lasting change.

There is not one simple answer, system, paradigm or rule for everyone.  Those who postulate one simple solution to everything are simply naive.  Education, government, economic reform, and the like are not complete answers in and of themselves.  We need to approach problems holistically. 

Life is open to directed change.  While life appears chaotic at points, history is following a directed progression.  As such we need to be active in facilitating change.