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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Community

A few months ago, Joan and I had lunch with a dear friend who, because of driving distance, work, and the normal busyness of life, we do not see as often as we used to, or as often as we would like. This friend stopped attending church several years ago, and is what I would probably describe as a “hard-core” post-congregational person.

As we visited, I asked if she ever missed church. Her answer surprised me. She smiled at the question, and then gave me a thoughtful reply that went something like this. “Well, I don’t miss sitting in church, or sermons, or all the theological stuff. I sure don’t miss the guilt that goes with so much of organized religion, but you know, I really do miss the community. I miss that sense of being part of something. I have to admit that I do miss the people.”

For those familiar with Corrine Ware’s book, Discover Your Spiritual Type, this friend is definitely in the mystic quadrant. Mystics often tend to be somewhat isolated within the faith community because they are frequently not well understood. There are a variety of reasons for this, but it always begins with theology. The mystic’s spiritual journey often causes them to look at life in a way that many people choose not to believe or understand. After being made to feel uncomfortable enough times, mystics often begin to withdraw. Frequently they seek solitude in order to follow the spiritual path that calls to them. My friend had all of these reasons for her separation and more. And yet, here she was, telling me that she misses the community! She is not alone in that.

I thought of that conversation again recently while reflecting on chapter 17 of the Gospel of John. In John’s telling of Jesus' prayer for his disciples, ancient and current, it seems to me that the same longing for community is present. “…that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us…” (verse 21). That love and desire for community continues to be reflected throughout the entire prayer.

The longing for community is probably universal, and yet so many of us tend to live our lives in isolation. Most of us do not really know our neighbours, and even with our friends we are often do not share our lives very openly. Our desire for community is often trumped by our own unwillingness to be open, because opening our hearts and lives makes us feel vulnerable.

Where do you find community? Will you share that experience here?

Posted by Carman

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