Culture Corner: Community

by Kristin Caddy

India dancingA few weeks ago I was eating at Chipotle with my family and the “Cultivating Thought” short story printed on my cup caught my attention.  It was titled “Two-Minute Cheer for the Home Team” by Barbara Kingsolver, author of the bestselling novel The Poisonwood Bible.  In her article she talks about the importance of community, how we have moved away from community in our country, and how community affects self-described happiness.  She explains that the happiest people are not the wealthiest but those we identify with “extended family, noisy villages, a lot of dancing.”  Basically, the ones who are immersed in community.

I think she’s on to something that we, as the church, need to consider.  Acts 4 gives us a great example of community among Believers as they shared their possessions and lived in unity with one another. DSC_0349Hebrews 10:24-25 instructs us to spur one another on, not give up meeting together, and encourage one another.   Yet today I’m increasingly hearing people in the church talk about how they feel disconnected, lonely and isolated.   And the truth is that I have felt that way at times.  So, what are we missing?  Have we become too comfortable in our wealth that we’ve forgotten that we need each other, that we need true community?  Are our schedules too overloaded that completing tasks is a higher priority than building relationships and sharing life together?

In my travels I have observed many people groups who understand what it is to live in community. Kenya 1660They fellowship together under trees, share food and supplies with each other, carry each others’ burdens, and do life together.  Resources might be limited and daily hardship might be great but these precious people exhibit a deep joy and peace that I rarely see in the U.S.   I think Barbara Kingsolver’s right – “The happiest people are the ones with the most community.”


 

What are you doing to foster community in your own context? What can we learn about community from our brothers and sisters who live in other contexts?

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