What I hear in Shane Claiborne's words is that our connection to community, our involvement and participation in community, can give us a grounding, an experience that is far deeper and richer than our culture currently offers.
I am fascinated by some ideas about how we move into greater community with one another. Fear, necessity, and/or guilt are some ways that could take me there. I hope for myself that I enter a richer experience of community because being in community gives me the opportunity to be more of the person I am and use the gifts God has given me. While I hear a real integrity in Claiborne's experience of being in community, I know that I have to be suspicious of my own intent and desire to join in community. I can lose myself in my giving.
So a way for me to think about deepening my relationship with community (and manage the tensions between the individual and the collective) is to draw parallels between marriage and community. In his book Passionate Marriage David Schnarch talks about how intimacy in committed relationships gets deepened over time by alternating between a state of independence and a state of connection. This makes sense to me and is what I have found to be true about my relationship with my husband. After times of intense closeness I find it necessary to go off and be by myself, to get a hold of myself, to know myself more because I have been changed by that intimacy. I then return to the relationship ready for more.
I suspect that myself and other folks engaging with community more will also go through similar cycles. It does take having a hold of yourself in order to let yourself go and blur the boundaries, whether that be into a great intimate one on one relationship or into a community.
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