The Nature of Community (2)

The Nature of Community (2)

The Nature of Community (2) – Spelling Out Community Principles

C     COMMON. “Common experience and common effort on a common ground to which one willingly belongs.” (Wendell Berry)

O     ONE ANOTHER. The good life is a life lived for others: serve, build up, prefer one another; edify, admonish, honor one another; comfort, receive, forgive one another; confess to, submit to, be at peace with one another; exhort, forbear, love one another.

M     MYSTERY. Each person is a mysterious weaving of eternal and temporal, spiritual and physical, sacred and fallen. A group of persons only complicates matters, and is an even deeper mystery. There is no simple formula for perfect community, no fool-proof system for relationship. Persons called to a common life humbly walk through the door together and follow the Way.

M     MARTYRDOM. Self-sacrifice is a daily martyrdom, an ongoing lifestyle, a social covenant reflecting our life in God. To lay down one’s life for another involves one’s possessions, advancement, health, freedom, future, whatever is rightly yours, for the sake of another, for the common good.

U     US. Every individual is called to a plural life: Our Father… Give usOur daily bread… Forgive usWe forgive… Lead us… Deliver usBeing of the same human family, we are somehow incomplete without each other, and are responsible for each other. Under God’s Fatherhood, we are all siblings. In His universe, there is no such thing as an only child.

N     NUCLEUS. The nucleus is every living cell’s directive center, controlling every activity, forming its identity, guiding its destiny. If this dynamic center is removed, the cell ceases to function normally and dies. The nucleus of every successful community is God: His ideas, gifts, energy, presence. “Jesus Christ is our unity. Through Him alone do we have access to one another, joy in one another, fellowship with one another.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

I     INDIVIDUAL. Each of us receives from above in order to give here below. Individual gifts are intended for the common good, not personal gain. Within community, each individual is loved but not worshiped, sacred but not sovereign, unique but not autonomous.

T     TEAM. A team is a small company of partners seeking the same goal. Each team member tries to bring out the best in the other, sacrificing individual advancement for group achievement, and personal glory for team success if needed. Teamwork is essentially cooperative and interdependent by nature, and is simply community in miniature.

Y     YOKEFELLOWS. Persons in community labor at each other’s side in order to achieve a common task. Bearing the yoke together requires fitting into the same shape (the form of a servant); moving together at the same pace (steady as you go); going in the same direction (further up and further in).