Saturday, September 25, 2010

COMMUNITY 2.0...beyond the church

To is a word that has been over used in many contexts and poorly executed in others. For too many years my brand name church dictated what community was and how to know I was 'doing' it right.

It's only now, completely outside the walls of the the church that I can admit the persuit of community or finding a place to feel safe and belong, is innate part of our humanity, not a construct of the church...the desire to be part of a community has existed forever. From the foundations of civilization, people have instinctively formed communities, tribes, clans etc. We are designed to need each other.

Truthfully, I never thought about community, what it is, or if I 'had it' until it became a big movement in 'the church' in the 80's and 90's. Even though I already had community in many contexts, I never really contemplated identifying it or labeling it until community inside the church became paramount. Then I was obsessed and I did what ever I needed to to make it happen. Sometimes it felt real and other times it didn't...Some of the people I met in and through those various communities back then, are still in my life and are integral parts of the web of community I continue to assemble and value today.

What I know now is that I need all kinds of people in my life...not just people from a particular brand name church, parenting or marriage ministry or women's group. I need people in general that care about me and will be there when the shit hits the fan. Emerging Desert is one of the most important communities in my life for sure but it's not totally 'it'.

Leaving the narrow-mindedness of my past life, has given me the freedom to pursue relationships and add people to my 'community' I would not have before. I've found very real community at the studio where I practice Yoga...I've found it in and through social networking media like Facebook, twitter and blogs...I've found it in developing relationships with conservative Catholics and Muslims as well as in serving parachurch ministries and community organizations like Save the Family.

Right now, community for me is about people...period. I want people in my life that I can know intimately and who will want to know me more intimately. They can be from any where. I love how David refered to his grandmother's community as "a mosiac of loves"...a perfect analogy. Community is a colorful, diverse network,(web) of people that make my life more rich and more is the people I love.

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