Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Why is rock solid community impossible for us? Because solid community is based on obligation, and obligation is a dirty word for those of us living in late modernity. Community cannot be community where individual free will is king. Community demands that I give up my own freedom for the good of the group. Therefore, lasting community asks that I see myself obligated to these people (my belonging is deeper than my job, education, place of residence, or personal identity—I choose the community over it). But we don’t see things this way; rather, we expect our communities not to come before these personal things, but to serve us by enhancing them.

The paragraph above comes from an adaptation of chapter three of The Promise of Despair: The Way of the Cross as the Way of the Church (Nashville: Abingdon, 2010) by Andrew Root. The excerpt was extracted and edited by Jonathan Davis.

This is a very good article on community and the reasons why we struggle with achieving it in our contemporary setting. It provides an 'answer' but the question is whether we're willing to go with the answer and change our way of thinking/living.

Andrew Root (PhD, Princeton Seminary) is assistant professor of youth and family ministry at Luther Seminary (St. Paul, MN). A Fuller MDiv grad, Andy is the author of several books, including The Promise of Despair, Children of Divorce, and Relationships Unfiltered. He has worked in congregations, para-church ministries and social service programs.

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