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The Image of Woman by Thomas Boslooper (1980, Rose of Sharon Press)

Thomas Boslooper in his The Image of Woman provides an interesting analysis of the common play element that exists in our physical movement and athletic endeavors and its possibilities for transformation and community building: "The play element seeks to promote the unity between spirit and body. Rather, it doesn't seek to promote, but is. Play is the unity between spirit and flesh. Play affirms the reality of both. In play an individual may find wholeness, true potential, and even an approach to the boundaries of perfection. These are moments which mark the beginnings of man's "recreation", and stand as models of future endeavor."

Boslooper discusses three models of unity: recreation at the individual level, the relational level and the level of wholeness.

Recreation at the individual level involves bringing mind and body into harmonious give and take. This is clearly seen, although not specific to, individual-skill sports such as figure skating, gymnastics, archery and bowling. According to Boslooper, the true potential for individual recreation is " ...contingent upon the development of self-reflection--the ability to see oneself objectively (as object) and to consciously mold that self--the initial stage of recreation."

The relational level of recreation takes place in sports such as boxing, martial arts, tennis and wrestling, when there is harmonious give and take action between contestant and opponent. Participants in these sports usually have gone past the individual level of recreation and are ready to test their skills against another for the purpose of "bringing out the best in oneself and other party" the true nature of competition.

In order for true recreation to take place at the relational level, a contestant must look beyond himself and his own recreation and try and see from the other's viewpoint, to anticipate his patterns of response. Proper relational recreation, says Boslooper, allows for the development of sportsmanship, honesty, cooperation, appreciation and nobility.

The final level of recreation involves the harmonious give and take between a player and the total environment, best understood in a game situation. The "game" Boslooper says, allows for all levels of recreation to take place at once. The possible "recreation" of the game environment (bringing a sense of totality and oneness) can only be accomplished on the foundation of, first, accomplishing individual recreation and skill development, and secondly, understanding relational recreation--how to properly channel the competitive drive against the opponent. Boslooper summarizes his point:

"Although there is both skill and competition, the key word for the game is integration of players and action, as the player must integrate his individual skills and competitive drive with the overall movement. Harmonious 'play' between an individual and the game environment involves not only an enlargement of individual consciousness but also the 'recreation' of external environments.

Boslooper goes on to suggest, that the models for recreational unity at the individual, relational and wholistic levels are not only applicable to play and sport but can also give us direction when playing the game of life and in our community building. For example, harmonious give and take between mind and body can produce in an individual the maturity and life skills needed to created a healthy marriage and family. When a healthy individual in a healthy family is involved in harmonious give and take relationships with the world around him there is the possibility for "recreation of external environments" at the level of community, society, nation and world.


Today's Challenge to our Communities: Creating Space for Healthy Political Dialogue by Dave Tebo (revised 2017)






Check out this paper written by a municipal administrator seeking to find the virtue, wisdom, creative energy and idealism necessary to meet the challenges facing today's public servants and public arena. The author contends that we can understand a good deal about the struggles of contemporary public service and the difficulty of creating space for healthy political dialogue by analyzing the inherent challenges to the democratic republic out by the American Founders in The Federalist Papers. A review of the four great challenges issued in that original debate are presented here as seen through the eyes of a local government administrator.

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