Wednesday, April 23, 2008

On Community.

The following is a thought I posted for my Premodern, Modern, and Postmodern Philosophy course:

Our current "normal sense of community" is actually quite individualistic. Much "dialogue" is actually "monologue" when one person conversing merely desires his/her opinion to be heard and acted upon rather than both parties seeking mutual understanding to consider the validity of multiple persons' claims and thoughts within conversation. "Communitas" rests in thought that seeks to dissipate one's individualism for the sake of genuine dialogue. In order to engange in the exchange of thought each one involved in the conversation must view himself/herself not as an individual with rights and truth claims but rather as a member of a group who contributes and receives simultaneously resulting in community.


To seek one's own individual desires is contrary to the biblical concept of the Church. The self must be an element that is secondary to the well-being of the community. Seeking "communitas" is the process of enacting love for one's neighbor. Acting and conversing for the good of the neighbor and consequently the good of the community is the demonstration given by Jesus through his incarnation. When "communitas" is in process then love is being made complete.

Due to the potentially argumentative nature of speech, the concept of dialogue in "communitas" must exceed verbal expression. The sharing of life and ideas in a loving manner is more appropriately handled experientially.

In order to create a “commons” in my current context of community I would experiment with social engagement. I would approach dialogue with contemporaries in a manner that incorporates mutual questioning and service. Questioning would involve ministry partners seeking dialogue beyond ourselves and asking questions to others to sincerely receive and consider their perspective. By doing so the concept of “us/them” transforms to an understanding of “us.” The hope would be that conversation would promote and initiate mutual service of giving to and receiving from each other. Experimentation with active service that seeks social justice creates a common missional perspective that is the very essence of the Church.

3 comments:

Matt Frye said...

i feel like "communitas" haves to happen organically. the only way that this can happen is if people, no matter how they feel or know that community should be done, to ask the spirit to fill their lives so that there is no "me" but us. to allow each of us to love beyond ourselves. to give unconditionally. may god give us the grace to live in such a way.

simeonshope said...

In order for us to live in true community with others it is imperative that we take proative steps to acheive this. The kind of community that involves self sacrifice and love for your neighbor is counter culture and frankly counter human nature. We must daily ask God what He would have us sacrifice and how we can best honor him with our lives. If we truly listen to what He leads us to I think we will be suprised at the paths He leads us down.

tom joad said...

"Jayber Crow"

Matthew 5:38-48, NASB

"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone want to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only you brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."