Thursday, June 28, 2007

Some random thoughts on community

1. Overheard -- a retired pastor explaining the difference between a "condominium" and a "cooperative." In a "condo", he explained, you consider what's good for me. In a cooperative, you consider what's good for us. And what's good for us, is good for me.

Do we really think this way about the community we live in -- or for that matter -- the church? Do we think of our congregation as a cooperative venture where we are in misison together -- and what is good for all of us turns out to be good for each of us?

2. Overheard -- in a discussion regarding the Scriptures. "It is a community book, and it is meant to be heard in a community."

How does it skew our reading of the Scripture that we read them more individually (i.e. daily devotions) than communally (group Bible study)?

3. At a church-based organizing event, at least half of the people gathered were hispanic. It seemed that the anglo churches had to work hard to convince people to give up a Sunday afternoon to come together to worship and to be re-energize to work for justice. But not the hispanics. The woman sitting next to me turned to me with some awe, and said, "Why did so many come?" I replied, "Probably because they know they can't do it alone. We still think we can."

4. Overheard -- a bishop's assistant, talking about churches in the city that need to re-develop. But they're not quite ready, because, "they haven't died enough yet." An old man in a nursing home, asking about the condition of the small town he grew up in, which is slowly returning to prairie. He shakes his head and says, "There's just no use for the small towns any more." And suddenly I realized that he was not talking just about small towns. He was talking about himself. There's no use for me -- not in the world the way it is now.

5. But it shall not be so among us.


Barbara B. said...

"There's just no use for the small towns any more." -- that is a poignant quote

P.S. an after-thought said...

"They haven't died enough yet" really caught me. I think that this applies to so many things, but I see where it applies to a church in a changing neighborhood that could change but hasn't yet realized that it needs a new mission.

Some people are proactive about changing. But perhaps most of us wait till things get really tacky before we change.

lj said...

Diane, thanks for this. You have a lovely way of making short statements with large, long meanings.

more cows than people said...

wow, i like the condo/cooperative illustration though it's probably too urban for my context... a small town for which there is a use... but... sometimes they wonder... i think... especially those who are wondering about their own worth.

very thoughtful. thanks.

Diane said...

It's true, more cows, it's an "urban" distinction. This particular pastor, spent a good deal of time in rural ministry, though, including a town adjoining the one I served at! (though not at the same time)

small world that we ended up at the same parish now. I respect him a great deal.