39 beyond community

This is about more than community.

Margaret Mead famously wrote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

It is what happens when people who must find one another.  It was what Brian McLaren refers to as a community of knowing, a group of people who must purpose together and are shaped by their venture.  They either find or take one another to the extremes of thinking, relating and actioning.  As such, they are people on a journey.

You may have experienced something akin to this if you’ve been part of a choir or theatrical group preparing for a performance.  Once the performance is over there’s the feel of great disappointment because the community has come to an end.  I’ve mentioned Band of Brothers earlier, but it’s a really great observation of communitas, from how it forms to when it dissolves.  McLaren describes how his “community of knowing” stays together as long as the members keep challenging one another.  The groups must challenge one another to keep finding the place of movement and purpose or they must disband and find new communities.

SOMETHING TO DO: Reflect on where you have experienced the kind of deep community which you might describe as communitas – remembering that it’s not only about holding a space for one another but journeying somewhere and achieving some worthwhile thing.  Where does a new deep community need to take form?

The Last Word and the Word After That by Brian McLaren


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