Community?

this project has become my life over the last while and to some people their only association with who i am. you know that girl whose doing that thing… sometimes i feel like the poster child for community. i feel the pressure to live up to everyones expectations of what that looks like. sometimes i feel like if im not nice enough, friendly enough or happy enough people will walk away saying some community girl she is.
and to this i have two things to say.
one is that, i do not by any means think that i am an example of community. in fact this ambition comes out of an understanding of what i lack. i understand that i am not a very intentional friend maker. that i am not the most outgoing, and that it takes a lot of time and effort to take a friendship past fun and small talk. and in this i recognize the value of living with people. this has seemed to be the atmosphere which often facilitates meaningful relationships with people i otherwise wouldnt have, and often brings issues to the forefront wouldnt have been addressed. it is a place to know people and learn from them.
second thing to say, and somewhat removed from the last statement, is about this buzz word community. sometimes i hate the word and the frequency with which it is thrown around. it is a somewhat ambiguous term. although quite popular among our age group and social genre. some older generations seem confused by the term, or maybe just the way we use it. a local housing professional suggested that we not use the term community living because it is most commonly used for old age homes. more recently i have come across people who are so deeply associated with the concept of community that would fight to keep its definition pure. i have been told on more than one occasion that there is a difference between community and shared housing, and there is no middle ground. to these people community seems to mean that they have found the people they will die with. my distaste for this word is not associated with these diehard covenentals, or the dietrich bonheofers and other authors we’ve read. i respect these people and their integrity. my discomfort lies in the ease with which it is thrown around maybe between friends, or even within the confines of our tuesday nights. it is the times when this word could just as easily be defined as or replaced with the word club. to me the word community speaks unspecifically of individuals, and more as a place of open doors. a line that is hard to draw although perhaps the foundational people are obvious to place. the references i commonly hear are specific to certain individuals which have by some means attained inside status. these doors are heavy and hard to open.
its kind of an abrupt place to end. i have no conclusion. you may disagree with me. it would be great if you voiced it. leave a comment. it seems that have pointed sharp fingers and admitted to my own accusations. although my own short comings were offered up as the voice of a victim, to you i extend the sword. some community girl she is.
lets drop the facade and stop thinking we’re so great. we’ve got a long ways to go guys, but im glad we’re walking this path together.
sophie

3 thoughts on “Community?”

  1. Ill comment. First, I like that you didnt feel the need to capitalize. Um, I can see this blog entry came from a very real and deep place of frustration. I appreciate you honesty a lot. I can see that God has chosen you, as you are, to be a leader in this project, no doubt about it. In your weakness and insecurities or..dare i say failures, Christ is able to reveal His power. I agree with you, the more I learn from people who have walked in true community life, I feel a embaressed at the way we’ve (I’ve) often thrown the word around, self proclaimed “community member”. It came out of ignorance and lack of true understanding of the word. God is faithful and graciouc as He reveals things to us. He’s brought people into our lives, (Ive noticed a lot in the last couple months) who have precautions, warnings, and wisdom to offer us at large. Like we talked about at last nights meeting, my prayer is that these seeds land in furtile soil. And that they begin to grow deep roots.
    I would also be interested in hearing others thoughts on Sofe’s blog 🙂
    (please excuse my atrosious spelling;)
    Tess

  2. “to me the word community speaks unspecifically of individuals, and more as a place of open doors. a line that is hard to draw although perhaps the foundational people are obvious to place. the references i commonly hear are specific to certain individuals which have by some means attained inside status. these doors are heavy and hard to open.”

    This is the part that sticks with me. I’m thinking about it. With this entry you’ve given a view into the tension within you Sophe. Likely, this tension though not spoken of (according to my ears)is shared. I want to honour this effort. I don’t think I can really do that however, by engaging this over the internet.

    As yet, I’ll try to name the conflict I’m picking up from your entry. It’s about access, who’s in, who’s out, the ambiguity surrounding it and how and why that happens. I look forward to face to face communication.

  3. In one instance i am offended that you are offended by our use of the word community. Perhaps this is because I have never felt that it was being misused.

    Does this have something, no everything to do with each person’s subjective understanding of the word?

    Perhaps my definition of community is such that every time it is used by another I hear only my understanding of it. Yet when others clarify what the word means, some of us get confused/scared/upset that the meaning is different.

    For me the essence of the word community is Us…. but an Us with out a Them. It doesnt mean getting along with everyone, agreeing with everyone….. but it does mean feeling you belong and that you are a part of something beyond yourself.

    Really no one is perfect at community… in fact no one is even good at it. They may be good at some part of building/shaping a community but they probably are also going to do things that destroy it.

    So if any one tells you that you are not good at community they are probably right…

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