You find yourself in a new city, feeling isolated and alone, many miles from your closest family and friends. Or, you realize that you live among diversity and abundance—of people and perspectives—but habits, physical and intellectual, have confined you to similarity and familiarity. So, you promise yourself that one day you will invite that old acquaintance to lunch, or that one day you will go to that awkward dinner party to meet strangers, and maybe, make new friends. One day…
In 2015, Thoughtlucks were born from this desire to connect, to communicate, and to commune around a shared meal with others from different backgrounds and experiences. When we share a meal together, we share ourselves while also awakening our curiosity and deepening our empathy.
Thoughtlucks create a time and space: one evening, once a month we come together to share a meal and a conversation around a specific concern: purpose, racism, gender, mental health, or death. In the tradition of a potluck, each person offers, in food and thought, whatever he or she is able to. In this way, Thoughlucks remind us that to share a meal is to be cum panis, with bread, and with companions.
On November 15, 2015 in Chicago, IL, the first Thoughtluck gathered community together around the theme of “Purpose.” Since then, Thoughlucks have become a moveable feast, hosted by volunteers in different neighborhoods around Chicago. In October 2016, the first San Franscisco Thoughtluck was shared, addressing the concern of “Inequality.” In November 2016, a Thoughtluck occurred in New York City to discuss “Art & Science.”
We believe Thoughtlucks extend communication into community and communion. Thoughtlucks engender communities, not as static unchanging entities, but rather as ongoing achievements, changing with the companions—friends and strangers alike—who come and share their voice, their openness, their respect, and their mutual sense of belonging. And we have found, as Dana Velden writes in Finding Yourself in the Kitchen, that it is often “not the content, but simply the opportunity to drop our protectiveness, of being available to something outside ourselves, that’s the most compelling.” All are welcome.
We welcome you to gather your companions, to create your own Thoughtlucks, and to celebrate and to care for your own communities in your cities.