Water Mosaic echoes from home

pondering the mysteries, simplicity, and humor of life

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

An Odd Look Into Community

This week for class (Ecclesiology) we are reading writings from those radical reformist, the Anabaptists. Through out their thoughts of the sacraments (baptism and Lord's supper), church discipline, reading the Bible, and discipleship, they seem to echo the call of Saint Benedict to share your belongings as well as your life with those in the believing community. A generous outflow proceeds from one individual to another regarding their time, their possessions, their ideas, their gifts, their hearts, their strengths and weaknesses, and their service.

The term community has been a popular term as of late, especially in the church circles. I must admit, I get excited about this term, but have a hard time explaining what a true sense of community looks like or how one describes it. What constitutes a group of people that forms a particular community? Is a community populated by more than 2 people, 5, 10 , 20 people? And even if this community gathers together once every so often, is it ever effective? Does it reflect upon the participant's surroundings, their neighbors, their families, their core values and ethics? When is a community authentic? (again, another buzz word)

O.K. this post is traveling a different road, but lets continue. When I think of the word community, I think about one group that demonstrate this idea: terrorist. I'm not a fan of terrorist (an understatement), but what strikes me as an important element in their logic is their strong belief in mission. A group of terrorist are individuals bonded by a dream that each one desires to see it come to a completion. They train themselves in essentials to reaching the goal and continually learn new ways to effectively establish their mission. Not only that, but they are so transformed by this mission that they are willing to die for it's cause. Recruiting for these terrorist groups seems to be easy because the people see how strongly and effectively they carry out their task. Moreover, the youth have nothing else to turn to in their society but violence and hate to grasp the power that they so desperately want. (Remember, lets not just think of the Middle East, but gangs in America, guerrilla soldiers in Darfur and South America, the corrupt law enforcers of Eastern Europe or Russia)

How can we relate this image to our communities of faith? I don't mean the specific beliefs or the means behind carrying them out, but their sense of mission and their lifestyle that furthers that dream of being fulfilled. What does a community look like in this sense? A missional community that seeks to gather individuals and train them to go forth and accomplish the desired goal? A community that is disciplined and always willing to be available for their fellow follower? A community that shares resources? A community which seeks to implement love in place of hate, peace in place of violence, sacrifice in place of selfishness? A community that is driven to go and change if they must to accomplish their main ideas? A community that bands together to detonate secretly planned acts of loving service to their "foreign" neighbor? Maybe...