Continuing my ramblings on community.
Today’s complexity of being part of a community is that, it is less likely in an urban setting to belong exclusively to a single community. We are part of several networks. I have a family network, a church network, a friends network and so on. There might be overlaps but each network is different with its own sets of patterns and rituals.
Belonging to different communities simultaneously allows for great individual growth. No community can be too oppressive and the different communities engage the self in different ways. The banter and the humour of my Indian friends enrichens and fulfils me in a way that a church service can’t. But yet again, I am veering towards talking about the individual or rather framing this as the individual. Possibly the true way to talk of this is through conversation as the frame of engagement will be fundamentally different. Possibly this is why podcasts are so popular. Perhaps yet another one is in order.
So does this simultaneous belonging weaken and atrophy the communities we belong to? Or is there a sense where the different networks in some sense feed each other and keep things in a balance? How does the ‘us’ balance with the ‘I’? Or rather are the many ‘us-es’ somehow constituting the ‘I’? I blather on, but my fundamental question is how a community is meant to function in a way that is beneficial to those within, to itself and to those outside? I think this is an important question regarding church.
A model of agreed principles isn’t enough. And yet my framing of the question is possibly asking for precisely that. So if the question is problematic what has brought the question about? I think it’s the sense that there is a lack in our understanding and practice of community. The inability to fully name this lack coupled with a sense that there is something we can do to address this lack is what prompts these questions. So I shall ramble on. Or maybe start a conversation. Or a podcast