Community

Have been thinking heaps recently about what my future might look like, and how I should be living if I am to have integrity with what I believe about God, people, and creation.

As I’ve travelled the world and returned again and again to my comfortable middle-class life, I have become increasingly disenchanted with the deadness and futility of life in a capitalist culture. We live in cities of thousands or even millions of people, yet we are lonelier and more depressed than ever. As the place of community has degenerated and the ‘individual’ put up on a pedestal in its place, we have lost an essential component of what it means to be alive – meaningful human relationships. As Jeremy Rifkin makes this astute and scary observation in the documentary ‘The Corporation’:

“What happens if we wake up one day, and we find out that virtually all of our relationships that are mediated between us and our fellow human beings are commercial? We find out that virtually every relationship we have is a commercially arbitrated relationship with our fellow human beings. Can civilisation survive on that narrow a definition of how we interact with each other? “

I’ve been totally inspired by the activities of people like Shane Claibourne and our own Waikanae-based Justin Duckworth, who take the gospel at face value and live in intentional community, literally living like the early church (check out Acts chapter 2) and sharing everything they have with those around them so that none are in need. I secretly hope that my own church community, Blueprint, will evolve toward this kind of model (whilst enhancing, not compromising, its existing mission). I have a strong feeling that I am being inexorably drawn toward this kind of life. To learn more and be inspired, check out the homepage of Shane Claibourne’s faith community, the ‘Simple Way’. Similarly inspiring are new monastic movements sprouting up around the world. That’s an article for another day, but check out this site if you’re interested.

On a similar train of thought, I recently attended Parihaka peace festival, and was really inspired by a lot of what I saw there. One of the ideas that really caught my attention was ‘Permaculture’. You can read the wikipedia entry here. Basically, permaculture explores the idea of living sustainably by creating agricultural systems that mimic the structure and interrelationship found in natural ecologies. In other words, we live by working in with natures rhythms to survive (often in very clever ways), just like the rest of creation, and in the process we stop raping the earth and spoiling it for our children.

So right now I’m dreaming of the future.. perhaps living on a marae where the love of Jesus is what binds the inhabitants together, where co-dependence and co-operation mean we are stronger in our weakness, where the earth is worked and cared for the way God intended, and where the least, last and lost can come and know they will be welcomed. A place where small things are done with great love. A place bursting at the seams with life, a life that is contagious.

Big dreams I know, but as Oscar Hammerstein said:

“If you don’t have a dream, how are you going to make a dream come true”

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~ by humblemonkey on January 15, 2008.

One Response to “Community”

  1. I hear ya, Will. Been thinking along very similar lines myself recently.

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