I had my first conversations about the Time Bank last week. I ended up having the first discussion with A because he had wanted to meet to talk about the community in general, and of course the Time Bank came up.
A had asked to talk with me after reading my post Proving My Own Point. He is a member of the coven referenced there, and is a good friend of six or seven years. We met for coffee at one of the local hot spots. He feels strongly that he is called to help build the community, and to that end I think he wanted to check in about and smooth over any ruffled feathers of mine. I don't feel terribly ruffled after having processed the fact that I was falling into the same pitfalls of divisiveness that bother me, and so we quickly moved on to other subjects.
The Time Bank idea went over really well. I explained the basic talking points, about how it builds community spirit and wealth and can provide a common ground for the pagan community to gather on instead of always elbowing each other over spiritual practice. He supported it and went on to say that he would love to see a lot more pagan businesses. He thinks that one problem we have as a community is that a lot of us are a little too independently minded to work well for other people or in corporations. It calls for us to compromise just a little too much of our souls.
Therefore since we do not thrive working in corporations, a lot of us end up in the fair to middling category of corporate worker, never brilliant enough to really climb that soul-sucking ladder, but without many options or resources for striking out on our own where we could actually flourish.
I think this is a brilliant analysis. A lot of my friends in the community do work in corporate jobs, many of them with the same corporation, and few of them are satisfied with their work. I know at least one friend has told me that what makes it bearable is that she is working with her friends and that she doesn't want to change jobs because she would lose that, even though she is not happy with the rest of her work situation. Since I have never gone into the corporate workforce, I did not have the perspective to see that one reason why there is so much angst and dissatisfaction with their work is because my friends really do tend to be a little too questioning of, well, everything, to really be a star in a strong top-down "because-I-say-so-and-I-make-the-rules" organization.
I told A that I would love to see pagan businesses spin off from the Time Bank, and that potentially the Time Bank could provide a framework for putting together some kind of collective or co-op businesses, too, perhaps a store of the crafts everyone makes since we have so very many crafters in the community. I know that I would absolutely love to put my money into pagan businesses, and to know where to shop in order to do that. I currently try to buy gifts from crafters I know, but with more prosperity and more opportunities to support pagans, I think we could really develop a thriving pagan economy.